Report on Pan Am Wushu Competitions

By C.P.Ong

Junior Taolu Division - The Girls Take the Lead in Golds
Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine January/February 

2011 She was little and the cutest darling of the U.S. Team, but Isabelle Ju set the trail of golds at the 8th Pan Am Wushu Competition, held in Buenos Aires. Belying the petite and slender frame, she brought out the martial spirit in her performance of the long fist (changquan) routine. Her movements were expansive, with good balance between the hand and foot techniques. In the punch, she did not just extend her arms but expressed the striking action, and her kicks had the offensive spirit, not just raising the legs high. The running, leaping, tumbling and whirling were clean, and the landings solid. In short, the diminutive Isabelle marshaled speed, agility and strength in a display of the spirit of wushu, which distinguishes it from dance and acrobatics.

Isabelle's changquan charmed the audience and judges alike, and won her first-place. Later on in the broadsword (daoshu) event, she also took first-place, thus winning two straight golds in the Junior Girls Group C Division.

Richelle Ju surely would not let her little sister outshine her. She dazzled with three straight golds in long-fist (changquan), straight-sword (jiangshu) and staff (gunshu) in the Juniors Girls Group B Division. The harvest for the Ju family of Cupertino, CA totalled five gold medals. Also, from the same city, Tiffany Wang scored straight golds for her events, Taijiquan and Taiji Straight-sword (Taijijinian) in the same Group B Division.

In the Junior Girls Group A Division, the U.S. placed first and second in the spear (qiangshu) events. Christina Sung took the gold while Annie Ma took silver. Christina also took home a silver in long-fist (changquan), while Annie also won silver in straight-sword (jianshu).

The Junior Boys - Not to Be Outdone
In the Junior Boys Division, the Texan boys saw to it that they were not outdone by the California girls. Manuel Lerma of Group C, from McAllen, TX, chimed in with two straight golds, in changquan and gunshu, while Jordan Hwang of Group B, from Houston, TX, took three straight golds in long-fist, broadsword and staff (changquan, daoshu and gunshu).

Sharing the podium with Manuel in the changquan event was Roy Ke of Potomac, MD, who won the silver. Also, Dominic Chow of Fairfax, VA, got the bronze in gunshu in the Group C Division.

The U.S. presence on the medals podium for Group B Boys Division did not stop with Jordan Hwang's dominant performance. Two Virginians contributed: Christopher Lam received the silver in jianshu and the bronze in qiangshu, while Wen-yuan Li took home the bronze in jiangshu and the silver in qiangshu. In addition, Eric Yi, also a Virginian, shared the podium with Jordan Hwang in the changquan event with the bronze medal.

In the Group A Boys Division, Andrew Fung of Cupertino, CA shone with a gold in gunshu, a silver in changquan and a bronze in daoshu. In the daoshu competition, Danny Tu of Fairfax, VA had to settle for silver as the gold went to Venezuelan David Ramirez.

Adult Taolu Division - A Mini Storm in the Female Taolu
As the US Juniors were gathering the golds, a mini storm was brewing in the Adult's Female Taolu Division. On the practice floor, one athlete stood out even in the warm-up's as a most formidable competitor. Amidst the buzz, it was soon found out that she was Chen Min, a highly ranked athlete in China, of the Zhejiang Wushu Team, who was competing on the Argentinean team.

There were doubts that she was an Argentinean citizen, a requirement to represent the country in the competition. The Argentinean officials insisted that her participation was proper, and presented documentation to support their assertion, which was inconclusive. The Argentineans were adamant, and since they were the hosts, the matter was put off.

Chen Min did not disappoint in the first wushu event, the qiang (spear). She was simply dazzling. Her artistry was clearly a cut above. Applause thundered from the Argentinean quarter at the conclusion of her routine.

Though a veteran of many games, Tiffany Reyes of the U.S. could not but feel intimidated by the performance. She slipped slightly at the start, but quickly regained her composure. As she thrust with the spear in the zhaqiang technique, the penetrating power was evident at the spear head. The spear came alive as she threaded and twirled the spear. She was innovative in doing a series of the chuanqiang as the spear swept an arc. Her spins, flips and wuhua (the dancing figure eight), were impressive, but the cumulative minor deductions were costly, putting her at a distant second to Chen Min's 9.55 score.

To falter is human, which Chen Min did in the straight-sword (jianshu) event. Tiffany Reyes did not let the chance slip by. She streaked to the top, with a stupendous score of 9.50, securing her the gold, while Brenda Hatley (of U.S.) finished second, leaving Chen Min with third. Actually, Brenda's artistry in the performance was brilliant, with the right sparks, but the deductions dragged her down a few pecks.

