Sifu Gary Lachapelle organized the Shaolin Kung Fu Centers of Worcester, MA to attend the Wong People Tournament for the first time this year, bringing our Simo, Sije Cheyenne, Sihing Bengie, Dylan, and me (Matt). We all had a blast, kicking the big road trip off with an early morning meet up at the Kwoon (5am Saturday, June 26) where the sleep-shocked crew packed themselves into their two-car caravan and motored their way down to Washington, DC.  After a bit more time on the road than planned because of stops, traffic, and tolls, we were relieved to arrive at a very nice air conditioned hotel in Sterling, VA and quickly hunted hunted down some great BBQ at a local restaurant.

Sunday morning, we made our way into DC, and over to Trinity College and arrived early at the tournament, plenty of time to rub elbows, warm up, stretch out, cool off, and tighten back up again before some of our first events. LOL

The Kung Fu at the tournament was awesome, not least of which was presented by our school.

Results:

ADVANCED PLACEMENTS

Sifu Gary

  • 1st Place Advanced Tai Chi
  • 2nd Place Advanced Tai Chi Push Hands
  • 4th Place Advanced Chen Style Tai Chi
Photo of Sifu Gary doing Tai Chi

Sije Cheyenne

  • 1st Place Advanced Sparring
  • 2nd Place Advanced Forms
  • 2nd Place Advanced Weapons

Sihing Bengie

  • 4th Place Advanced Sparring

Dylan

  • 4th Place Advanced Weapons

BEGINNER PLACEMENTS

Matt

  • 2nd Place Beginner Tai Chi Forms
  • 2nd Place Beginner Weapons
  • 3rd Place Beginner Tai Chi Push Hands
  • 4th Place Beginner Open Hand Forms

Personally, this was my first big tournament. So whenever I wasn’t scrambling around, trying to figure out how to get myself to where I needed to be, I was all bug-eyed & amazed at what I was seeing.

There were roughly 250 to 300 competitors, and probably another 200 spectators and tourney staff, all packed into a gymnasium at Trinity College. The sights were dazzling with all of the various Kung Fu uniforms and paraphernalia… people of all sizes, shapes, and colors… not to mention some wicked sick Kung Fu being displayed.

The gym was broken into 11 competition areas (if I remember right): a large ring for Modern Wushu, 3 rings for Tai Chi, a ring for Ba Gua & Wing Chung, 4 rings for adult kung fu, and 2 rings for youth kung fu. The whole floor was covered with a fresh new nylon tarp. The bleachers were extended one side for people to use, but pushed up against the wall on the other. In the center of the gym floor, there was a large stage erected to handle administrative paper work and to act as a podium and stage.

The morning started with sparing and push hands… (I’ll leave my editorial opinions about tournament sparring for another post.) Then there was lion dancing followed by a parade of schools where each school could take the center stage and introduce themselves. The afternoon focused on forms, both empty hand and weapons.

lion dance

Can you spot our school watching the Lion Dancing?

We saw some amazing stuff. Once I was sitting in the stands and watched a woman walk past carrying an empty scabbard that was about her height. I never saw the sword that fit into it, but Sifu has a story or two about it… some kind of wicked amazingly-long sword that he saw someone with.

A monk from the Shaolin Temple in China was there, competing and putting on some amazing displays with weapons. I saw him do a form with chain whip in the right hand and broadsword in the left.

I saw two women doing a really tight and clean two-person open hand form, and then turn around later and perform with the same energy a two-person long pole form, each complete with flips and rolls.

Sifu got pushed around for a moment (a moment!) when he stepped up to do push hands for the first time ever in a tournament. But after getting tossed back, you could see him set his jaw, sit his stance lower, and dive back into the pushing with more energy and determination… resulting in total domination. People were gathering around the ring watching him, pointing and saying things like ‘check out this guy’ and ‘man, that’s awesome.’ One of my push hands partners from my earlier round walked up to me and said, “Hey, you’re friend is really good!” (we both had on the same school uniform) To which I said, “Yes, he’s my Sifu!”…. “He’s your Sifu?!?… Oh, no wonder!”

One of the local schools had a weapons and kung fu supply business, and had a table full of stuff to sell. I picked up a broadsword and a waxwood staff… and resisted the temptation to by all kinds of other stuff. One thing at a time… Plenty of time… Only starting to learn broadsword and staff now…

After I performed my double sticks, one of my friends who also placed said to me, as we were standing around the trophy table, “Hey those are pretty cool. What are those?” I think we were the only school there performing with double sticks. Sifu explained that it’s not a very common weapon. I knew that the form we perform was created by Sigung. However, I didn’t realize that other styles of kung fu didn’t have their own double stick forms. Honestly, I love the form and plan to work it a lot. I know I can really make it sing with another year or so at it.

Sigung Joe Maury and Sifu Sara Packard

Sigung Joe Maury, Sije Cheyenne Lachapelle, Sifu Sara Packard

Sigung and Sifu Sara made the trip up from the Temple to watch (pictured here with Sije Cheyenne in the middle). It was great to see them again.

Happy Day of Learning - Dylan, Matt, Sije Cheyanne, Sifu, Sihing Bengie

Saturday evening, we celebrated Dylon’s Birthday. Sunday, we drove back to Worcester, MA.

As you can see above, we didn’t totally sweep the competition. We all had our decent share of humble pie. Thank goodness for that because it means that we’re riding a steep slope on the learning curve.

– Matt Simpson

Special thanks to our Simo, who took the photos used above and posted them on the Shaolin Kung Fu Centers Facebook Page.  Lion Dance & China Hat Dude photo was taken from the Wong People’s Facebook Page photo album for the Tournament.

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