Meanwhile, I couldn't resist animating an ActionCAM shot I also just developed. This one is of Brandon taken last summer. Check it out. I have a couple other ones on that roll I want to do.
By the way, who's going to WKF Nationals in August?
The short version is this: I trained a lot of Xing Yi Quan with a pretty well known coach and also learned a new three section staff form from one of the team members. I got to work out with men's team a couple times before I came back too. I'm still in pain! :P
I was sad to leave but got a special surprise on the plane on the way back. There was an article on the Beijing Team in the inflight magazine. I snagged a copy (or two) and scanned it for you guys. Click here to see it. I want to warn you though, the images are big, total of 1.5 meg, so give it some time to download. By the way, you may recognize the article, it seems to be nearly identical to one (or actually several) that appeared in Chinese newspapers in April after the team returned to China, the original articles can be found on Lisa's Wushu News Clippings Page. Hope you enjoy it.
Sounds pretty impressive though, like 17 years of training, spent a lot of time in China... I wonder where he trained in China. Maybe the Beijing team knows who this guy is?
By the way, feel free to chime in with your opinions of the Star Wars movie or Ray Park's performance in it on the Debate Zone!
Well, now that thats out of the way, lets get to the part you all want to know about: the wushu! Darth Maul is the man! With his new fangled double lightsaber, he kicks ass! You know with two good guy jedi, the single bad guy jedi has to be double awesome.
And its all wushu! (well, pretty much). Some definite wushu in there is a butterfly and butterfly twist with lightsabers. He throws some side kicks in for good measure. The fighting is a lot faster and more furious than the original trilogy. Makes Darth Vader look geriatric and Luke Skywalker look like he's...an annoying farm boy playing with a sword.
Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor kick butt as jedi knights enforcing whats right in the universe. This movie gives them plenty of opportunity to demonstrate the powers of the jedi... in a way that those old dudes never got a chance in the three originals.
Well its not a perfect movie, there are some slower parts, but over all it was awesome. The creatures... eh! who cares about the creatures, I never cared that much for the creatures in the originals, it was the space ships and the jedi stuff that I always liked, and this movie has enough of that, I could have done with less of the creatures and useless characters, they just get in the way of the action as far as I'm concerned.
As many of you may know, I did something really unique for this movie. As I am a super Star Wars fan, I really wanted to enjoy the movie like I enjoyed the originals, completely by surprise, with no knowledge about what I was about to watch (well, I do recall seeing trailers for Empire and Return of the Jedi, but I didn't read any spoilers or anything).
So for the past... year or so I have been trying very hard and very diligently to avoid watching, reading, looking or even overhearing anything related to this movie. It got really hard, especially in the past week or two, I kept having to scramble for the remote to mute the sound on my TV whenever those commercials came on or the news did a feature on the movie. I had problems going shopping because a lot of places had displays of merchandise and I had to shield my eyes as I passed.
But it paid off, I was totally immersed in the experience as the movie unfolded, as I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen or who was who. (I was like, "wait, THAT is Obi Won Kenobi?") OK, I'll leave it at that, since I have a final in... 16 hours. Special Thanks to Qui-Gon Jimmy and Hom Solo for waiting in line all day to get us the ticket!
Well what have I been doing with my time? (not just studying for finals). Last weekend I went to see Black Mask in the theater. Let me just say that it takes about 15 minutes to get used to Jet's dubbed voice, and once you get over that, you can actually enjoy the movie. I saw it on video before so I really enjoyed it on the big screen this time. The odd thing is that there is a hip-hop soundtrack going on in the background at inappropriate times... I guess the guys who did the dubbing figured an "urban" look would sell well w/ the kids.
Check it out if you get a chance, its not a masterpiece or anything, but it is a lot of fun. (And the wushu seemed pretty awesome too, this second time around). I also rented Jackie Chan's Who Am I? from the video store. This is a HK movie he made last year that didn't make it to the theaters in the US (I think it was debuted on HBO or something. Well the movie is almost all in English from what I can tell, so the dubbing here is non-existent.
