Yin Yang Tournament

7/11/2002

I was just surfing the web again (at work! gasp) and was looking at the stuff on USWA’s website. Actually I was there to trying to find my comptition results history. Just so I don’t forget here are my results:

Yin Yang 2001
Advanced Men Chang Quan 9.8 — Silver
Advanced Men Long 9.82 (tied for silver w/ Jason) — Bronze
Advanced Men Short 9.6

Li Jing Heng 2001
Gold Intermediate Short Weapon
Gold Intermediate Long Weapon

I remember writing those articles for the webpage, I don’t want them to go away (and they just might, because I wrote them) so I am gonna include them here. Too bad I can’t put pictures in here. There is a great one at Yin Yang of me and kelly showing off out bicepts. She is so cute.

Anyway here they are:

Wushu shoot out in Ft. Meade. (Yin Yang 2001)

Earlier than most usually leave for work, around 7:30, a number of USWA people were on the road to Ft. Meade Middle school in Maryland. A new tournament, only in it’s second year had a nice showing of contemporary wushu and taiji. Traditionally this tournament was a traditional event, being run by a traditionally traditional school, Dahle Kung Fu. The event was opened up with a moving America the beautiful trumpet solo followed by an energetic lion dance. After the opening demos the competition was quickly called into motion, running smoothly with little wait for the competitors. From what I understand the Taiji ring ran a little slow, but, really, what can you expect?

The wushu competition was higher than expected from such a traditional event, every one had to get out there and work for their score. The wushu ring was run under the guidance of head judge Ji Yin Er, direct from china. She kept things running smoothly and quickly, the only delay was when they took a break for lunch, which gave us competitors a great chance to warm up and review our routines. Things were kept rolling through to the end, and when the scores were totaled up Ted Fu, with his clean southern styling came out on top with the Wushu Grand Champion.

The taiji competition showed off a wide variety of styles and interpretations, both from beginners and veterans alike. Yang, Wu, and Chen Taiji events were followed by Xing Yi and Ba Gua forms, with many of the competitors demostrating their skill in multiple styles. To accomodate the diversity of interpretations present, the competitors were told judging was to be based on the principles of Taiji as expressed by the Taiji Classics. While the Taiji judges were very conservative in handing out high scores when compared to the Wushu judges, it was a good reminder to us all that we will never truly master the art of Taiji, but rather we should aspire to constantly refine ourselves.


USWA’s Results

Taiji:
Tom Crider:
Beginner Chen Style Men and Women 6.7 — Gold

Alexandr Smirnov:
Beginner Chen Style Men and Women 6.683 — Silver
Beginner Yang Style Men and Women 6.69
Beginner (Taiji Sword) Men and Women 6.64 — Silver
Beginner Men 185 Pounds (Push Hands) 4th

Michael Mendelson:
Advanced Chen Style Men 8.523 — Silver

Dee Butler:
Advanced Yang Style Women 8.366 — Bronze

Peter Peterson:
Advanced Yang Style Men 8.575 — Gold
Advanced Chen Style Men 8.80 — Gold
Advanced Men (Taiji) Sword 8.716 — Gold
Internal Division Advanced Grand Champion

Wushu:

Rene Angel:
Advanced Men Chang Quan 9.78 — Bronze
Advanced Men Long 9.71
Advanced Men Short 9.62

Michael Mosley:
Advanced Men Chang Quan 9.7 — 5th
Advanced Men Long 9.42 (broken staff)
Advanced Men Short 9.6

Betty Chang:
Advanced Girls and Boys 13-17 Chang Quan8.55 — 4th
Advanced Girls and Boys 13-17 Long 8.55 (Tied for gold w/ Camron) — Silver
Advanced Girls and Boys 13-17 Short8.44 — Gold

Cameron Mozafari:
Advanced Girls and Boys 13-17 Chang Quan 8.69 (+.03 for difficulty) — Silver
Advanced Girls and Boys 13-17 Long 8.55 — Gold
Advanced Girls and Boys 13-17 Short 8.33 — Silver

