The Plum Blossom Team Scores Big
at the 1st World Traditional Wushu Tournament
in Zhengzhou China


Report by
Sifu Alan Hubbard

October 15 - 20, 2004 the largest U.S. Plum Blossom team and the only U.S. team under Hong Kong registration competed in the First World Traditional Wushu Festival held in Zhengzhou, China and returned home with a record number of medals in weapons, forms and two person forms divisions. The Hong Kong Wong Gong's Hung Sing Kung Fu Association group was comprised of the team leader Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong and Lead Coach Sifu Jason Wong as well as 5 Schools from the White Dragon Martial Arts of San Diego, 2 Schools of Eastern Ways Martial Arts of Sacramento, Golden Lion Martial Arts Center of Albany, Concord Kung Fu Academy of Concord, Tiger Kung Fu Academy of Reno NV and the Doc-Fai Wong Martial Arts Center of San Francisco. Totally 40 people in the team, each of the above schools won at least one gold medal. All of which brought home a total of 72 medals, 20 gold, 38 silver and 14 bronze medals.
 
Arriving from Hong Kong into Zhengzhou, China we were met with fanfare and reporters from the major China TV and news organizations who quickly zeroed in on the American team for an interview. Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong and Sifu Wong spoke to the media on camera discussing the common good of Kung Fu for self defense and physical and mental health whether you live in China or California.

Opening Ceremonies
Rivaling the anticipated 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing China, the opening ceremonies boasted a whopping 152 delegations from 62 countries marching through a cheering stadium of over 50,000 fans of Kung Fu who waved, cheered and screamed when the local USA California team appeared. The ceremonies were complete with a concert of local famous stars, hot air balloon coverage, a light show, music, Kung Fu demonstration and a fireworks display that could be heard from miles away. The teams all traveled by police escort through the streets of China in a fleet of newly purchased buses. Every city taxi was decorated with a large sticker of the competition insignia. Large banners of the competition, flags and stickers adorned stores, lined the city streets and were hung from high rise buildings and overpasses welcoming the athletes. There were entire parks erected with Kung Fu statues and floral patterns commemorating the event in a dramatic display of China's pride of hosting the event. Their slogan, “Play the host nicely, treat the guest warmly“ was true throughout our trip.

The Shaolin Temple
The birthplace of martial arts is the Shaolin temple located in the Henan province in Dengfeng China. The teams were treated to a welcoming Gala Parade that stretched over 20 kilometers long with the final arrival at the temple. Along the route we were inspired by performances of over 40,000 local Wushu practitioners of 83 local Kung Fu academies. Like mini armies of soldiers, each team performed simultaneously their art in their team uniform colors. From exotic weapons forms and synchronized hand forms the performers demonstrated while the entire delegation of athletes slowly passed by on our buses. There were lion dancers with 24 drummers in synchronized rhythm, a group performing whip chains, a young group practicing palm conditioning by slapping urns full of water, group training for balance on high poles or jongs. From our bus it was a complete sea of performers as far as you could see to the front, and as far as you could see to the rear, and on both sides of the street. The concluding highlight was the arrival at the Shaolin temple. We spent the day absorbing the sights, smells and energy of the monks of the past knowing we were standing in the place that even non-martial artists know as Shaolin.

The Results
The competition had over 2500 athletes competing from 62 countries requiring the event to be held at two separate venues at the same time. The athletes were the top in their respective Kung Fu arts providing a dramatic display of athleticism and culture through forms. The USA Hong Kong team of Choy Li Fut practitioners had an unprecedented 5 generations who captured medals including decisive wins with spectacular performances by Doc-Fai Wong for his performance of the unique weapon the Golden Dragon folding fan form and the internal Buddha Palm hand form; Sifu Jason Wong?s difficult double hook sword form and the advanced Choy Li Fut?s Dragon and Tiger hand form, both of them each won gold and silver medals which netted the team an additional 2 Gold and 2 silver medals.
Although the competition was a huge success for their team, that success can also bring jealousy, as it did after the first day of competition. Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong was contacted at 12:30 AM by phone at his hotel by the Secretary of the China competition group who said a formal complaint had been filed by an officer of a US Wushu / Kung fu Federation team. His complaint, a Hong Kong team cannot have USA people on the team, so he wanted the group disqualified from the competition and to return all of their awards. There were other Hong Kong teams that also had U.S. and other foreign participants, however, theirs was the only U.S. team named. It is just like Grandmaster Wong’s Plum Blossom International Federation; they have schools all over the U.S. and around the world even in the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. These schools have their own name but attend and participate in events under the Plum Blossom Federation name to support him as their teacher; the same way he brought people to China to support his teacher. After much discussion in effort to allow China to save face, it was agreed that they could continue to compete, but they could not wear their bright yellow USA team jackets inside the competing arenas. Their Head coach Wong Gong is the Great-Grandmaster of their system, and he is also Doc-Fai Wong?s teacher. Since when is supporting their teacher by being on his team a violation of sportsmanship. They should spend more time supporting their Sifu so they can become better students and let the competition be on the floor, not behind a political door.

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