Most of the team has arrived back home from our whirlwind weekend at the 2013 International Kuoshu Championships in Baltimore. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the tournament and we were all very proud to be a part of it. East West has participated, beginning with Master Buckley’s first tournament as a competitor in 1989, for the past 24 years. This tournament, hosted by Grandmaster Huang and the USKSF, is hands down the most prestigious and well run Chinese Martial Arts tournament in the country, and maybe even the world. Every year we look forward to a fantastic competition and seeing our Kuoshu family from around the world. This year was no different!
Although we came to this event with the smallest team we’ve had in recent memory, those that were there represented East West extremely well and made us all proud. It was a pleasure to look around the ballroom and consistently see an East West competitor giving it their all in competition. There were many outstanding performances and personal bests that we saw throughout the weekend. We’d like to commend those that were there and gave it their all. This is the one tournament that we are committed to attending annually. As such, it is the only opportunity during the year to represent the system, the school and your teachers in International competition. The unique aspect of this is that it gives Grandmaster Lee and Master Buckley an opportunity to observe your performance and spend time watching you and how you handle yourself in all aspects during the event. We have witnessed over the years, including this year, tremendous growth and change just because of the fact that the individual made the effort to go.
A special congratulations are in order for our lei tai team. Cameron Poon made her debut this weekend and joined the ranks of the few that have represented their school and teachers on the lei tai platform. She fought up a weight class and with a more than 25 pound difference, held her own and did an exceptional job on the lei tai. We were all so proud of her courage and dedication! Mr. Stamm had another fantastic showing at the tournament and earned a 3rd place medal in a difficult division. Ms. Baker and Ms. Berch put on great shows in their multiple fights and showed why they are world champions. They each took 1st place in their respective weight categories and gained a lot of notice. Grandmaster Lee and Master Buckley received many comments about their performances, saying that they were technically the two best fighters of the tournament. The lei tai team was our smallest group in years, yet their extraordinary efforts brought home an overall 2nd place trophy for East West in the lei tai division!
We’d also like to recognize some impressive accomplishments from the USKSF Hall of Fame banquet at the end of the tournament. East West had 3 nominees in the Competitor of the Year categories and all 3 won! Congratulations to Mr. Nick Teng who won for Youth Male Competitor of the Year, Mr. Collin Lee who won for Adult Male Competitor of the Year and Ms. Anna Liu (Jao) who won for Female Lei Tai Competitor of the Year! Also, Mrs. Aimee Jurewicz Buckley won the prestigious award of USKSF Judge of the Year!
This year brought some of the best competition that we have seen in recent memory at the Nationals. The enthusiasm from many of the teams, in particular Wah Lum Kung Fu, was exceptional. Anytime one of their competitors was in competition, everyone in the ballroom knew. Our hope is that we all learned a good lesson from Wah Lum about team spirit.
After 12 years of dominance, East West was done one better by Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy. It’s the first time since the inception of the Wang, Cheuh-Jen cup in 2001 that another school has won the award. We congratulate and are proud of Calvin Chin and his students. They definitely earned it. We are excited to challenge for the cup again next year and start the next 12 year run. We hope that you’ll all join us in our efforts to do so in 2014.
Again, congratulations to all those that took part in the tournament this year. We are proud of your efforts and know that the lessons learned from this event will serve you well in the future!