Friday, April 13, 2007

National Interschool Wushu Championships (Day 5 Results)

Current Medal Tally
Day 1 Results----------------------------Day 2 Results
Tan Xiang Ting---------------------------Tan Xiang Tian
"5-Duan Chang Quan" = Gold
-----------"Nan Dao" = Silver

Tan Xiang Tian
"Nanquan-1st Int'l" = 4th
Day 3 Results-----------------------------Day 4 Results
Tan Xiang Ting ---------------------------Fung Jin Jie
"4-Duan Spear" = Gold
-------------------"Chang Quan 1st Intl" = Silver
---------------------------------------------"Cudgel 1st Intl" =Gold
Tan Xiang Tian
"Nan Gun" = Gold
Day 5 Results
Fung Jin Jie
"BroadSword 2nd Intl" = Gold

B-Div Boys
Group Sparring = Bronze

Day 5 of Competition, final day for all individual events.
Everything boils down to this point whether next Tuesdays Group Quan and Group Weapons will make a difference to overall scoring.

For VS, it was a day of hit and misses.
From Sec 2C, Fung Jin Jie clinched Gold comfortably in his Broadsword 2nd Intl Routine. It is a routine that Jin Jie has performed many times for school and even Chingay. He managed a clear win with a 8.53.

Our hopes for a triple Gold hat-trick from 1G's Tan Xiang Ting slipped away when he wasn't able to place in highly competitive and tightly fought the C-Div 4 Duan Sword event.

My proudest moment of the compeition occured today when I saw our B-Boys team comprising of Captain- Wayne Kang (3D), 2nd Vice-Captain- Sean Ho (3D) and Tan Xiang Tian (3I) make a breakthrough performance for VS by getting a Bronze medal in our first ever foray into the Group Sparring category. My heart started beating hard and fast the moment they registered for the even because we knew that we stood a chance but a very slim chance because our competitors were stronger, had well-established routines that were rehearsed from generation to generation of each batch and had consistently placed in the Interschool Competiton.
What we had was a tailor-made routine, choreographed with the invaluable assistance of one of my own sifu's Master Victor Chong to suit the strength of all 3 boys.
And indeed they did not disappoint: Xiang Tian fulfilled his role as the key 'Pivot Man' controlling the tempo, pace and structure of the event. Wayne and Sean gave a seamless performance matching timing, attack and counter-attack with Xiang Tian and by the skin of our teeth, we pulled it off with no visible mistakes: what I call a Solid Run. That allowed us to skim through into 3rd when more experience teams displayed some visible fumbles.

With that triumph, we were poised for a stronger chance in the C Boys Group Sparring event. There was a lot riding on this event as it was more technically demanding and would determine if we had any chance of making history when the final points from all events are tabled next Tue. Although the routine was more technically demanding- a spear vs broadsword with shield routine, we had our 2 acrobatic experts Fung Jin Jie from 2C and Tan Xiang Ting from 1G. Xiang Ting was an expert spear handle and won his Gold in the 4 Duan Spear this competition; likewise, Jin Jie was no stranger to the broadsword clinching his Gold today.

This was the event that held special meaning for me because I had spent long hours researching, thinking and choreographing this routine specially to showcase the dynamism and acrobatic ability of these boys. (You can see the evolution of this routine from conception to its final stage in the VS Wushu Blog)

I had given my best efforts to choreographing and developing this routine from scratch for the boys, I even got my other Sifu, Master Loh Poh Swee, to do a 'Quality Control' check and rework some of the martial scripting to ensure more coherent fight logic.