Keye Chang:
Beginner Men Long 6.31 — Silver
Beginner Men Short 6.72 — Gold

Christopher Sexton:
Advanced Men Chang Quan 9.8 — Silver
Advanced Men Long 9.82 (tied for silver w/ Jason) — Bronze
Advanced Men Short 9.6

And the other one:

Battle Amongst the Palm Trees

Phoenix AZ. It’s cooled off to 105 degrees, the mountains in the back ground seem to giggle as the hot air rises from the ground, the smell of feivues melting to the asphalt. Yep, it’s Li Jing Heng’s Grand Championship and Festival again. The seminars began on Thursday, Aug 30, and the competitions the following Saturday. Masters from all over the world taught at the seminars, from Kenny Perez to Qiu Dong Xing. The real excitement started on Friday night at the first masters demo, the most noticeable were Li Jing and Qiu Dong Xing. Li Jing’s straight sword was mesmerizing as she floated across the stage in the most graceful demonstration of power. Qiu Dong Xing’s explosive broadsword demanded everybody’s attention.

The next morning the tournament room was still buzzing with the left over energy from the night before. Wushu competitor formed a line practicing their jumps while a dozen Taiji competitors gracefully warmed up in their little square. As a local TV station ran around filming the warms ups as a few of the younger (and not so young) athletes tried to show their big tricks for the home audience. Then over the PA came the voice of MC Christopher Pei, calling the judges to their rings. The large ring in the center of the room featured modern wushu, while Taiji was neatly placed off in a far corner, trapped behind the Hard Style Forms Ring. There was also a noticeable showing form the Traditional Kung Fu people.

Silks were straightened and everyone lined up. As each division was called, wushu competitors switched from weapon to weapon (and sometime no weapon), ran out and gave us a minute and twenty seconds of excitement. The advanced division were great — from the Haight Sisters to Eddy “the flying eagle” Quintana. Believe it or not, Eddie did an eagle form in the optional empty hand routines. If fact the optional routines were nicely diverse, David Chang’s super clean Mantis, Jerry Taing’s great drunken, Jennifer Haight’s impressive Fanzi.

The Saturday Night Masters Demo was excellent, setting the mood was a Phoenix area Kodo Drummer team, whose tribal sounds got everyone ready to see some good martial arts. Like Friday night our Beijing team members were amazing, as always. The list goes on from breaking to break dancing. Yep, break dancing, skeptical as we were when the foot clan came out and started dancing to the music, they were fun to watch, with a Capoeira flavor to their movements, it seemed to belong. A number of people saw the father of modern wushu, Wu Bin, Applauding their performance. Overall, the tournament was smaller than last year’s, but just as successful. Props to Li Jingheng.


USWA’s Results

Peter, 4 Gold Medals plus Men’s Internal All around Champion title. Total 5 Gold Medals.
Cynthia, Jivon’s mom, 1 Gold medal.
Jivon, 1 Bronze and 2 Gold Medals? (not sure about this yet)
Chris, 2 Gold Medals.
Philip, 1 Silver medal.
Alexander, 3 Gold medals.
Suzie, 2 Gold medals.

I think it is fun to go back and read these things. Coach Pei and I at one time were really pushing the webpage for stuff like this. But noone else every really put the effort into it. It’s too bad really, it could have been great fun to go back and read. Heh, I am sitll tempted to demand that USWA take my work down off their webpage, but I don’t think I am gonna do that. I really wanna, but it seems too low on my part. I don’t think people understand how bitter I am to be dropped by them after pouring my heart out and workign as hard as I did. Aggghhhh, I gotta let it go. shesh.

As far as surfing the web goes I founda great article written by Peter Wolf, Brandon S posted it on raffi’s board — but I think it is worth keeping, so here it is:

SECRETS OF CHINESE WUSHU

The following text is a compilation of journal entries from Peter Wolf written while he was training in China in 2002.

