Wushu Notes

This page is comprised of current events and goingson in the world of wushu (at least my world which I think is pretty expansive, as far as wushu in America goes). Sections are seperated by the dates they were entered. If you are new to this page, it might be best to start at the bottom and read up section by section. If you are a regular, go straight to the top of the list for the latest info!

10/5/99 - Thanks to Lisa for passing on some interesting news about a new wushu TV show in the works from Jet Li and Mel Gibson.

Click here to read about it: http://library.northernlight.com/FD19991004350000113.html?cb=0&dx=1006&sc=0#doc

What'd you guys think? Should we try out? Sounds pretty cool, I was afraid there'd never be another real wushu TV show after Vanishing Son. Lets hope it becomes reality.

10/2/99 - Congratulations to Jet Li! Looks like he's tied the knot with Nina Li. The following pictures are from the Apple Daily and Oriental Daily newspapers:

There were some rumors that she was pregnant, but these photos don't appear to support that assertion. When is Jet Jr. going to be born?

9/24/99 - Just a few quick notes:

First Michael McC out of AZ has put up pictures from the recent Li Jinheng comp on his new web page, The Wushu Way. Check it out, its very promising (and I'm not just saying that because he said nice things about me on there).

Also thanks to everyone who has responded to the wushu fundraiser. We've had a good response but I know there are a lot of you out there who haven't responded yet. This is your chance to make a difference for wushu. Think of it this way: If people chip in to help people on the US Team, people may be more inclined to strive for the next US Team trials, knowing that the wushu community will help them with the burdon of the expenses related to going to the world games. These people may be less inclined to try out if they believe their is no community support for them. Thats just a thought, you should donate for whatever reason makes the most sense to you.

ALSO I finally put up the results of last week's China National Games held in Wuhan. Click here to go straight there.

PS - don't forget to check out the info on the Pacific Wushu Academy's Upcoming School Performance - a portion of the proceeds going to support members of the US Team going to HK in November!

9/16/99 - I just put up the '99 US Team fundraiser page up. This is to raise funds for the four bay area members of the US Team. In '97 we did a similar fundraiser and it was very sucessful, raising over $1300 for three members. Hopefully this year we will do well again. The fundraiser page includes bios of each of the 4 members and will include information about the upcoming benefit performance being put on by the Pacific Wushu Academy. The information about this demo should be up in a day or two, so check back.

Originally I had wanted to do a massive fundraiser for the entire Taolu team, but logistics and organization made that prohibitively difficult. These four members, due to their geographic proximity initiated an effort on together to solicit sponsorships, therefore they lined up the proper channels for making donations (tax deductible, btw). This made it easy for me to coordinate this page's fundraising efforts with theirs. Please email me if you have any questions or are interested in helping out.

One final note, Nationals are this week in China, I have some partial results right now, and I will post up more complete results when I recieve them. Check back in a few days for that too.

9/10/99 - First of all, I want to let you guys know that I put up photos from last week's tournament in AZ, click here to jump straight there.

Now, on to Jet Li related news: Well my exclusive Jet Li tidbit is now blown. I've known for quite a while who Jet Li's girlfriend was, and the fact that I mentioned that I knew who she was on my Jet Li In Person article has gotten me a lot of email from his crazed female fans demanding to know who she was.

Well Jet has let the cat out of the bag, by announcing his upcoming wedding to Nina Li. Click here to read the announcement on his official website. And here's a picture (Which I'm pretty sure is two seperate pictures just superimposed, ie a fake) from a Chinese newspaper in case you don't remember who Nina Li is. (But of course you do, she was in Jackie Chan's Twin Dragons and Jet's Dragon Fight, but has been retired for a few years).

9/6/99 - Sorry to not have made entries in here for a while, stuff has been busy since school has started up. BUT I do have a good bit to talk about now, namely Li Jinheng's World Martial Arts Championship held in Pheonix, AZ this weekend.

First, I want to say I had a blast. There weren't a ton of people there, but most of us had a pretty good time. I got to meet a lot of new friends and have some fun with some old ones. There weren't that many contemporary wushu competitors, most of them were from our group, from the Pacific Wushu Academy. Others included students of Li Jinheng, Kenny Perez and Joe Eagger. There two competitors from Ohio and two from New Mexico and a bunch from Wang Zhen Tian's school in S.Cal and about 5 from Edward Aguirre's school in NYC.