Unlike a lot of Jackie's more recent HK movies, this one didn't end with Jackie getting hurt and not being able to finish the movie, so it actually has some good fighting at the finale! If you can ignore the REALLY, REALLY bad acting (that reporter woman, oh man is she horrible), you'll enjoy this one a lot for its good action.
Also there's been some discussions on the message board about team trials. I am for the most part pleased since I like activity and discussion. Keep up the discussion and feel free to discuss anything you want.
A-team: 1. Nathan Tong (CQ, BS) 2. Tri Nguyen (SS) 3. Brandon Sugiyama (Taiji) 4. Phillip Chen (NQ) B-team: 5. Jason Nguyen (Staff) 6. Lam Nguyen 7. Hui Nguyen 8. Ken (Taiji Sword) C-team: 9. Rory Bratter 10. Ahn Nguyen (Spear) 11. Peter Briceman (Nsword,Nstaff) 12. Matt Nguyen
A-team: 1. Mae Hsu (SS, Sp) 2. Anne Hsu (BS, CQ) 3. Hong Yi Chao (Taiji, TJS) 4. Clara Shen (Staff) B-team: 5. Felicia Sze 6. Anita Lopez 7. Deborah Yang 8. Heather Linton C-team: 9. Vraja Groover 10. Cyndi Tang 11. Denise Lane 12. Rosa Huang
I apologize for any mistakes in names I may have made here, but I'm pretty sure these are the correct results. I hope to have more commentary on the trials in the coming week. Be sure to check back! And congratulations to all the competitors!
OK, we'll save that stuff for later, let me just get to the facts (as I know them). About 35 men and about 20 women trying out. A wide variation in skill, some really good people and some people who really shouldn't have come. The judges participating were: Liu Xiao Ling, Wang Zhen Tien, Woody Wong, Grace Wu and Chris Ho as alternate (if you are a student of one of the judges they use the alternate). Liu Yu and Bryant Fong were handling the head judging and timing/scoring stuff and Nick Gracenin was doing the Technical judging (doing the deductions for not doing the compuslories right).
As for the results of the first day. Let me remind everyone that 12 men and 12 women (based on first places and best scoring second places) are the people who get to advance to the second day of competition. So who made it? Well here's who made it based on what I know:
Men: Nathan Tong (first in CQ, BS), Ahn Nguyen, Hui Nguyen (first in NQ), Ken (first in Taiji and TJSword), Brandon Taiji Pimp Daddy Sugiyama (tied with Ken for first in Taiji), Peter (the guy from China who was at Nationals, firsts in Nan Dao and Nan Staff) and Jason Nguyen (first in staff).
Women: Mae Hsu (first in SS and Sp), Anne Hsu (first in BS), Clara (first in staff), Hong Yi Chao (taiji), Felicia (first in CQ)
I don't want to speculate about the other people who made it since I don't have all the scores and don't want to put anything up that I'm not sure of. I did hear that the scores for this day's competition were for the most part low, very few over 9.0 and lots of deductions for incorrect movements. The highest score earned on the first day was a 9.25 for Nathan Tong.
I don't have the total listing of who showed up, but apparently it includes our pal Matt Emery, Peter Houdguin of Sifu Meng (in)fame, Rory Bratter, about 5 or 6 guys from SCWA and a bunch from O-mei.
I'll have the final results tomorrow night! Check back!
All I gotta say is "Canada in the house!" Alan Tang and his gang from up north definitely impressed everyone with their skill and speed. Alan ended up taking the Adult Wushu grand champ. But this year there were a lot of people who qualified (lots of seperate winners in lots of advanced divisions, no one sweeping most of the divisions), Anne Hsu, Mae Hsu, Elan Hom, David Chang. Internal grand champ was Harun, but Brandon was in it all the way.