Jumping Drills
1. Improve you jumping:
This isn’t very scientific but this is the theory i’ve come up with in my training experience in china…
Improving your jumping ability in Wushu is not that difficult, the secret is… FROG JUMPS, ALL THE TIME. Oh and also do them really fast.

It’s that easy. You know the exercise i’m talking about. The chinese athletes do them all the time! I watch the kids team and they do them ever practice (which mean everyday but sunday).

More Jumping Drills
Okay so a bit more on jumping drills (likely some of this is old hat, but for many it may be new).

Here is an example of a circuit for jumping…

  1. Calf Raises 30, then sprint 50 meters. Pay attention during your sprint to be on the balls of your feet, running flat footed won’t improve your jumps, oh yeah for the calf raises have some about the same weight as you sitting on your shoulders.

  2. V ups and airplanes 30 (or your max). Abs and hip flexors are really important for jumps too. Repeat these to excercises 3 sets then…

  3. One leg jumps (hop on one leg for distance and speed) about 30 meters then switch legs, each leg 4 times.

  4. Bend down jump straight up 3 sets 20. Similar to frong jumps but not as difficult, just strait up and down. Jump for height and extend you body in the air, relaxed landing. Like most of these drills to it really fast.

  5. Frong jumps 30 meters and back equals one set, do 4 sets. To answers Drake, I was told frog jumps should always be done last and done basically till you can’t do anymore. The are the most strenous drill so if you do it first you shouldn’t have strength for anything else.

Lastly cool down and stretch a bit and if your lucky get somebody to give you a massage :)

This circuit is from the Shanghai womens team (who recently did pretty well in the national qualifyers by the way) they do this 2-3 times a week.

Flavor
Flavor…ok so i’ve been asking some coaches and athletes around here about developing flavor, here’s what i’ve come up with.

  1. First step is good basics of course, proper mechanics is most important, then add speed and power, and don’t forget ‘intent’. Intention is a little hard to explain but it should come from a inner focus and be expressed in the eyes (that intense far looking stare you can see in pro’s for etc.) Snap, in the head and wrist and hips cad all be improved during basics as well (especially when your coach is always pointing out when you do it wrong).

  2. Combinations, after basics we always do combinations. Usually 3-5 movements from your set, weapon or empty hand. During combination you are working again, first on mechanics then speed and power, after that snap and the eyes. For example i’m recently discovering I often look down a little, not at the ground, but not proper posture looking straight out ahead or at my sword when i’m supposes to etc…

Ok, so far none of this is strictly gonna improve flavor, but it doesn’t hurt either. A coach explained to me that this stuff is most important, but flavor is important too. He said a lot of what people call “flavor” is the ability to use more of there body, but more hip and waist into movements, extend motions, relaxed and know when do go fast and when to go slow. This is what he told me might help;

  1. Most useful way is “Hua Dongzou” in chinese. Not sure i’m getting the translation correct but my interpretation of “Hua Dongzou” is to “draw your motions” or “paint your set”. After practicing basics and combinations and sections of your set then go back and go through your set slow (maybe not taiji slow but real slow) think about each motion, exagerate every motion make it bigger more open. If you go slow and concentrate and repeat enough you should become more aware of your body each time you go through a section. Ex. first time through you put a little more waist in that slash, second time you put the waist and you make sure your eyes follow the sword the whole time, third time you make sure your back is straight and put more waist in and eyest follow the sword etc…you get the picture? k, not sure this is making sense (feedback?) anyway writing it out helps me think about ;)

  2. Watch lots of wushu! Watch carefully pick something to mimick once in a while, find movements that you like, you’ll enjoy practicing more and should show through in performance. Now in saying this I don’t think my coach meant go practice twists when you’ve just starting learning wushu. Pick smaller motions, details. This is not as usefull as the first for many of us do compulsory forms but i like to think that by practicing other movements and then comming back to old ones you can improve.

