The United States Kuo Shu Federation (USKSF; www.usksf.org) celebrated another year with the 2014 U.S. International Kuo Shu (Kung Fu) Championship Tournament. The event was held at the Hunt Valley Inn in Maryland, July 25-27, 2014. This year’s tournament marked the 26th year of this annual event, which is sanctioned by The World Kuo Shu Federation (www.twksf.org). For over a quarter century, the USKSF has dedicated itself to the mission of promoting friendship, unity, physical fitness, harmony, martial ethics, and peace through the principles of Kuo Shu. This annual event has been the cornerstone of carrying out that mission.

The 2014 International Kuo Shu Championship Tournament officially began early in the week with International Referee Training. Each year, the Federation offers a National Judge Certification Course to provide instructional training and practical experience to perform the responsibilities of a Judge at Chinese Martial Arts competitions. Instruction is provided for judging internal and external forms and weapons, as well as pushing hands and sparring. This year, the International Referee Training offered additional training for Lei Tai full contact fighting officials. Opening Ceremonies kicked off on Saturday morning hosted by Grandmaster Huang, Chien-Liang, President of the USKSF and 64th Generation Grandmaster of Tien Shan Pai. This year, VIP’s were escorted into the event by Master Raymond Wong’s Lion Dance Team from Washington, DC. The National Anthem was presented by the Honor Guard from the U.S Customs and Border Protection Agency. Maryland state and local officials also continued their annual support with representatives from the U.S. Congress, Senators, and Maryland State Governor Martin O’Malley. The USKSF was also greatly honored to once again have representation from President Barack Obama. The USKSF sponsors the only tournament to have had formal participation from The Office of the President of the United States since 1994.

Competition events began after the Opening Ceremonies, with Adult and Youth Light Contact sparring, Forms and Weapons competition, Wushu forms, Taijiquan divisions and full contact Lei Tai fighting. Throughout the weekend, tournament participants had the opportunity to compete in over 250 divisions including forms, weapons, and group sets, as well as empty hand and weapons sparring across various martial arts styles. The Saturday evening Master’s Demonstration is always a highlight of the tournament as well. This year was no exception, as some of the best masters from around the world demonstrated their various Kuo Shu styles.

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; Zhong Yi Kung Fu (Madison, WI) for 2nd place; and Western Hills Kung Fu (Cincinnati, OH) taking 3rd place. The Forms Team trophies were awarded to Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy (Malden, MA) for 1st place; Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) in 2nd place; and Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy (Newton, MA) taking 3rd place. This year, the special Youth Team Trophy was also awarded. The 3rd place Youth Team came from Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy (Newton, MA); 2nd place was awarded to Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) and Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy (Malden, MA) was the Youth Team Champion. Each year, 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. This year, Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu (Alamo, CA) was awarded the Wang, Chueh-Jen Cup.

The weekend came to a close with the Annual “Kuo Shu Hall of Fame Banquet”. Before the dancing and revelry, the annual “Competitor of the Year” awards were presented with categories for Youth, Teen, Adult, Internal and Lei Tai, Male and Female competitors. For 2014, the Judge of the Year was awarded to Shifu Lucien Zoll from Massachusetts. This year the most important award went to Shifu Rick Wheatley of Tien Shan Pai (Baltimore, MD). He was inducted into the prestigious Kuo Shu Hall of Fame where he joins a collection of the world’s most esteemed Chinese Martial Arts masters. Click HERE for all 2014 tournament awards and results.

The annual US Kuoshu Tournament demonstrates all that is worth celebrating in the practice of traditional and contemporary martial arts. Mark your calendars for next year’s event, which will be hosted on July 24-26, 2015 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. This tournament will be the qualifying event to select the US National Lei Tai team. They will compete at the World Kuo Shu Tournament to be held in Mendoza, Argentina (September 2015). For further tournament details, photos, results, and additional information on the United States Kuo Shu Federation (USKSF), please visit our website.