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This London, Ont., teen is gearing up to train with Jackie Chan's stunt team in China this summer

Fourteen-year-old Eccaia Sampson of London, Ont., will be heading to China to train with Jackie Chan's stunt team in June. The six-time world champion martial artist explains what she's looking forward to on her ten-day trip.

Eccaia Sampson, 14, is the only Canadian member of an international karate team going to Beijing in June

Eccaia Sampson, 14, from London, Ont., is the only Canadian teen who was invited to train with Jackie Chan's stunt team in Beijing, China in June. Sampson is a second-degree black belt in martial arts and a six-time world champion.
Eccaia Sampson, 14, from London, Ont., is the only Canadian teen who was invited to train with Jackie Chan's stunt team in Beijing, China in June. Sampson is a second-degree black belt in martial arts and a six-time world champion. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Eccaia Sampson, 14, is all about making her dreams come true. 

The London, Ont., teen has been doing karate since the age of five, is a second-degree black belt and a six-time world champion martial artist.  

Adding to her growing list of accomplishments, Sampson will train with action star Jackie Chan's stunt team in Beijing this summer. She is the only Canadian member of Team Revolution — an international team of more than 50 martial artists travelling to the Chinese capital in June.

"It's an amazing feeling knowing that what felt like just a dream can now be a reality," Sampson told CBC News. "It's honestly an honour to be given this opportunity. I've worked so hard for it for so many years and it means the world to me."

Sampson said this is the first year youth can participate in the training camp, and she was personally invited by the head of K-Star training academy in Las Vegas, which teaches martial arts and contortion. 

WATCH | How this London martial artist trains for stunt performing:

This London martial artist will work with Jackie Chan's stunt team

1 month ago
Duration 1:31
14-year-old Eccaia Sampson will be the only Canadian part of an international martial artist team going to Beijing in June where they will learn stunt performing with action star Jackie Chan's team.

Part of the training will involve going to the Great Wall of China and working with monks at the the Shaolin temple, said Sampson. 

It's a perfect opportunity for Sampson, who — similar to Chan — wants to be an actor who does her own stunts, she said.

While she does traditional karate, Sampson's specialty is doing acrobatics to music using weapons like double nunchucks, the double katana, and most recently, the three-section staff. 

A lot of training — and passion

Although it's a lot of hard work and physical endurance, nothing gets in the way Sampson's passion for martial arts. The Grade 9 student spends seven days a week training at Family Karate in northwest London, all while maintaining a straight-A average at Saunders Secondary School.

"It's a lot of training and a lot of years, but it's also a lot of dedication and passion. It's something you have to love to be able to keep going for that long," she said.

Sampson's specialty is performing acrobatics to music using weapons such as double nunchucks, double katana, and the three-section staff.
Sampson's specialty is performing acrobatics to music using weapons such as double nunchucks, double katana and the three-section staff. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Sampson's opportunity to go to China was a moment of pride for her instructors, Nathan Parker and Jake Lindsay, who have trained her at Family Karate since she was a child. They say there's been a growing number of female athletes pursuing martial arts.

"When I first started karate 15 years ago, the ratio was like one girl to eight boys, and now it's almost 50-50. So for women in martial arts, it's only growing from here," said Parker. 

The hardest part for Sampson is maintaining a clear mindset when doing tricks, but being in the air during flips brings her a unique sense of freedom, she said. 

"Getting out of your head and just being able to put yourself in the moment is the most difficult part because I love to overthink and with flips, there's just so much to it and lots of risks involved," she said.

Sampson is in full preparation mode for her ten-day trip starting June 3, and is excited to learn more about her craft. 

"I'm looking forward to learning a lot about the culture as well as the stunt performing which will be absolutely amazing, and it's just such a great opportunity to learn about the field of career I want to go into."

Eccaia Sampson with her instructors Jake Lindsay, left, and Nathan Parker, right. The two have worked with Sampson at Family Karate at London's Sherwood Forest Mall since she was a child.
Eccaia Sampson with her instructors Jake Lindsay, left, and Nathan Parker, right. The two have worked with Sampson at Family Karate at London's Sherwood Forest Mall since she was a child. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isha Bhargava is a multiplatform reporter for CBC News and has worked for Ontario newsrooms in Toronto and London. She loves telling current affairs and human interest stories. You can reach her at isha.bhargava@cbc.ca