US Combat Team visits China

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by pesilat, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. pesilat

    pesilat 3rd Black Belt

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    After more than 30 hours of traveling, we arrived at our destination, the Angang Hotel in Hefei City, Anhui Province, China which is about 250 miles west and slightly north of Shanghai.

    When we arrived, we were greeted by a group of young women bearing bouquets of flowers. We were each given a bouquet then escorted up to our rooms. We had an hour or so to freshen up and relax then it was off to meet with the Mayor, Vice Mayors, and other city politicians. We were sort of window dressing for an interview with the mayor then we went to dinner with the mayor and city officials. Also present was our host, Master Sheng, who runs one of the top Wushu schools in the nation with over 3000 students ranging from age 5 - 17 who live at his school and get all of their education - not just Wushu - at his school.

    They served us a 15 course meal for dinner that would set the precedent for the remainder of the meals we would be served in China. We were fed many gourmet meals and delicacies - but what's considered a delicacy in one culture can sometimes be just plain disgusting to other cultures. I don't know what most of the stuff we were served was but much of it was just plain nasty - and it wasn't just my picky palate. Everyone, even my instructor who likes asian food and had no problem with what they served him in the Philippines or Indonesia, had problems eating what we were served. That was our biggest problem during our stay. Mostly, we ate McDonald's (which also was pretty nasty by our standards). But that's really pretty trivial. We were there as martial arts celebrities so I'll tell you about those parts.

    We were there to give demos at the International Kung Fu and Arts Festival which was part of the 55th Anniversary Celebration of the People's Republic of China. The Premier of China was present at the festival and we all got to meet him. We had dinner one night with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs. We were treated like superstars. We signed hundreds of autographs and posed for thousands of photos - literally. We were interviewed at a press conference and treated as guests of honor.

    There were 8 of us in the group - 7 giving demos and the 8th was the American organizer. The roster was as follows:

    Sifu Jeff Nares - the American organizer for the trip.

    Greg Cohen - a 16 year old student of Nares who fought a couple of exhibition matches against Chinese San Da fighters.

    Guru Ken Pannell and Guru Mike Casto - I'm Guru Mike, of couurse, and Guru Ken is my primary instructor who lives in Dayton, OH and is a highly respected instructor of Filipino and Indonesian martial arts. We gave demos of Filipino and Indonesian martial arts. For more information about Guru Ken visit http://asianfightingarts.com and for more information about Guru Mike visit http://impactacademy.com

    Chris Wood and Troy Hirschkorn - Nationally ranked Karate and TKD competitors who gave demos of the competition style sparring that they use.

    Nicko "El Greco" Kangelaris - was supposed to compete in the 2004 Olympics in both boxing and TKD for Greece (he's got dual citizenship in Greece and USA) but got screwed over by the Greek Sporting Commissions and is now involved in a law suit - him and the Greek government vs. the Greek Sporting Commissions. For more information about Nicko visit http://www.npk3.com

    Ken "Flex" Wheeler - a former bodybuilder with a very impressive body of achievements in that area including a Guinness World Record. Due to some surgeries he had to have, his abdomen has some scarring that prevents him from being able to compete in bodybuilding anymore. So now he's returned to TKD and wants to become a professional TKD fighter. He also does personal appearances and personal training. He's an incredibly nice guy with a lot to offer anyone who spends time around him. He and Nicko put on a great demo. They came out and acted like they really didn't like each other. Then they did a semi-choreographed fight. It was incredibly well done, very funny in a lot of places, and they really got the crowd stirred. Flex, with his background in bodybuilding, really knows how to work a crowd. For more information about him visit http://www.teamflexwheeler.com

    We had a lot of fun hanging out with these other martial artists and even had some time to work out some with them at various points. We were also approached by some of the Wushu players for pointers on how to apply what they do in their Wushu. They move extraordinarily well but don't have much in the way of application.

    We also got to do a little sight seeing. We visited this amazing place that had scale models of a lot of sights from all over China. It was incredible.

    Personally, I took a walk through a park near our hotel. There was a great temple there, unfortunately closed to the public, and a lot of interesting sculptures. While there, I met a girl named Han Lin who was from Shanghai. She spoke english pretty well and we started talking. She teaches Tai chi, Bagua, and Mantis in Shanghai. I told her a little about the Filipino and Indonesian arts that I study. She showed me some of her forms and I showed her some of mine. It was a very cool sharing experience and she invited me to train with her if I ever make it to Shanghai.

    Also, there was a woman named Zhang Ya Qiong at the festival. She's a national Wushu champion. She spent quite a bit of time with me and Guru Ken asking us (via a translator) about applications. She was a little firecracker. Full of energy and eager to learn.

    As I said previously, the food was our biggest problem and there were some incidents on the trip that were downright aggravating but, on the whole, it was a very good trip and I look forward to my next trip to China - whenever that may be :)

    Mike
     
  2. I loved reading this informative and insightful post. What caught my attention was the dual citizenship of a Greek martial artist who was supposed to fight in both the Olympic boxing and TKD events, yet got stalled by the Greek Athletic Commission and is now involved in a lawsuit. Showing how Olympic involvement might be a curse for the martial arts.
     
  3. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    great post and great links to your post, I'm glad to hear some people still have fun while enjoying there art.
     
  4. pesilat

    pesilat 3rd Black Belt

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    For me: if I'm not having fun then I'm not enjoying my art and it's time for me to quit. I've love every minute of my martial arts training - even the grueling parts. If I'm not having fun, I'm not doing it. But maybe that's just me :)

    Mike
     
  5. No sir, it's not just you. I love the martial arts above all other activities. I feel the martial arts are so much more pragmatic than sports. For example, How can you apply volley ball or hockey off the court or rink? Yet the martial arts teaches one to be self-reliant in a number of ways outside of self-defense.

    Your post was a lot of fun to read.

     
  6. MichiganTKD

    MichiganTKD Master Black Belt

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    Our Tae Kwon Do organization went to China in 2000 to practice and compete against the Chinese TKD team. Yes, there is Tae Kwon Do in China. In fact, our Grandmaster was told by the WTF to observe traditional Chinese martial arts as practiced in the interior of China and report to them what they entail. He has also led TKD seminars in China.
    They visited a training facility where children and young adults are rigorously trained. Each instructor teaches one aspect of martial arts: one man teaches just nunchaku, another teaches just the knife etc. Students are NEVER allowed to talk back to instructors or question them.
    They wanted to visit the Shaolin Temple, but never got to it. They had planned to go back to visit other areas in China, unfortunately 9/11 occured.
     
  7. pesilat

    pesilat 3rd Black Belt

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    Absolutely. The host school that was putting on the MA Festival has a large TKD contingent who train rigorously. I think it's partially tied to the Olympics. It's the same with baseball. China has a baseball team currently in Georgia (in the U.S.) training with some big name American coaches preparing for the '08 Olympics. As the hosts, China can field competitors in every event - whatever restrictions there are for that are lifted for the host. So China is wanting to use this as an opportunity to really showcase their athletes in every field. I'd guess that that's part of the drive for the TKD in China.

    Mike123
     

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