Local Kung Fu students earn gold
Posted by : August 7, 2014| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE—Nine young people between the ages of 7 and 17 came back as champions from an international competition in Grapevine – The Legends of Kung Fu Tournament July 19-21. Each one trains at the Five Tigers Kung Fu School in Mabank.
Each Five Tigers competitor came back with a gold medal in her/his fighting division. Their sensei, Ellis Beam, said there were 225 competitors, both boys and girls, in beginner, intermediate and advance divisions.
“All our students returned with gold medals in their fighting division,” he said. “It’s rewarding to know the training these students are getting here and the effort they are making is recognized within the larger martial arts community.” The school has about 30 students in all, he said.
For some, it was their first competition in the Chinese martial art form. Zachary Kong, 7, has been training for two years. He said, “I feel good about winning.” He won gold in the beginner sparring division. He was also excited to receive a red pair of nunchucks, his parents purchased at the competition for him. He also won a silver medal in forms.
Forms are a string of movements done in succession which are judged on the timing of the movements, speed, agility, technique and stance – which demonstrates the competitor’s strength. Each form has a name, such as Plum Flower, Ung Long Choy and Plum Flower Staff.
Sparring is free-style fighting while wearing protective gear.
Seven-year-old Maggie Williams came back with two gold medals – one in sparring and a second in forms. She’s been with the school for nearly a year. She really liked looking over the weapons on display at the competition.
Sarah Beam, 8, competed at the intermediate level winning gold medals in sparring and forms and a silver in weapons, using a saber. She said practice made the difference in her performance. “I practice my forms every day,” she said.
Logan Atkinson, 10, competed at the advanced level taking gold in forms and bronze in weapons – spear.
Eleven-year-old Lee Anne Kong has been training with Five Tigers Kung Fu School for two years and this was her first competition. She said she really had a lot of fun being with her friends. She brought back a gold, silver and bronze medal in sparring, forms and weapons, saber.
Hunter Stipe, 12, just started on his second year of training. He’s involved in lots of different sports all year long, but is really excited about his martial arts training. He feels the training makes him stronger and work harder than he would otherwise. He expects the training to give him an edge in his other sports activities, and even in his scouting. He described the competition as an “awesome opportunity.” He also earned two gold medals in the beginner division for sparring and forms. “I feel proud of myself.”
Twelve-year-old Natalie Smith trains at the dojo four times a week and has been with the school for four years. Sparring is her favorite because “You have this feeling of pushing yourself to the limit so you can win,” she said. “Sparring is a lot of fun.” She competed at the advanced level and won a gold medal in sparring and silver in hand forms.
Addison Tregre, 15, is a first-degree black belt and also serves as an instructor at the school. She took gold medals in forms and sparring at the advanced level and a bronze medal in weapons – spear. She’s been practicing kung fu for eight years and trains three times a week. Since she’s been to a couple of these competitions in the past, she wasn’t as nervous as she has been in the past, so she enjoyed watching the other competitors. She feels that her practice of the martial arts has given her a sense of confidence and self respect.
Ariel Ashton, 17, just started martial arts last year and has really seen a difference in herself. “I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence before and I didn’t have many friends,” she said. All that’s different now. “I used to never talk to people, now I talk a lot more.” She’s an honor student at Eustace High School. She competed as a beginner and earned gold medals in sparring and forms.
Two adult Tai Chi students also competed. Ben Edens won gold in straight sword and second in hand forms. His wife, Isabelle, gained a bronze medal in hand forms.