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Thread: The May the Fourth LED Saber Championship

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    Report from TPLA

    Report: Tiger Claw Elite Championships
    May 12, 2024
    D. Nonymous



    I am back from San Jose California, where I attended, the 2024 Tiger Claw elite Championship. And what a Weekend it was! I was there to officiate and run the first May The Fourth LED Saber Tournament that Tiger Claw had added to this years event. But outside of the official business I was there for, the experience really cannot be topped.

    It began almost the moment I stepped out of the Airport in San Jose. Being picked up by one of the Dragon Crew, those of us involved with the set up, running, and tear down of the event. We arrived at the venue where I hooked up with Gene Ching and the rest of the crew. After a little set up we broke to get ready for the Welcome Banquet for the staff and VIPs. In attendance we luminaries like Liang Shou-Yu, Grace Wu-Monnat, Bryant Fong, Chen Bing and of course the Tiger Claw and Kung fu Magazine owners and leaders Gigi and Johnny Oh. The food and fellowship was great. Although Jet Lag did have its way with me.

    Bright and shiny the Saturday morning I reported to judge Traditional Kung Fu. I ended up in a ring which ended up being the first few competition for the eventual grand champion of the tournament. My first foray judging went well, the head judge was patient and helpful and my fellow judges upstanding and forthright. And all round wonderful experience.

    The afternoon was spent sharing lightsabers with the crowd and getting ready for the first competition in LED saber forms. It really is amazing how these things bring people together. Kids and adults alike love the sabers. Even the venerable Masters in attendance were struck by how useful and elegant they really are. I was prepared to field lots of skeptical questions, which I have come to expect. But I got zero myself.

    The May the Fourth LED Saber Tournament

    The reason I was there in the first place was to run and officiate the first LED Saber Forms competition being held at the Tiger Claw Elite. This was the first Led saber competition using solo forms or “Dulon”. There were six competitors for the event and it was held on the main stage. I was head judge and my fellow judges were none other than Liang Shou-Yu, Grace Wu-Mommant, Bryant Fong, and Jeff Lin. High level masters and well known teachers, and founders in Chinese martial arts here in the US. A panel of True Masters! I have a large sense of admiration for all the competitors for performing in front of such a distinguished panel. I was intimidated enough in my position.

    The rules were simple. No time limit, no stylistic constraints. Just keep your blade lit for the entire performance and do not touch the blade when lit at any time. Up for grabs in this event was an issue of Kung Fu Magazine with a story about Ray Park, a Darth Maul Art Box, and a specially engraved saber by yours truly.

    The actual competition went well. All the competitors brought their own unique flavor to the stage and my hats off to all of them. The judges as well, Such luminaries of Kung Fu and Wushu, ad yet they approached this lightsaber event with all the seriousness as any other event. It was great to see them truly understand the point of the weapon and I couldn’t be more grateful to them for their judging and expertise.

    Shaolin and Taiji Sunday

    Sunday was devoted to the Shaolin Games. One of the first international tournaments endorsed by the Temple in China. There were several monks on hand and entire schools devoted to the Shaolin curriculum. Together with Masters demos and the events, there was a lot of Kung Fu to be had. It was also World Taiji Qigong day and I participated in a large group performance of the 24 set.

    Closing the event were the award presentations. I received one for bringing the LED saber to the tournament. Although it is just for showing up, its a nice medal and I am quite fond of the memories attached to it.

    Coming home

    The weekend was something out of a fever dream. It was as if I had broken into mount Olympus and was being allow to party with the gods. Hyperbole aside, it was a kind of home coming for me. To be in the presence of so much Chinese Martial Art and artists, to be seeped in these traditions again, felt very good. Add to that the absolutely wonderful people that were my hosts. Thanks and congratulations on such a successful event. I hope this marks the beginning of a strong relationship between TPLA, USA Lightfencing and Tiger Claw.

    And a special shout to the whole Dragon Crew. Some I got to know better than others but every one of you treated me like family. You made me feel totally at home and welcome. Thanks to Greg, Emilio, Hoel, Toch, and Stephen, for saving my bacon more than one occasion during the weekend. I cant wait to join you all again in the near future. To thanks to Gene Ching, the Man the legend. Were it not for yo initing me, none of this would be possible. Thank you, my friend.

    This May the Fourth was a great one. And I am given rented energy as Led Saber sport is being accepted by influential people in my parent art. So much of the TPLA curriculum is taken directly from Chinese sources, modern and historic. This has very much been a home coming for me, Terra Prime, and the art of sabering. Soon we wile releasing the rules for Dulon competition, much of which is inspired by competitive Chinese martial art.

    To all my new found friends! Thank you for a great Fourth and we will see you all soon!

    Check out the Kungfumagazine.com, socials for more photos and coverage.
    There are a lot more photos, but I only copy & pasted the lead shot.

    The-May-the-Fourth-LED-Saber-Championship
    2024-Tiger-Claw-Elite-Championships-amp-KUNG-FU-TAI-CHI-DAY-May-4-5-San-Jose-CA
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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    Now those are cute kung fu pandas! Wonder where can we purchase that stuff:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by YinOrYan; 05-18-2024 at 10:54 AM.

  9. #24
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    Kung Fu Chain

    Quote Originally Posted by YinOrYan View Post
    Now those are cute kung fu pandas! Wonder where can we purchase that stuff:
    That was our biggest sponsor this year - see Kung Fu Chain.

    They were giving a lot of that stuff away as tchotchkes. They made little gift bags for some of our champions and VIPs too.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Personally, I think 'real' lightsaber would look completely different than Jian. We are currently locked within present sword traditions - Kung Fu, Kendo, Escrima & Fencing. Those all consider the edge, and like you say, there's no edge to lightsaber. Nor does the cut matter. It should look completely different. The closest might be electric saber because they've abandoned the notion of edge in how they score now. It's something I've been pondering because I suspect there's a gap that could be exploited here. But if you don't mind, let's take up this discussion on The-May-the-Fourth-LED-Saber-Championship if you want to pursue it.
    Yes, a real lightsaber form would look completely different from a real Jian form, in a similar way that a real Jian form looks different from a real Dao (Broadsword) form. I am taking your lead on using the term 'real' instead of traditional just to avoid including traditional forms that are not as multidirectional for multiple opponents.

    A real lightsaber would have a cutting edge that is 360 degrees around the length (when it hits flesh), a Jian has a cutting edge at only near 0 degrees and near 180 degrees, and the Dao has a cutting edge at only at near 180 degrees.

    So in the same way that a real Jian form does not have the free arm implying any support near the blade or any moves that could be used against one's self, a lightsaber form would probably have the free arm almost always on the opposite side perhaps counterbalancing like fencing but in a multidirectional way...

  14. #29
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    Agreed

    I keep thinking that if someone was imaginative enough to sort this idea, they could find a gap in contemporary lightsaber fencing to exploit. However, I haven't thought about it hard enough to figure it out.

    There is a lightsaber form that is part of canon - see Jedi-Academies.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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