In "Alhambra Characters" we highlight our favorite snippets from past interviews. The series puts a spotlight on Alhambra's diverse and vibrant cast of denizens.
Alfred Hsing left his finance job in 2009 to pursue a career in wushu, a Chinese martial art. After winning the gold in the Taolu category at the World Wushu Championships that same year, Hsing embarked on a career in stunt work, landing roles alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Hsing wrote to us recently to say he's filmed another project with Chan, and that the movie—Dragon Blade—has grossed $838.2 million in Mainland China as of Feb. 25. Hsing plays a "Han soldier" in the film, according to IMDB.com. While he does not compete in wushu anymore, Hsing is keeping busy with stunt work, directing action films and music videos, and teaching wushu. He also has a role in the 2016 film Wake, which stars Bruce Willis. Despite his extensive travels, the action star still calls Alhambra his home.
You had a job in finance before switching to an entirely different career. Were you hesitant while making that transition?
Physically and philosophically, what sets wushu apart from the other martial arts?
My philosophy on wushu is that it has pushed me in regards to physical limits, but it has also helped enhance my mind. I believe that when you train in a repetitive motion—the same punch or kick a hundred or thousand times—it is a form of meditation and helps you grow. Wushu’s focus on rhythm and flow help make it a physically challenging martial art, as well as a meditative art.
You travel a lot, but it seems like you return to Alhambra for downtime. Do see the city as a safe haven? Does it help you retreat from your hectic career?
I fly on average almost once a week—sometimes short flights, sometimes long flights. Traveling wears a person down after a while. It’s definitely nice to have some consistency and a home base. Even though I currently work in China, Alhambra is where my home is and it’s nice to look forward to coming back home. I really think Alhambra is a perfect blend for me—a combination of local businesses, good Asian food, proximity to main street, good location to downtown and Hollywood without being too close to the traffic, and great neighbors.