Wushu Notes

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9/15/97 Be sure to check out my new San Lius Obispo trip page. Some cool photos and text about my labor day trip (mentioned earlier on this page). Also be sure to check out the animated gif I just added to my Action Cam page.

Also, last night was "Wushu Day"... again. Lets just say that my account of the evening is different then my friend Eric's. I didn't stay through the whole thing like he did, so I didn't get the joy of seeing Lily Lau and Doc Fai Wong cha cha the night away. I got there at 5pm because I thought we were actually going to demo at 6pm... I left by 8:30pm with still like an hour's worth of kungfu kids ahead of me in the demo order. Yes, the did sell an amazing number of seats, considering they were charging $25 a head! But the whole thing was SOOO slow and so disorganized. At one point in the beginning of this late starting shin-dig, one of the organizer dudes stood up at the podium and wasted about 10 minutes of everyone's times (including the 50 people trying to warm up because they thought they might actually demo in the next hour or two) reading a form letter from Pete Wilson ("...unfortunately, Mr. Wilson will not be able to be here in person, but he did send a letter, which I will read...").

The worst part was during the openning speeches, when they were reading the WKF pamphlet word for word, they actually said "The WKF has added organization to the wushu-kung fu community..." (this is a useless speech that is an hour after its scheduled to be, mind you).

I REALLY had no desire to stay after the horrible wushu fraud school showed up. For more info on this dubious institution, check out Eric Yeh's A Fraud in the Wushu World page. Needless to say, I did not mind leaving early.

9/12/97 I just watched the tape of the PayPerView of the Cung Le vs. Jason Yee extravaganza last night. Over all the production quality of the whole deal was pretty decent... if only some of the fighters were of the same quality! Some of the earlier fights were mucho-lame-o. I was glad that it wasn't live, cause I made good use of the fast-foward button. Likewise I wasn't too impressed with the wushu performances in between the fights either. The Nan Quan guy (from the Canadian Wushu Team?) wasn't all that great, he wasn't even wearing a costume, he was out there on national TV wearing a tank top and sweats. The Liu Xiao Ling sparring set was like 30 seconds long... I certainly hope they didn't spend 4 months on that one (as implied by the commentator). Lius Diaz REALLY should try performing w/o his glasses on... the "drunken scholar" thing doesn't really work! plus I have to say that I wasn't too impressed w/ his drunken sword... in as much as his "drunken" part wasn't really that well done... which is a common thing I see w/ people doing drunken... they do the jumps and falls and stuff pretty well, but their drunken imitation is often pretty weak.

The old dude w/ the shield was pretty kick ass, if he really was in his mid-70s... a fact that I question... he was a BIT too spry to be THAT old... but either way, he was pretty impressive. Speaking of old dudes, I was pretty impressed with Li Jin Heng, the former Beijing Team member. I see him at all the wushu tournaments selling stuff, and I know how good he used to be (last time I saw him do anything was on a video tape from about 10 years ago, and he looked much younger and in much better shape). It looks like he dyed the gray out of his hair out there... but he was pretty awesome. (although I did notice that he DID mess up a little, but he didn't tie himself in a knot, and thats a major accomplishment w/ the rope dart, btw).

All in all, the wushu performances were lame, I was impressed w/ Tom Dorney's double whip chain, and of course, the Mighty Pan Qing Fu's sparring set was even better the 4th time I've seen it (in case you can't tell, I'm being a bit sarcastic...) I did like the water boxing, I hope it is an effective cure for cancer. Oh, and I noticed too that the little kid doing staff didn't do the butterfly correctly. Maybe I just noticed that because I had just come back from practice and watched my pal Nathan Tong do that move correctly about 4 times.

And about the main event, Cung Le vs Jason Yee: I'm not going to pull any punches here... Jason Yee got his butt kicked! You'll realize this after about 1/2 a round.... actually, if you could only watch one round, watch the last one, thats the one where Cung Le begins toying w/ Jason, performing 2 scissor kicks and a back suplex just for fun (just to show off, as near as I can tell, since there was no tactical reason to use these moves, he was clearly going to win either way).

9/11/97 OK, not too much news going on, I just wanted to make an entry in here as I have just added some new pictures to some of my pages. Check out the Men of Sanshou and the Action CAM page. The pictures you'll find were taken down in SLO labor day weekend.

