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The Kung Fu Tournament

Written by Bob Sciascia
on Friday, May 7, 2010 5:49:51 PM

Is attending a Martial Arts Tournament important? This article will discuss pros and cons of attending, pros and cons of competing and some reasons to go you may have never though of for reason to attend.

First let's discuss when the majority of tournaments take place. Most of Kung Fu/Martial Arts tournaments take place in late spring and summer. I will do my best working with Sigung and the Sifu's to post dates and locations periodically. The end of this article has a few local dates and locations. You don't have to go alone as some is always attending each of these. Just ask around.

A student must ask him/her self many questions: Should I go? Which ones do I go to? Do I care? Is it all about winning? Should I compete? What forms, weapons, sparring or full contact should I pick? How important is the competition?

There are many aspects to consider and more questions will be raised on the matter.

First, it is in good interest for any martial artist to attend one or two tournaments a year. Notice I said "attend" not compete. Competing is good and should be taken into considerations; but attending is way more important. There are many reasons. You meet other people from similar styles and from very different styles. You see how people do things. How their "Kung Fu" is similar and different. You will meet some very interesting people and see some great performances. You will gain some perspective on training. You will probably meet a new friend or two. Just watching all the people will make you better. There will be a lot of "Wow!" and many "I can't believe they just did that!" moments. You will see people that are more skilled than you are and that will inspire you to attain a higher level. You will see others make mistakes that you make and that will help you correct them. You WILL learn new techniques just by watching people from all over the world. There will even be many "thank goodness I attend NSA and are trained the way Sigung and rest of the Instructors teach at NSA" moments. Remember, there is No pressure for anyone to compete or win. Your Kung Fu is for YOU.

Again, even if you don't like competing; attend one or two just to watch and learn.

Next important question is: Should I compete? Sure, why not? Although there is no compelling reason or rule you should not compete; I recommend that you do NOT compete at your first tournament for several reasons. There is just too much to learn, take in, and too much you will miss while waiting for your turn to compete. Your second or third tournament; try a form or two in competition. Just remember not to take it too seriously. This is not your "Black Sash/Black Belt" test. When you do a form, it is for "You." You are doing it to test yourself under pressure. You do a form to do your best for yourself.

Competing and being judged is not a true test of your skill. "Winning merely says: the judges enjoyed your performance that day." That is a quote from Sifu Jamal. I could not agree more. It also says that your nerves didn't get to you. Judges are human. They may have never seen your style before. They may have been distracted or they may have seen the same form 22 times that day. They may even do the same form you're doing, but differently and subconsciously saw your performance as flawed.

So after all this, why compete? Well, it's for you. It's nice to win. It is exciting. When you prep for a competition, you take that form to a higher level. This in itself takes your Kung Fu up a notch. You have another tangible reason to train harder. You push yourself. You are also doing your form/kata under stressful conditions. It is very easy to safely do your forms surrounded by your classmates in the safety of your school. Go to a park and do your form by yourself. Suddenly, all your points of reference are gone. It gets harder when there are people cheering across the open gym or convention center with 4 judges and 10 to 20 other competitors watching you.

Kung Fu is all about balance. Find your balance. Pick a few competitions. Pick your best forms and work with your instructors, asking what forms/weapons/sparring they think you are ready for. They will help you prepare and raise the level of those forms Don't try to do 8 competitions in 4 months; the rest of your training will suffer. Be a spectator for one or two, and compete in the other one or two. You will have lots of fun. You will meet lots of people, see different styles, and get better at your style. If you do Northern Kung Fu, make sure to watch some of the Southern Styles and vice versa. If you do Kung Fu, attend a Karate tournament, if you do Karate, attend a Kung Fu tournament.

If you do decide to compete, Talk to Sigung. Discuss the form or forms you are considering. Wither to spar or not. Some good advice from Sigung is: "in competition, pick your strongest form and try to make sure you have been proficiently practicing that form for at least a year." A few weeks before the competition the form or forms you plan to compete with should be practiced every day. Run through it at least 3 times a day: at least once slow focusing on each posture and transition, at least once medium working on flow, low stances, extension and where your pauses/ posts are, and at least once fast working on fluidity, "sense of enemy" and sharp controlled intensity. Bring the form to life and make it yours. Meditate and go over the form in your mind. Ask Sigung or Sifu to critique it; they both have competed for years and judge many of these tournaments. Their advice/ critique is gold!

Don't worry about winning or losing; you still learned something, got better, became humble, had fun, met people and really, winning really just isn't that important. Just try to do your best. Besides, your Sifu is judging and testing you every class ;~). Most important your Kung Fu is for you.

Peace, good luck and have some fun! Any Questions, just ask Sigung, Sifu Jamal, any of the Sifus or a senior student.


PS Here is a list of just a few local upcoming local East coast Kung Fu Tournaments 2010; Sifu Don will post more as they are announced:

06-13-2010 - Lo Gwang Yuk Gung Fu Tournament
hosted by Gaam Sing 7-Star Mantis Wash DC
(202)246-7524 3125
Central Ave NE
Washington DC, DC
[email protected]
(new Tournement, lots of Northern Mantis, Shaolin Longfist, Internal and external and Hung Gar…very inexpensive to spectate or compete)

06-27-2010 Sunday- Wong People III Kung Fu Competition
(great to watch or compete)
Washington DC
[email protected]
218 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC, 20001
For more information, contact: Raymond Wong
Phone: 202-494-3700
(Great continuous sparring, Northern and Southern divisions, Internal, Wu Shu, Group weapons… and last year Grandmaster Lin attended) (prices are easy on budget)

July 23 - 25, 2010- US Kuosho Championships
Location: Hunt Valley Marriott, MD
(international: Great one to be a spectator, competitors from all over the world!!!!)
(a little more pricey to spectate, but there is much content, a masters demo, and full contact Lai Tai fighting; competing is expensive, and goes up with each added division)

July 30th and 31st 2010 - Master Dennis Brown - US Capitol Classics/ Chinese Open
201 Waterfront St,
National Harbor, MD 20745
301 336 7000
( all division, internal, external, northern, Southern, Light and full sparring and Great prizes!)
Master Brown is the main Disciple of GM Willy Lin and Future Tien Shan Pai Grandmaster passed from GM Lin
Dennis Brown
(301) 336-7000
[email protected]

Sept TBA
Wong Fei Hung
(info not up yet, usually Sept)
check back on here or:
(great fighting, great Hung Gar and good place to show off our explosive Northern Longfist!)

TBA Jow Ga 5 Tigers Tournament TBA
This years tournament will be once again held at the Howard Community College gymnasium in Columbia, MD. This year's schedule will include traditional forms, traditional weapons, sparring, Masters Demonstration and Lion Dance.
Jow Ga Kung Fu Athletic Association
9220 Rumsey Road,
Bay 5Columbia, MD 21045
Ph: (410)992-6673
E-mail: [email protected]
For information go to 5TigersChampionship.com * site not up yet

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