I didn't write down any results, mostly because I was competing in internal while a lot of the wushu was going on, but Felicia Sze got a couple of golds, Eric Yeh got a couple of golds, as did Shane from Ohio and Rolando Lee. One person I really noticed was Eddy Q. from New Mexico. He was really impressive, hopefully we'll see him at more tournaments in the future. Also Pablo from Li Jinheng's school was really impressive with his whipchain, giving Elan Hom and I a serious scare.

In the traditional side, there was a strong group from the Wah Lum school, based in Florida, including of course Mimi Chan, daughter of Chan Pui, who didn't compete (she's retired from competition), but did a nice demo including a few back handsprings. But they also had a really good female competitor who pretty much swept all her divisions, despite only doing martial arts for less than two years, apparently a strong background in Hip-Hop choreography really helps.

Internal wasn't as well represented unfortunately. Brandon 'The Taiji Pimp Daddy' Sugiyama was uncontested in most of his internal divisions (then again he's often uncontested even when there are other people in his divisions). I was also the only person who entered in Men's beginner Xing Yi, but the intermediate/advanced division actually had about 5 people in it. I made friends with Ako Nishimura, formerly out of New York who took firsts in taiji and xingyi. She was also really impressive because she entered (and medalled) in Chi Sao, pushing hands and weapon sparring the following day.

Speaking of which, Eric and I decided to have some fun this tournament, so we entered in weapons sparring. We had done it about 5 years ago at a tournament, so we wanted to try it again. These weapons were different than the ones we had used before though, they were much better in design. Basically the weapons have a flexing tip, which better simulates usage and prevents injury, check out the company's web page at www.samuraisports.com (click on Chanbara and ActionFlex). Eric and I really got into it and are planning on buying set!

The Chanbara (Japanese weapons combatative sport) guys running it were really friendly and open to let people try the equipment (since it sells itself). We all tried it and it was a lot of fun (especially Eric going at it with Rolondo's dad). They also coached us a little on some techniques and footwork. It was a little hard for me to get used to the "japanese style" these guys were doing (kia-ing and the bowing), but my Judo training came back to me pretty quickly and I got used to it. They taught me some basics (the Kendo type overhead strike) and once we started the competition I realized that simple is always the best, nothing fancy, just chopping people's heads open. I ended up getting first with short weapons and second with the long weapons (which were made like Japanese Bo-staffs, but looked like a Darth Maul double lightsaber).

The cool thing is that these guys say they can make any weapon, they also demoed some cool horsechopper type sparring weapons as well as short double swords (butterfly knive or sai swords simulations?), knifes, spears, you name it. I even asked them about the three section staff... they said they can do nunchucks, so why not? Definitely want to do this again in the future.

One other cool thing that made this tournament fun was the "endurance" events, most notably the horse stance contest. A couple dozen brave souls were encouraged to try this one... if it wasn't taking place right before I needed to go up in flexible weapons, I might have even tried it myself. A guy from Wang Zhen Tian's won, with a time of almost six minutes (makes me wonder if my old pal Dennis Khoo and his 15 minute horse stance will ever want to come out of retirement)

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the judges and staff (since we always forget to do that). I know at least one of them stayed up til 3 am working on the scoring sheets. Li Jinheng will be hosting this tournament again next year, hopefully it will grow in size. It was a pretty well executed tournament (I only wish the internal ring and contemporary wushu ring could have coordinated their lunch breaks so I could have actually gotten a chance to eat lunch). The facility was really nice, the DoubleTree hotel in Scottsdale, we didn't even stay there but I did enjoy using the pool and hot tub to relax those post-competition muscle pains...

I'll stick up some pictures once I get them developed, and then there's the question of whether or not I should mention what happened to Rob Peckham's pants...

8/3/99 - WKF Nationals is only 4 days away! Can you wait? Well I guess I can, since I'm not going (thought about doing a last minute trip at about 1:30 last night, but decided against it). Hopefully my good buddy Elando Homrissian will snap me some good pictures of the competition to relay to you guys here. It should be an interesting competition. I have a pretty good idea who will be in contention for the female all-around champion, but I'm not going to give anything away...

Speaking of competitions, this past weekend was the CAAT (thats Chinese American Athletic Tournament) wushu competition (its actually only one part of a much larger Bay Area sports compeition (featuring everything from swimming to track and field stuff)). It was a VERY long and VERY slow competition (all competitions are long and slow, but this one was extra long and extra slow).

I may be one of the few people who actually enjoyed it. I'll be doing a brief write up soon hopefully and include some pictures of the competition and the 'masters demo' - which featured a group set from the world famous Pacific Wushu Academy (featuring the show stopping sparring antics of Eric and Raffi). Oh, yeah and a National Wushu demo team from Taiwan too...

