Skip to main content

Cool Classes: Kung Fu


Stefan Schilder teaches a move during his kung fu class.


The class you take may someday be the class you teach.

Stefan Schilder was a kung fu student 13 years ago when Bill Smith taught the class at Salt Lake Community College on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. “I was trying to find myself,” Schilder says of that first go at college. He didn’t graduate, but the class turned into a passion for the ancient Chinese martial art.

He’s back at SLCC again, this time as a working personal trainer and student in the college’s Fit Tech program. “I just wanted to expand my knowledge, get an actual degree under my belt and keep going down that career path,” he says. He credits the martial arts class he took so many years ago with setting him on that path.

Jenika Wilson practices a form in kung fu class.

These days Schilder teaches kung fu privately and at SLCC, the place where it all started for him. At SLCC, the kung fu class is offered as a course in the Lifelong Wellness program and also fulfills a one-credit requirement by many majors at the college.

Esai Castaneda, 17, is an early enrollment student and hopes to graduate from Granger High School with an associate’s degree in general studies. Someday he’d like to be a trader or working as an investment banker. Kung fu looked interesting and fit his busy schedule, so, the former junior high wrestling standout went for it. He passed his final exam on a hot August morning, finishing with a new appreciation for kung fu.

“I hope they leave with a kind of new passion, something they feel like they can really jump into,” says Schilder about students who pass his class. “I hope they start to realize that there’s more they can do than when they entered. There are few things more terrorizing to people than the thought of getting hit or violence. We attempt to show that, yes, that is scary, but there is a way around that, a way to triumph over that.”

Students work on their moves in kung fu class.

Jenika Wilson, 24, a psychology major, enrolled in kung fu for the very reasons Schilder describes. “It’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” she says. “It’s hard, but it’s fun hard, because you get to hit people and throw them to the ground. I’m little, so, it built my confidence.” Wilson hopes to someday work in research psychology to help children with PTSD and bipolar disorder, both of which she has experienced.

Schilder, who was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, says kung fu might have helped him get off the medication he took for ADD. Sitting and meditating was not easy for him, but the “moving meditation” he says kung fu allows for definitely helped him. “Mostly it’s just very fun, and you meet some great friends,” he says about his class. “And you get to do some things you normally don’t get to do. It’s not often in society that we are allowed to or told to punch somebody or get punched. It sounds weird, but it’s a surprisingly unique and cathartic aspect of kung fu.”

Esai Castaneda warms up for kung fu class.

Popular posts from this blog

College Planning for Students on Campuses this Fall

Students – we have greatly missed them in our classrooms and labs. We can’t wait to see them back on our campuses. But we want to see students return only with their health and safety as our highest priority.With that, our plan is to welcome students back in time for the start of this coming fall semester with in-person and, as always, a wide variety of online class offerings. We will continue to monitor guidelines issued by the state and the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), and, if there are any changes to this plan, we will notify students immediately.USHE recently issued a press release with a COVID-19 update, which can be found here. For a full recap of USHE’s detailed plans, click here.USHE institutions, including SLCC, are currently working on what a return to campus will look and feel like this fall. Those details continue to evolve based on factors like “disease prevalence,” diagnostic testing supplies, contact tracing and the ability to provide “adequate” supplies of p…

Reopening SLCC

With most of Utah’s move to yellow status (low-risk) as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restrictions are being lifted across the state. As a result, SLCC is also making adjustments to its operations. Starting June 1, SLCC will officially move to yellow status, and throughout the month, the following changes will implemented:·All campus buildings will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 1 to July 31. Evening hours will resume July 31.·Employees whose job responsibilities cannot be done remotely will be prioritized in returning to work starting June 8.·Department directors are establishing plans to safely and reasonably begin bringing people back to the workplace for on-campus, face-to-face operations at all SLCC locations starting June 8. Check with your supervisor for details.·Reasonable precautions will be implemented to keep employees and students safe while at SLCC. This includes frequent cleaning and sanitation of shared surfaces and availabilit…

SLCC Announces Soft Reopening of Some Services

Salt Lake Community College officials are pleased to report the college will resume some services with limited hours of operation and some restrictions at three campuses, starting May 18.College officials ask that the hour of 10-11 a.m. be reserved for “high-risk” population (*see criteria below) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. are open to the general public. Everyone is asked to wear masks, if possible, and continue to observe the necessity for social distancing.Taylorsville Redwood Campus·Cashiering·Bookstore·Admissions/Admissions Hub·Academic Advising·Financial Aid·Office of Registrar & Academic RecordsSouth City and Jordan campuses·Information Desk*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines “high risk” as:·People 65 years and older·People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility·People with underlying medical conditions that include:1.Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma2.Serious heart conditions3.Immunocomprom…