2011 U.S. INTERNATIONAL KUO SHU (KUNG FU) CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: Brings in a New Decade of Chinese Martial Arts Excellence!

The United States Kuo Shu Federation (USKSF; www.usksf.org) hosted the 2011 U.S. International Kuo Shu (Kung Fu) Championship Tournament at the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn in Maryland, July 29-31, 2011. This marked the 23nd year of this annual event, which is sanctioned by The World Kuo Shu Federation (www.twksf.org), and promotes
friendship, unity, physical fitness, harmony, martial ethics, and peace through martial arts.

This year was destined to be special for the Kuo Shu Tournament, (as it is fondly called). The 2011 International Kuo Shu Championship Tournament did not disappoint! There was a continuous buzz surrounding the event on the USKSF Facebook page. There were the amazing pre-released tournament shirts, custom-designed by Freedom Forest Graphics. There was the promise of one of Maryland’s hottest bands performing live at the banquet. Then there was the week long International Referee Training and National Judge Certification Course that was attended by martial artists from all over the world including Europe and South America. Throughout the weekend, tournament participants had the opportunity to compete in over 250 divisions as well as take on-site seminars from world-renowned masters. In addition to the amazing competition, spectators were also treated to numerous items from the Tournament Vendor Fair.

The 2011 International Kuo Shu Championship 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, VIPs were escorted into the event by the Lion Dance Team from Wong’s Chinese Boxing Academy under Master Raymond Wong (Wash, DC). The national anthem was once again, 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, Senators, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. The USKSF sponsors the only tournament to have formal participation from The Office of the President of the United States since 1994. Click here to see the letter from President Obama (PDF).

The competition events began after the Opening Ceremonies, with Adult and Youth Light Contact, Forms and Weapons, Wushu, and Taijiquan divisions. The layout of the entire main ballroom was reconfigured for 2011 – to provide more spectator vewing and enlarge competitor rings. Elimination rounds for the Lei Tai Full Contact fights began in the afternoon in the main ballroom, as other events continued around them. Sunday brought renewed competition in Light Contact Sparring, Kenpo, Taijiquan Push Hands, Baquazhang, Xingyiquan, Weapons Sparring, Shuai Jiao, and Chi Sao, just to name a few. This tournament continues to attract the very best martial arts masters, judges, and competitors from around the globe. The Saturday evening Lei Tai fights were action packed and exciting. The improved “in-the-round” seating was a huge hit with Lei Tai spectators. The competition has become one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in the United States and a foundation of Maryland’s summer attractions.

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  including, Master Si Tan Chan, Master Lynn Lin, Grandmaster Simon Li, Master Liu Xiao Ling, Master Judie Martin, Master Wang Ren Gang and 2002 Kuo Shu Hall of Fame member, Grandmaster Steve L. Martin. Additional demonstrations were performed by Master Martin Sewer from Switerland and Master Li Zhang from Russia. A very special performance was executed by special guest, Grandmaster Fu, Shun-Nan from Venezuala. Grandmaster Fu was the 1955 Lei Tai Champion from Taiwan and received his 10th Tuan in Kuo Shu Federation Ranking prior to the Master’s Demo.

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 Canadian Chinese Martial Arts Kung Fu & Wushu Federation (Montreal, Canada) for 1st place; Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) in 2nd place; and Glenn Wilson’s Martial Arts Academy (Orlando, FL) taking 3rd place. The Forms Team trophies were awarded to Calvin Chin Martial Arts Academy (Newton, MA) for 1st place; Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) in 2nd place; and Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy (Malden, MA) 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. Click here for tournament results.

The weekend came to a close with the Annual “Kuo Shu Hall of Fame Banquet”. This year the Federation provided a special treat. They brought in one of Maryland’s hottest groups, “The New Romance Band” to play live. Before the exciting live band, the “Competitor of Year” awards were presented with categories for Youth, Teen, Adult, Internal and Lei Tai, Male and Female competitors. Click here for more tournament results. The “Judge of the Year” award for 2011 went to Fadri Canal from Switzerland. 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. This year’s Kuo Shu Hall of Fame Inductee was Master John Buckley.

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 27-29, 2012 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Additionally, next year will also mark the 4th World Kuo Shu Federation Tournament, which will be held at the Genting Resort in Malaysia. 2012 promises to be another amazing year for Kuo Shu! The
Maryland event in July will select the United States Lei Tai National team. All first place winners will be eligible to represent the U.S. for the tournament in Malaysia.

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.