Firstly, let me state that I like Wushu Kungfu Magazine. Why? Because at least its out there trying. Its the only place I see the word "Wushu" in the title of a magazine at the local stores, and to a wushu practioner fighting for some recognition of the art, that means a lot to me (even if wushu is about 10x smaller than "Kung Fu" and its sideways, its still there!) YES the magazine has some serious desktop publishing problems, but at least its there to read and look at the pictures. But what bothers me more than the graphic design of the magazine is the horrendous journalism that goes into making it (if any). This is the part that I find unexcusable. We shouldn't expect high literature out of a martial arts magazine, but at least follow the tenents of basic journalism! (I will go into detail about these accusations below) Its because I like what the magazine is trying to do that I am so critical of it. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't care, and I wouldn't take the time to write about it. I hope by writing this, the public will demand better from TC Media (the publisher):
If its supposed to be about former American wushu competitors who have become coaches, then Amy Chow and Debbie Chen should be included, but not Lu Xiaoling. If the article is supposed to be about women from China who are now wushu coaches, what about the rest of them? there are several women who competed professionally in China who now coach in the US. Why not include Zhang Hong Mei or Liu Yu? Liu Yu is the coach responsible most for Anne and Mae Hsu, Nathan Tong, Woody Wong and Natalie Yu, how could you possibly leave her off? (if I were counting US Wushu Team athletes, I think its safe to say that Liu Yu has produced more than Lu Xiaoling). This is a glaring error that should have been avoided by not including a 'Matriarch' from china.
So as near as I can tell, there really should only be Debbie chen and Amy Chow listed as "Matriarchs" in this article. but wait, why is that guy in the pictures too? The guy is Eric Chen of course, who is mentioned several times in the article, but why is he featured here? This is not an article about "the husband and wife team of Eric and Debbie chen", nor is it about the "Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Wushu" (I think Eric Chen would definitely qualify as a Patriarch). This is another example of why this article is inherently flawed.
My case in point is Anne & Mae Hsu. They have both been competing in wushu for about a decade. Many stars have risen and fallen since they started competing. And its not like their careers are only peaking now. This is the third US Team that Mae Hsu has made. Anne has been competing on the wushu and NAASKA circuit for years... certainly they are not 'new' or 'next gen'.
And furthermore, they have both trained side by side with Natalie Lu nearly the entire time. Mae and Natalie were both on the '93 US Team, the only difference is that Natalie has retired from competition... so why is she considered a "Matriarch" and Mae is considered a "Rising Star?"
Another major problem that exists in this article is poor journalism! I don't want to skirt around the issue by being overly polite about this. The article is written very badly. For example, the first article states: "Ranging in age from nine to twenty-two...", so this implies that all the women in the article are between these two ages, right? But in the first line of the Patty Sun section the text reads, "Patty Sun, at 23..." and furthermore, in the Anita Lopez section, she is talking about two years ago and she says, "I was 22." (which would imply she is at least 24 now). These are the types of glaring errors that any decent editor should have seen. Was he or she asleep when this article went through their desk?
Further examples of bad journalism can be found in the Kelly Cramp section. Do you notice that they never actually have any quotes from Kelly Cramp herself? The entire thing is made up of quotes from her mother. Did they actually talk to her at all? Perhaps they should do an article called "About Kelly Cramp, According to Kelly Cramp's Mother."
To go further, I know for a fact that some of the quotes about these women
are incorrect (you can call them 'misquotes' if you want, or you can call
them 'made up false quotes' too). I also know for a fact that Anne and
Mae Hsu were interviewed seperately, yet the text implies that they are
there together having a conversation --
Recalls Anne, "...After a while, I began to like it. Then after a couple of months my sister started." Mae laughs, remembering, "My mom said I'd better take wushu too..."
In summary, I have to say that this is definitely the worst of the three "Women in Wushu" articles. It has good intentions, but their are so many errors, from the title down to the math.
But let it be noted, that while other schools don't go around placing News items about it, another 3/8ths of the US Team now practices at the Pacific Wushu Academy, and were originally coached by Eric Chen and Liu Yu (still are coached by Liu Yu, as a matter of fact). Just running this adverstisement and trying to pass it off as 'news' is another problem that this magazine has!