This coming sunday is supposed to be the rescheduled Wushu Day. There's supposed to be a banquet in SF and some sort of performance, but as yet I don't have the details... I'll try to find out more details before hand, otherwise I'll give you a replay afterwards...

9/2/97 As you may know, Sunday night was the first ever Sanshou Pay-Per-View event, featuring a main fight between Cung Le and Jason Yee. As predicted by nearly everyone, Cung Le apparently kicked Jason's butt. I haven't had a chance to see the fight yet myself, I may comment further in the future, check out Erick Louie's homepage for more info.

Also I was a participant in the second annual SLO labor-day trip. Which is an elitist retreat where wushu people from the west coast conspire about their plans of world domination. I have a bunch of cool pictures, and I will be adding a SLO diary of sorts to this page soon (I will just write down some of the fun stuff we ended up doing). Check back soon.

8/25/97 Not much wushu news to report lately. I haven't been able to workout as often as I'd like this past month, because of my grad school, but hopefully that will change w/ new semester. A few things that I can report:

Firstly, the 14th Annual (it is 14th, this year isn't it? I've forgotten), Chinese Athletic Associate Tournament (CAAT) Wushu Competition. Run by the infamous Dr. Daniel Weng, this tournament has been getting consistantly worse and worse every year since they added wushu back in '93. I competed in the first two years, then just went to watch, and this year, I even stopped doing that. And it doesn't look like I missed much! Several of my team mates went to compete and were sorely disappointed with the whole affair... apparently it has been taken over by Sifu Meng and his horde of shoeless quasi-wushu-esque kids. Ironically it was actually at the first CAAT Wushu Competition that I first laid eyes on the horror that is Sifu Meng... Anyhow, I had warned my friends not to go, but several of them didn't listen... now I'm getting an 11-1/2 month head start and telling the whole world to not waste their time/money with this loser (unless Dr. Weng wants to whip this thing in shape... but don't hold your breath).

Secondly, I have heard some rumors that the good-intentioned, if not ill executed Wushu Day might appear on the calendar again this year. Originally it was supposed to be August 2nd, but at least hear in SF it passed quite quietly (at least compared to last year, the first year, where SF Mayor Willy Brown gave a very pro-"Waashoe" speech before being wisked away by his entourage). So from what I hear, the powers that be are trying to reshedule the holiday to the second week of September (most likely the 13th). Will there be demos? Will there be ceremony? Will there be a presidential declaration? lets keep our fingers crossed, and check back here for more details as they come in.

Thirdly, I am going to be lending my scanning talents to my good friend Eric Yeh this very evening. He's working on his very own "Eric(k)'s Wushu page," focusing more on Nan Quan I'm sure. Maybe while I'm at it, I'll run a few more pictures of my own through the ol' scanner too. Stay tuned for more info as it develops.

8/9/97 Because my good friend Brandon Sugiyama has nothing better to do, he typed up the results of the Finals of the US Team tryouts. My apologies on the poor formating, but I am too lazy to make a table for all this. Anyhow, here they are:

1997 U.S. Wushu Team Trials Final Results

Name-Final Score- Deductions

Changquan - Men
Nathan Tong -9.36
Tom Brocht -9.13
Sheng Lee Huang -9.23
Tri Nguyen -9.23
Richard Branden -9.1 - 0.1
An Nguyen -9.03
Tom Dorney -9.2
Matt Nguyen -9.1

Nanquan - Men
Javonne Holmes -9.23
Louis Diaz -9.26

Taijiquan - Men
Kenneth Glenn -8.96
Joel Timmons -8.9

Straightsword - Women
Anita Lopez -9.36
Felicia Sze -9.16
Debbie Chen -9.3
Mae Hsu -9.33
Clara Shen -9.13 -0.1
Patty Sun -9.16

Broadsword - Women
Kelly Cramp -8.93
Anne Hsu -9.3
Michele Boutin -9.1

Spear - Women
Debbie Chen -9.3
Mae Hsu -9.4
Anita Lopez -9.26
Patty Sun -9.1

Staff - Women
Anne Hsu -9.0
Kelly Cramp -9.03
Clara Shen -9.33
Michele Boutin -9.1