I'll have pictures up soon. Btw, in case you were interested, I got a third in Xing Yi, a second in Other Weapon and a Third in Compulsory Spear. Not too bad.
I really wanted to set my articles apart from everyone else's on the web. You know no one gets in with the team like I do, so no one else could give you coverage this good, but I wanted to give it some visual pow too! Let me know what you guys think. Feel free to comment on this or anything else on the Wushu Debate Zone!
PS wish me luck at the tournament this saturday!
PS: don't forget that this coming weekend is the Berkeley Wushu tournament, looks like we got some talent coming from Canada to try and school us Americans! The question is, will people trying out for the US team in... 4 weeks want to compete here?
According to Zhang Hong Mei, who talked to the wushu bigwigs who were in town this weekend, new compulsory forms for EVERYTHING should be debutted immediately after world games in November. The new forms will go into affect for international competition, so if you are looking at 2001 worlds, get ready to learn a handful of new forms!Can't wait! Btw, next competition to prepare for is the Berkeley Wushu Tournament, April 10th!
Jumping Kick by Jian Zheng Jiao on
Qiu Dong Xing (or vice versa, can't tell)
Liu Qing Hua performing straightsword
The Award I pose with the award and the Beijing Team's star member. Note that Princess Leia/Chun Li is actually Liu Qing Hua.
Hopefully I'll have a chance to scan more soon, but things are getting busy w/ the team coming up soon!
Basically the Beijing Team won the group set division again, taking home the $10k prize. They also demoed at the beginning of the martial arts competition on sunday and during the women's body building competition on friday.
Patrick, Li Jing, Tina and I also got access to the rest of the events at the "Arnold Classic and Fitness Weekend" so we got to meet lots of famous people, including Don "the Dragon" Wilson, Ken "The World's Most Dangerous Man" Shamrock, Frank "I beat Igor Zhinoviev in 20 seconds" Shamrock and Kiana "Flexappeal" Thom. We also saw Lou Ferigno, Cynthia Rothrock and none other than Arnold himself... but for me the best part was seeing the Beijing Team! Some of these guys I haven't seen since last year so it was good to see them again. I also got to meet some of the new guys, they're all very cool once you get to know them.
I'm not sure if I'll have time to scan and writeup before the team shows up for the Zellerbach Performance at UC Berkeley, this Sunday March 14th but I'll try.
I'll try to give the update as soon as I get back (late late sunday/early monday). And pictures will come as soon as possible too.
I ended up revising it quite a few times because I think I was a little too harsh and critical. I think a lot of people might find the finalized version kind of harsh too, I apologize, but I wanted to tell it like I saw it. BUT in reality I also pulled a lot of punches, for various reasons too. Who knows, I might go back and revise it again.
Meanwhile I'm going to be commiting my energies to things like our UPCOMING BEIJING WUSHU TEAM performance at UC Berkeley on March 14th, you guys are all coming right?
From a martial arts point of view, I have to say I was pretty impressed with some of the action. Seeing a 200+ pound guy doing jump kicks (Booker T vs Disco Inferno), and seeing crazy jumps off of the top turnbuckle (Chavo Guerro and Ray Mysterio Jr were pretty awesome). Look for some pictures popping up sooner or later too.
But I wanted to give a more detailed review of Collegiates for my loyal surfers. I'll be producing a full photoessay/review once I get my pictures developed (hopefully by the end of this week), but in the meanwhile let me give you guys a little bit of info:
The turnout was good, many colleges representing in full force! CSUF has got their T-shirts and matching pants... (see picture a few pages down), Cal of course was there with a huge gaggle of people, UCLA was there, Oregon was looking sharp as ever (addidas in full effect!) My pals from Stanford stunned me showing up in some nice black, red and white warmups, everybody matching pefectly (except for that one guy who had white shoes instead of black ones... but otherwise perfect)
And of course Irvine was there, except it was hard for me to tell who was competing and who was just working there... I guess everyone was helping out whether they were competing or not. Definitely this is the kind of team representation we've been hoping to get over the past three years, hopefully this is the critical mass to get collegiate wushu on the map!