Claudine Tran mustered every ounce of her energy to mount a strong challenge to Chen Min in the changquan event, but the latter bounced back, and Claudine had to settle for second place. But Claudine conquered the daoshu event, with a strong score of 9.50, securing the gold. She also managed a silver in gunshu, with Stephanie Lim (California) earning gold with a solid performance. In the nanquan event, Tiffany Reyes was just too strong and took first place. Karlee Yong, despite limping from an ankle injury, courageously pushed herself to win the bronze in nangun.

A Ruling Yields Two More Golds for the U.S.
Halfway through the awards ceremony, the Chief Judge-scorer of Brazil scurried to retain the female Taolu athletes, then announced that Chen Min had been disqualified, as she did not meet the citizenship requirement of Argentina. The matter had just been reviewed by an Arbitration Committee, headed by Marcus Alves of Brazil. Based on a written legal opinion that Chen Min's documentation did not meet the citizenship requirement according to Argentinean law, the Committee ruled that she was disqualified, and her participation nullified.

The review resulted in Tiffany Reyes winning three golds, in qiangshu, jianshu and nanquan. Claudine's silver in changquan was elevated to gold, netting her two golds and a silver. Also, Samantha Tsen was bumped up to bronze in jianshu, giving the U.S. a clean sweep of the medals in the event. Also, Samantha's bronze became silver in the qiangshu.

All-Around Star
The male athletes did just as well in the Taolu Division.

The Pan Am all-around star athlete was Donovan Hui of Fairfax, VA, by virtue of winning straight golds in changquan, jianshu and qiangshu. Sharing the podium with Donovan in jianshu was Phillip Dang, of California, with a silver. The U.S. took two more golds in Taolu - in gunshu, by Michael Tsai, of College Park, MD; in daoshu by Pengyu Fan, of Virginia, who also received a bronze in changquan. Eugene Moy, also of Virginia, received a bronze in gunshu. The Californians Jason Dung and Phillip Chen each got a bronze in qiangshu and nandao respectively.

Bountiful Harvest of Medals
The U.S. Team of 38 athletes, consisting of 16 juniors and 15 adults in Taolu, and 7 sanshou fighters, harvested a bumper crop of 53 medals - 26 golds, 12 silvers and 15 bronzes - at the 8th Pan American Wushu Competition, Oct 7-10 in Buenos Aires.

Including parents and officials, the U.S. contingent came to 70 strong, led by Team Manager C.P. Ong, Coaches Jiang Bangjun and Stephon Morton for Taolu, and Ian Lee for Sanshou, and Team Doctor Mabel Lim. The team uniforms were once again donated by the Tiger Claw Foundation, whose consistent support is greatly appreciated.

In the Taolu category, the Junior athletes led the way with 14 golds, 8 silvers and 6 bronzes, while the Adults took home 11 golds, 4 silvers and 6 bronzes.

The U.S. medal winners are clustered in two regions: Silicon Valley in California, with a good number coming from Li's Wushu Academy, in Cupertino (run by Shifu Li Shudong); and metropolitan Washington D.C., with the majority coming from Omei's Wushu Kungfu Center (by Shifu Lu Xiaolin).

However, not all the champions are from these regions, and it would be wrong to infer that these places hold special advantages for grooming wushu talent. Notably, the star athlete, Jordan Hwang, who won three straight golds in the Junior Group B Division, is from Houston, TX, and Manuel Lerma, who won two straight golds, is from McAllen, TX. Manuel's success is due to the tireless efforts of local coaches Felipe Corona and his wife, Linda Madrid, with the full support of his parents. So aspiring athletes should not be disheartened. Check the USAWKF website for announcements of the next U.S. Wushu Team Trials for Taolu to win a place to officially represent the U.S. Also, to find wushu activities organized or sanctioned by the International Wushu Federation, go to its website,

The sanshou fighters faced the toughest fighters from Brazil and Venezuela. But Alex Cisne stopped a complete U.S. shutout of golds by winning the gold in the 80 kg class. David Clark, Felipe de Jesus Pantoja and Jessica Miramontes helped in the medal count, receiving a bronze each. Sadly, in his fight, Felipe sustained damage to the ribcage, puncturing the lungs. Thanks to the surgical skills and medical care of the local hospital, his condition stabilized quickly, but he had to remain behind for a few more weeks for a fuller recovery before flying back. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him.

Total Medal Count
The 16-member US Junior Team bagged a total of 28 medals.

Girls: 8 golds and 3 silvers

Boys: 6 golds, 5 silvers and 6 bronzes

Total: 14 golds, 8 silvers and 6 bronzes

The 15-member Taolu Team took home a total of 21 medals.

Male: 5 golds, 1 silver, 4 bronzes

Female: 6 golds, 3 silvers, 2 bronzes

Total: 11 golds, 4 silvers, 6 bronzes

The 7-member Sanshou Team received a total of 4 medals.

Male: 1 gold 2 bronzes

Female: 1 bronze

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Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine January/February 2011
Pan American Wushu Championships

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