The United States Kuo Shu Federation (USKSF; www.usksf.org) proudly hosted the 2010 U.S. International Kuo Shu (Kung Fu) Championship Tournament at the lovely Marriott Hunt Valley Inn in Maryland, July 23-25, 2010. This marks the 22nd year of this event that continues to attract the very best martial arts masters, judges, and competitors from around the globe. This annual event, sanctioned by The World Kuo Shu Federation (www.twksf.org), promotes friendship, unity, physical fitness, harmony, martial ethics, and peace through martial arts. The competition has become one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in the United States and a foundation of Maryland’s summer events.

The Kuo Shu Tournament officially began on Saturday morning with Grandmaster Huang, Chien-Liang, President of the USKSF and 64th Generation Grandmaster of Tien Shan Pai, hosting Opening Ceremonies. This year, VIP’s were escorted into the event by the Lion Dance Team from Master Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy (Newton MA). Once again, the national anthem was presented by the Honor Guard from the U.S Customs and Border Protection Agency. Many congressional, state, and local officials also continued their annual support with representatives from the Congress and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. The Executive Office of the President was also represented again at the Opening Ceremonies. The USKSF sponsors the only tournament to have formal participation from The Office of the President of the United States since 1994, and current U.S. President Barack Obama continues that tradition.

The competition events began after the Opening Ceremonies, with Adult and Youth Light Contact, Forms and Weapons, Wushu, and Taijiquan divisions. Elimination rounds for the Lei Tai Full Contact fights began in the afternoon in the main ballroom, as other events continued around them. The Saturday evening Master’s Demonstration is always a highlight of the tournament. This year was no different with some of the best masters from around the world demonstrating their skills. During the break in the Lei Tai Finals, spectators also saw the traditional TWKSF “Passing of the Flag”. This ceremony indicates the passage of The World Kuo Shu Tournament from the previous host country (Germany in 2009) to the new host country of Malaysia in 2012. Kuo Shu Federation Ranking Certifications and Support awards were also presented on Saturday evening. The U.S. Kuo Shu Federation (USKSF) continues to provide International Referee Training for Lei Tai and National Judges Certifications for forms and weapons judging. The USKSF also provides multiple levels of instructor certifications and individual rankings.

Sunday competition brought the new Wing Chun Wooden Dummy event along with more Youth events, Light Contact Sparring, Weapons Sparring, Two-Man Sets, Kenpo, Shuai Jiao, Chi Sao, Baquazhang, Xingyiquan, and Taijiquan Push Hands. The Kuo Shu Tournament is one of the few events offering Freestyle Push Hands, designed to give advanced Taijiquan practitioners an opportunity to exhibit their martial skills. Closing Ceremonies were held Sunday afternoon, where the individual and team trophies were awarded. Individual Lei Tai medals were presented to first through fourth place. This year the Lei Tai Team trophies were awarded to Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) for 1st place; US Martial Arts & Tai Chi Academy (Gaithersburg, MD) in 2nd place; and Glenn Wilson’s Martial Arts Academy (Orlando, FL) taking 3rd place. The Forms Team trophies were awarded to Richard Lee’s East-West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) for 1st place; Li Wing Kay Martial Arts Assocation (Sao Paulo, Brazil) in 2nd place; and TSKF Academia de Arts Marciais (Sao Paulo, Brazil) taking 3rd place. The Grand Champion trophy, (the “Wang, Chueh-Jen Cup”, in honor of 63rd Generation Tien Shan Pai Supreme Master Wang, Chueh-Jen) goes to the team with the best all around score. Once again, Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu, from Alamo, CA took home the Wang, Chueh-Jen Cup.

The weekend came to a close with the Annual “Kuo Shu Hall of Fame Banquet”. This banquet brings together competitors, judges and other USKSF officials in a celebration of martial unity and friendship. This year, Master John Ozuna was awarded “Judge of the Year” and Jonathan Miller received the esteemed “Kuo Shu Contributor” award. The “Competitor of Year” awards were also presented with categories for Youth, Teen, Adult, Internal and Lei Tai, Male and Female competitors. This banquet also highlights the members of the prestigious Kuo Shu Hall of Fame. This is a select cast of the world’s greatest martial arts masters including, Calvin Chin, Steve L. Martin, Chan Pui, Wai Hong Eng, He Wei-Qi, Wai Lun Choi, Henry Look, Kevin Preston, Richard Lee, Joe Dunphy, Jiang Jing Sung Baek, and Huang Chien-Liang.

Throughout the weekend, tournament participants had the opportunity to compete in over 280 divisions as well as take on-site seminars from world-renowned masters. In addition to the amazing competition, spectators are also treated to numerous items from an assortment of tournament vendors. The annual US Kuo Shu Tournament demonstrates all that is worth celebrating in the practice of traditional and contemporary martial arts. The event emphasizes martial arts’ ability to unify people from all walks of life, and promote both a healthy body and moral character. As a method of cultivating the mind and body, Kuo Shu appeals to persons of all ages and nationalities. Mark your calendars for next year’s event, which will be hosted on July 29-31, 2011 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. For further tournament details, photos, results, and additional information on the United States Kuo Shu Federation (USKSF), visit www.usksf.org, call (443) 394-9200, or email info@usksf.org.