On a hot July day in Fairfax, Va., husband and wife coaching team Christopher Pei and Zhang Guifeng, patted their students on the back while observing their emotions before their third performance at the 2019 Pan American Kungfu & Taijiquan Championships and U.S.A. Wushu Kungfu Federation National Team Trials. Wushu (武术) is a sport that blends elements of performance and martial arts. The USAWKF National Team Trials happen every two years and in the interim coaches and students get up at 7 a.m. each day to practice. For 30 years Pei and Zhang have dedicated themselves to Wushu education. As a photographer and native of Foshan, China, a southern city that has an important position in the country's Wushu history, I photographed this couple's dedication to Wushu education in the United States. It was a way to connect with my roots and also explore why these traditions have been fading away in Foshan.
Husband and wife coaching team Christopher Pei and Zhang Guifeng watch 10-year-old Tony Wong practice Wushu. The two have been teaching the sport for 30 years.
Twelve-year-old Jocelyn Gu practices her performance for the USAWKF National Team Trials while Zhang corrects her form.
Pei and Zhang chat during a class break. The couple met and married in the 1980s.
Pei and Zhang met in Beijing, and married in 1984.
Zhang coaches from the sidelines as students stretch before practice.
The advanced team, Jocelyn Gu, 12, Michelle Xiong, 14, Benjamin Tran, 15, Joanne Li, 13, Helen Gu, 16, listens to feedback from Zhang.
Left: The advanced team laugh together during a break. Right: A Wushu student stretches to prepare for practice.
Pei and Zhang have different, but complementary, personalities. Pei is a joker, Zhang is more strict.
Zhang often makes Chinese herbal medications for her students' sprained ankles.
Students greet Zhang before practice. She can be loud and strict, but often call her students Bǎo Bèi Er, or my baby, and her students call her Mā, or mom.
Pei and Zhang say their key to a long-lasting marriage is respecting each other's interests.
Henry Wong records his 10-year-old son Tony Wong practicing. Pei and Zhang's overarching goal for the academy is to help students become a better person.