Also I wanted to pass on some info about a Seminar I was informed about, I don't know anything about this guy, its going to be in Seattle, and maybe some other locations:

Famous Sanshou coach, Professor Xia Bohua is coming to the U.S. to give two-day Sanshou seminars. Check our web site: http://home.att.net/~CMAI/

So check out that. I'm going to be trying to update the instructor's directory soon. The next big thing is Li Jin Heng's World Martial Arts Grand Championship on labor day weekend in Arizona. I just booked our hotel and rental car, so in addition to me, The Taiji Pimp Daddy, Gigantor, and the one and only Ace Wong will be there. Also I understand Golden Silk himself will be there.

7/19/99 - Not too much new and exciting going on, just added some more entries into the Instructors Directory (now with Tennessee and Virginia!)

Also I wanted to include a link to the info about the Art of War US vs. China Sanshou match that took place last week. It can be found at http://www.ringreport.com/071699artofwar.html. Check it out!

OK, Hopefully I'll be updating more in the near future. I'm mostly busy working on the Sherpamobile right now and taking the real Sherpa (and Bernie) to the Dog Park... (its amazing how busy you can be when you have no job).

7/7/99 - We've moved. You may have noticed! People complained that my previous URL was too hard to remember, so I decided to make the big plunge and get my own domain name. I picked beijingwushuteam.com because it was something memorable and related to the focus of this web page. For simplicity, please update any links or bookmarks you have, although the original address will have the autoforward page up for the time being.
7/5/99 - In case you missed it, you can read the transcript of the Ray Park online chat by clicking here. Wushu gets mentioned quite a number of times, but unfortunately he doesn't go into much detail about his training.
7/2/99 - By request, here's what I saw in China on TV about the Special Skills competition. My Chinese isn't that great, so I didn't understand much of the commentary, but I could figure out most of it from the visual.

On the morning of June 6th I came across a news report about the "Special
Skills" Competition that was held a few weeks earlier.  You may recall
this one is the strange tournament that featured such events as "throwing
a needle through glass" and "San Shou over water."

Well thats exactly what I saw on TV. The San Shou lei tai was in the middle of an Olympic sized swimming pool. So any competitor thrown off the lei tai got dunked. The competitors were only wearing boxing gloves and (swimming) trunks. So falling in the water didn't seem too troublesome, although I would imagine they would want to change their boxing gloves after getting soaked, wouldn't they?

The throwing the needle through glass wasn't very clearly presented. They just had a quick clip of a guy holding a needle and then he through it and they focused in on a piece of glass in the foreground which appeared to have a hole in it.

There were lots of other events as well (including taolu, some not so great looking foreigners competing, for example). There were several events in breaking bricks and boards with the hands. The most interesting one I saw was the brick breaking over the head. A guy was standing at one end of a bench, the bench was covered end to end with stacks of bricks about four bricks high. The guy grabbed the first brick, broke it over his head, then grabbed the next, and the next, and so on. After a stack and a half they cut ahead to the end of the bench, and the announcer was counting "95, 96, 97..." For the last two, a judge or VIP or something came up and picked up the bricks and hit them over the competitor's head for him. I imagine his arms must have been pretty tired, so maybe he needed help. He did 100 bricks in total. By the end, his hair, face and shoulders were completely dusty from all the bricks.

Another interesting one was this large guy, who would stand with his chest sticking out, and like 10 guys rammed him in the chest with a huge tree trunk. They would hit him, back up, he would take a big breath and do some kind of qi gong arm waving, and they would ram him again. They showed them doing at least 10 hits. I'm not sure if this was a demonstration or an actual event in the competition, as I can't figure out what they judge you on... how many times you can get rammed before you give up? How many times you can get hit before being pushd out of the ring? I don't get it.

One other thing of note was a guy pushing a mian di (Chinese mini-bus) with a spear at his throat. Unlike the old "break the spear on your throat trick" this guy wasn't bending the spear, he had it pointed straight (horizontal) into his neck. (Painful just thinking about it).

Sometime I'll have to also write about some of the other wushu stuff I saw on TV in China, including "Youth Lei Tai" a wushu gameshow... (next week?) In the meanwhile. Don't forget, We got a couple good competitions coming up, Li Jin Heng's on Labor Day Weekend in Arizona, WKF Nationals in Baltimore in August and the CAAT here in the South Bay at the end of July.

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