With bated breath, we waited and watched as the other teams did their routines. And as the teams before us did their stuff, I knew in my heart that we stood a chance not only to place in the top 3 but to actually contend for Gold. When the pair of Jin Jie and Xiang Ting took to the floor, we cheered out hearts out for them.
Then 5 secs into the routine, time stopped for me.
Just in the opening seconds when they flourished their weapons, Xiang Ting dropped the spear. With that my heart stopped.
Picking up the spear, the boys then proceeded to completed the routine without a single hitch after that, getting all the jumps, parrys and counter-attacks, right on
cue. But the damage was already done- a dropped weapon carries a 0.5 penalty from each judge. We ended with a final score of 7.5. Total calculations showed that without that 0.5 penalty, we would have an average of 8.0- definitely in contention for 1st place.

In this, we have only ourselves to blame.
I know that in the course of these intense 5 days of competition, many queries were raised by different parties over certain controversial penalties and judging inconsistencies. But as I have always said, "It's ok to make mistakes- no one is perfect; but take ownership for all your actions, good and bad. That is what makes you, a Victorian, something more."
No one penalised us- we penalised ourselves.
No one won over us- it is we that lost.
No one had an unfair advantage- we became complaceny in our skills and mastery of weapons we thought we handled so well.

Boys, there are 2 important lessons to learn from this:
Lesson (1) Do not take life for granted- everything comes at a price.
-Never assume that today's success guarantees you tomorrows fame because a careless moment will undo all your previous hardwork
-Never assume that accidents only happen to other people: the 2 boys that drowned in Pasir Ris, our foolish Victorian who broke his elbow in a previous post, etc. All this happen because we take things for granted.

Lesson (2) Take ownership for all that you do
-Do not make others do the work for your success: It's amazing how many parents want their sons to play rugby to toughen them up but you see the maid carrying the kid's bag to training for him, helping him wipe his sweat during break time and giving him his bottled ribena. You want to play a Man's game, then for goodness sake, behave like a man. Carry your own bag, pack it yourself; otherwise, you might as well have all our domestic helpers wear rugby boots and play for the boys.
-The first step to overcoming weakness is to acknowledge it: someone who says, "Shucks, I'm sorry, it's my fault- can you help me to be better and improve" is likely to succeed and really improve because he is teachable and able to take honest assessments of his own short-comings and turn them into strengths.
The person who starts with "Hey, don't blame me, wasn't my fault. How was I supposed to know this would happen? The floor was slippery, so I tripped; The weapons was rough so it slipped-If other people had done their part, I wouldn't have screwed up." Often this person ends up alone, isolated and unable to progress because no matter how good, how talented he is; he presents himself as arrogant, stubborn and worse of all, unteachable.

Yes, I was disappointed with the mishap but what will really break my heart is when you make these mistakes because you do not approach your training or competition seriously. Or if you ever think that you are a super star and the entire team owes its success to you.

Don't fear your competitor or be intimidated by him; but do not underestimate him and ridicule him either.

The mark of a true Professional is that when he triumphs, he is humble and does not ridicule his competitor because he knows that it takes the strongest opponent to bring out the best in him.
And you know you have become a true Sportsman when your opponents are happy for you even when you win them because you have earned their respect.
And you know you have become a true Gentleman, when you lose and your opponents come to you and say that you actually should have won them.

We have one more competition day to go- it looks like a losing battle, the odds are against us, the group events are even more competitive, our chances of getting a placing in any of them is slim and even if we do, it might not make a difference.
You could quit now and spare me and yourselves alot of pain and heartache.Or are you willing to give your all to the end, knowing that there might be no prize, no medal, no trophy, nothing but the phrase "Well done, boys. Although you lost but you did well." as your reward?

For me, I made my declaration long ago- That is why I put our team name on my car. So that everywhere I go, people will know that I coach the VS Wushu Team. It is there permanently for all to see. Everyday when I drive, I remind myself that the thing I am most proud of having achieved, is to have been able to setup and coach the Wushu Team in VS.
This insignia is my committment in word and action NEVER to QUIT fighting for the team.

What do you fight for boys? What do you fight for?
Me, I fight for each and everyone of you:
That you will become something more than I am,
That you will be able to stand on my shoulders and see further and climb higher.

What do you fight for boys, what do you fight for?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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