I'll fill you guys in on all the things I liked and disliked about the tournament (like having to get there at friggin' 8:30 am!) in my big report so I'll just throw in a glowing, completely biased report about the peformance of Cal Wushu's Gold Team (as a member of Cal Wushu's Blue Team, I am able to objectively report, you see...):
They kicked ass! No other team could match their performance. Of the six competitors, FOUR of them had two golds (ie the highest number of points possible to contribute to their team's total). Our new instructor Li Jing was really happy to make her debut as Cal coach in such a strong fashion!
Elan 'Hollywood' Hom is definitely the new Man of Steel for 1999 (Rob Peckham's broken finger kept him from defending his title...) Competing as an intermediate, Elan busted out his staff, and then two seconds later had to bust out his three section for open weapons, and then turn around and perform in "open wushu" with his whip chain as soon as he could catch his breath enough to pick up the whip chain... By the time he got to his third set in a row, he was a /bit/ winded (his lips were blue when he left the ring), but he gave us all a lot of entertainment (especially Li Qiang, who was center judge, who found his multiple attempts at trying the whip chain ground work hilarious!) =)
Brandon 'The Taiji Pimp Daddy' most definitely rocked the internal world, grabbing golds in everything he entered, I think. I know for sure he whooped MY ass in "Other Internal." By the way, Brandon's nickname may change to "Golden Taiji Pimp Daddy" depending on what color his hair is by the time of the next competition (see forthcoming photo essay for more info).
Nathan 'The Mongolian Blizzard' Tong stunned everyone with his strong showings in changquan, broadsword and staff, grabbing a gold, a silver and a gold respectively. This was enough for him to win the Men's All-Around Championship hands down. But let me tell you, Nathan actually was kind of having an off day, usually he's even better!
And of course, defending Women's All-Around grand champion was none other than my dear, dear friend Mae 'I don't have a nickname yet' Hsu. Mae, like Nathan grabbed two golds and a silver. Of course I am a big fan of Mae, but I have to say I think rarely have I seen her compete so well (btw - Anne was awesome too!)
The other two members, Nhan and Inyork did well too, bringing in points from the beginner and intermediate divisions, but the true shining moment for this team was their group set performance. I have to let my loyal readers in on a little secret, these guys practiced their ASSES off on that group set, and it all showed when it came time to compete, they were next to flawless, despite the fact that some loud and obnoxious Cal fans (like me) were screaming so loud that Brandon had to yell at the top of his lungs so his teammates could hear the calls.
Of course they placed a well deserved first, despite some AWESOME competition from Stanford. I personally feel that they got jacked by the judges on this one, their group set was great! (actually better than Cal's, just not performed quite as well). I definitely want to refer to the video tape on this one, I gotta figure out how these guys only got third place in the group set. A big time congrats goes to Phillip Wong and Zhang Hong Mei to making Stanford Wushu a serious contender in only 4 months!
I would be neglectful if I didn't acknowledge the good job done by the tournament staff, everyone was helpful and on top of their shit this weekend, which really made the experience a positive one. I have plenty of nits to pick (did I mention the 8:30 am thing?) but I'm saving that for the photoessay... in the meanwhile: "Thanks!"
Oh, by the way I didn't mention the Beijing Team and Magic Mountain! Lets save that for later too (since I need to sleep!) but trust me, it was FUN!
1) UC Berkeley Gold Team
2) UC Irvine
4) UC Berkeley Blue Team
5) Cal State Fullerton
6) U of Oregon
I'll give more details when I get back... but lets say it here first: Cal Gold team rocked BIG TIME! Not only where they first in group set and like 20 points ahead of their nearest competitor, but also they had the men's and women's all-arounds (Nathan Tong and Mae Hsu).