Straightsword - Men
An Nguyen -8.86 - 0.3
Tri Nguyen -9.3
Matt Nguyen -9.1

Broadsword - Men
Richard Branden -8.83 - 0.3
Sheng Lee Huang -9.23
Nathan Tong -9.43
Tom Dorney -9.26
Tom Brocht -9.16
Javonne Holmes -9.23 -0.1
Louis Diaz -8.9 - 0.3

Spear - Men
Tom Dorney -8.7 -0.3
An Nguyen -8.56 -0.1 + 0.3
Matt Nguyen -8.66 -0.3

Staff - Men
Javonne Holmes -9.0 - 0.3
Nathan Tong -8.93
Tom Brocht -9.2
Louis Diaz -9.26
Richard Branden -8.93 - 0.3
Sheng Lee Huang -9.26

Changquan - Women
Anne Hsu -9.3
Felicia Sze -9.0
Anita Lopez -9.26
Mae Hsu -9.3
Patty Sun -9.13
Clara Shen -9.23

Nanquan - Women
Kelly Cramp -9.2
Michele Boutin -9.1

Taijiquan - Women
? - 8.8
? - 8.9
? - 9.03

Not much else is up in the Wushu world. People are taking bets as to the outcome of the Pay Per View spectacular: "Cung Le vs. Jason Yee" San shou fight. Pretty much everyone is betting on Cung Le... Other than that, not too much else. Next weekend is Dr. Weng's Chinese American Athletic Tournament's Wushu competition. This tournament has been getting more and more crappy every year, so I'm not even going to bother going this time. :(
Anyway, I'll update this page if anything else comes up.

7/16/97 OK, the dust has settled, and I'd like to list the people who made the A-teams for the men and women (click on highlighted names for photos where available):

Mens: Nathan Tong, Tri Nguyen, Luis Diaz, Sheng Lee Huang

Womens: Mae Hsu, Anne Hsu, Clara Shen, Anita Lopez

Yes, you read right, thats Tri Nguyen, known in some circles as The Pirate Dude because he used to have long hair and he would sort of tie it down with a big bandana... resembling some sort of wushu pirate man in some people's minds.

But I'd like to congratulate everyone who tried out, particularly my amigos Eric Yeh, Felicia Sze, Erick Louie, Joe Scarcella, Huy Nguyen, and Jonathan Wong.

Other people trying out included the famous Richard Brandon, Javonne Holmes, Tom Brocht, the infamous Jeff Hsu, and Debbie Chen. Congrats to them too!

7/14/97 Hey! The US Team tryouts are over! I'd like to be the first person on the Internet to congratulate everyone who made the team, and everyone who tried out. I haven't gotten the complete results yet, but I can say that two of the 4 members of the Women's Team will be the Incredible Hsu sisters, Anne and Mae . And making the Men's Team, was Nathan Tong.

On another note, I watched KTSF's presentation of the Highlights of Tat Mau Wong's Tournament from three weeks ago. I have to say that Carrie Ogawa-Wong did a pretty horrible job of emcee-ing! and I'm not just saying that because she misprounced both my instructor's and my classmate's names (Shang Hung My and Sonia Chang). One would expect that the host of a show about a Chinese Martial Arts tournament would have at least some ability to pronounce Chinese names! On top of that they hardly showed any wushu, and the stuff they did was like really crappy people doing wushu... oh well, can't expect those guys to know the difference between good and bad wushu, can you? I still haven't finished all of my film in my camera, so I don't have my pics developed yet... but thats coming, hold on!

7/5/97 Just 1 week til the US Team tryouts! Its a pretty exciting time for me, even though I'm not even going! 4 people from my school are going to try out... on top of that, like 4 other people going are friends of mine! When I find out the results, they'll be up here quickly, don't worry.

6/22/97 Hey! I just got back from the 1997 International Chinese Martial Arts Championship , aka "The Tat Mau Wong Tournament." Its one of the biggest single chinese martial arts tournaments in the US. They have fighting, traditional and contemporary wushu, all kinds of internal wushu, and also lion dancing competition. Something like 1000 to 2000 competitors.

Anyway, today we had the contemporary wushu divisions, as a matter of fact, I was the timer/score keeper for the divisions, so I got the "inside view" of the whole tournament. I have to say that this was pretty much the MOST competitive tournament I've ever seen. Most notably, the Korean Wushu Team came, led by Chan Dae Park, who is pretty much the best guy outside of China at wushu, in my opinion.