Ok, hope that was worth reading. Lastly, the main thing i’ve heard chinese coaches gripe about foreign Wushu is “Wuxing” this can be divided into two things.

  1. No tempo in forms, everything one speed (even if it is fast) is not good. Some motions should be slow! Also if you go slow first then your next motion will look even faster in comparision (so i do a lot a taiji).

  2. No intention in the movement. Intention can be tough, but it helps to remember that Wushu is not dance! It is not gymnastics! And yes I know it’s not real fighting either, but it is a display of martial skill. You should be concentration on putting full effort into every motion (again this doesn’t mean just go fast) maybe i should say full body and mind into every motion. Look determined, like Clint Eastwood when its five on one in “For a few dollars More” (sorry just watched that, maybe just watch some pro chinese).

The club makes frequent trips up and down the West Coast to participate in both Collegiate Wushu competitions and other Wushu related competitions. The team also participates in campus and community cultural events such as demos at the EMU Amphitheatre, Eugene’s annual Asian Celebration, and the campus held Chinese New Year’s event. In addition to performance and competition, club members form close friendships and participate in social events outside of the club.

Pretty sound advice. This is the kind of thing I wish I could write up. The kind of thing I need to be looking for while I train — so I can write it down and not forget it.

As far as wushu goes these days, things are starting to change. Forced big changes, but I think they will be for the better. I went to O-Mei and watched a class with Josh Walters, my friend from the Tech Tae Kwon Do Club. I swear when I walked in I knew half the people there. Well, maybe it was just 3 or 4 but is seemed like alot of people. So many people have come form USWA to O-Mei to train. It just says something. I am going back today to take an intro lesson. So far I like what I see there, it seems like a more sound choice than before. I think I am gonna do it — I am gonna go there.

I know is seems like all I ever talk about here is My Wushu Soap Opera. But I don’t get to talk to people nearly enough. I mean I think about it all the time, I dwell on it way way way too much. I guess this is as good of vent as any. So I think I am gonna give you a few reasons. Reasons why I should go to O-Mei (and thus leave USWA).

Reasons to leave USWA:
Sketchy Business Pratices By Coach Pei.
Coach Pei not talking to me.
Minimum Corrections From Coach Zhang.
Coach Zhang avoiding me out side of class.
Blatent Favoritism by the USWA coachs.
Suzie deciding she dosent like me.
Lack of better classmates at USWA, O-Mei has more good people to push me.
Lu Xaio Ling will converse with me.
Rene’s case — ignored at USWA, loves O-Mei.
So many of the good long time USWA students leaving for O-Mei (voting with their feet)
Money, much cheaper at O-Mei and there are more classes at much more times
Flexable Schedule at O-Mei
O-Mei is moving the school so it will be closer to my Apt in a few months.
High profile Demos
I can’t do demos at USWA anymore (ZJL vetoed me a few times)
Sarah
Emily
Rene

Reasons to stay:
Paulo
Melanie
Peter
Glenn
Philip
Greg
Sean (however he was talking about quiting because of his grion)

I know there are more to put in both lists, but it is pretty apperent that the leaving seems like a more logical choice right now. Too bad is it gonna burn that bridge back to USWA (if it even exists). But how improtant is it to have a way to get back to some people who have proven that they will drop you ina second if you stop being useful to them.

I really need a life.

There are some more normal things going on. I have been reading Neal Stephenson stuff recently. I am into his book Snow Crash, and I am really liking it. I have also found a few of his essays — the guy seems to know his stuff about comptuers. Not to mention I like alot of his views on life and philosophy. Smart guy, don’t know how well he will prove to be, but so far I am liking what I find. I can’t wait to get to his other books — the Diamond Age looks interesting. Man, and I got all those Hienlen books from my dad to read. And just a few years ago I could have cared less about reading. Who would have thought that the Jackie Chan My Story would turn me onto SciFi books. And not the nice easy reading ones so much, I want good philosophy! Geez.