In addition to the kick ass Koreans, there were some really good people from China who were competing (some were recent immigrants to the US, but apparently a team did come from China). These guys were actually quite awesome. There was one guy, Chen Yu, I think was his name, but I prefer the name "Brainiac", because of his prominant forehead, he was really quite good. (He would be a small time player in China, but in the US, he is like super).

But it wasn't just foreign competitors that made this a great competition, it was also the terrific American competitors we had. Scott Parker did a tremendous job, despite venturing out of the ring a few times, his jumps were really impressive and he did quite well. Also doing well was my team mate Mae Hsu, who did a really spectacular spear routine. Also competing were my friends/team mates, Eric Yeh, Anne Hsu and Sonia Chuang.

Speaking of Sonia Chuang, she also competed in the Junior 4-Star competition. This is a unique event were people from all chinese martial arts styles compete against each other in four events: open hand, short weapon, long weapon and sparring. Sonia competed in the 17 and under category, against about 15 other youngsters and she came in SECOND! Her forms were pretty good, despite the fact that she didn't have enough room to do her sets (the ring was WAY small for the kids). But really noteworthy was the fact that she won both her fights! She beat two boys both bigger than her. Mucho Congrats to Sonia!

I took some photos, I'll put them up as soon as I develop them!

6/9/97 This section will be where I jot down the things going on in the Wushu world, or at least the wushu world around here, the SF Bay Area. Its a shame I didn't start this thing sooner, we just finished a bunch of tournaments!

Maybe I'll start with a brief update of the past few months. Let see, the big deal happening at the beginning of 1997 was the Intercollegiate Wushu tournament! The first of its kind anywhere! the U of Oregon hosted this special event (which I helped draw up the rules for, by the way). We had 4 collegiate teams competing for the right to say "We're the best college team anywhere!"... well turns out UCLA licked the rest of us... so I guess they get bragging rights... but hey, it was one of MY team mates that won the Male All-Around, and one of other team mates could have easily won the female all around, but she decided not to compete in three events because of an injured leg. Still, I'm looking forward to next year's, I think this event is really special and I want to regain my honor. :)

Then in April we had the 5th Annual UC Berkeley tournament. A tournament I spent a lot of time organizing in years past. Not anymore though! I enjoyed this year because I just went as a competitor, not as a worker. Which meant that I could focus on competition! The problem was that this year's tournament was SO SLOW! it was horrible! (maybe I should have kept working there, they can't run one without me!) I competed in three events, Chang Quan Compulsory, Spear Compulsory and Collegiate division Chang Quan. The first division came up in the early afternoon, the last two were 10 minutes apart some time around midnight (WAY TOO LATE to be competing!) I ended up getting a second place (Collegiate) and a fourth place (Spear). I would have lost out to my colleague Brandon Sugiyama of the U of O, if he hadn't have lost his balance and touched the spear to the ground (but he was borrowing my spear since his was cracked, and he was sort of unfamiliar with it). Still, one of the guys from the S.Cal Wushu Association poked a hole in the carpet with his spear tip, but he still beat me. (They're pretty good, and I kind of suck, so even with ripping the carpet, the guy beat me!)

Since April I had to take time off from practicing because of sore knees, and then right when I was going to come back, I sort of had a bike accident, so I took two more weeks off... Not practicing for four weeks was hard... but not as hard as trying to catch up with everyone after such a long break. But I am now getting back to my former shape (cardio is everything!) The next tournament coming up is the Tat Mau Wong Tournament June 20-22. This tournament is pretty big, I went to watch the last one they had in 93. But the problem is that its friggin expensive, so I think I'm just going to watch (paying $55 to register at the door for one division is CRAZY!) The next tournament after that is the US Team trials in July. My former roommate Eric is trying out, as is my other teammate and dear friend, Mae, as well as several other people I know...

One thing that I'm worried about is that the team choosing will be unfair. I know that there is a lot of favoritism in the wushu community. The prize students of the people who are the US Team coach, have the highest chance to be on the team, even if they aren't the best. I'm not just saying this, I have seen it happen before.

Oh well, keep your fingers crossed, and I will post updates after the next tournament!

Send feedback to raffi@beijingwushuteam.com