Tuesday, April 17, 2007

National Interschools Wushu Championships (Team Finals)

Today our C-Div and B-Div boys competed in the Group Quan and Group Weapons for their respective divisions. We had hopes for placing in at least 2 events.

First off, was the C-Div Group Quan. Our boys did a traditional Northern Shaolin Routine-"Shaolin Paochui Xiao Hong Quan".

This was a routine taught to me by my Sifu after his first few trips to China when it first opened up its doors in the early 1980s. Complete with trademark Shaolin moves "Arhat Sleeping", "Virgin Boy Praying to Buddha", it was a routine I had competed in 2003 during the National Interschool Wushu Championships (representing NIE- this was before Interschool competitions were run by MOE and traditional events were eliminated)and gotten a Bronze for it. The boys did well but the judges were not impressed, so we didn't managed to get placed.

Next, was the B-Div Quan. Our boys did a traditional Southern Shaolin Routine this time-"Xia Jia Quan".

This was a form that me and my training buddies performed in 2003 at the National Indoor Stadium for the National Wushu Demonstration 2003 organised by SNWF.
Our 'Naruto' style entrance and precision timing was well carried out by the boys. But again the judges were not impressed, their attention was captivated by the acrobatic stunts performed by other teams. Again, we didn't manage to secure a placing.

Next, came our C-Div Group Weapons event. Last year, our C-Div managed to pull a huge upset when our Double Dagger routine clinched Silver. Losing only to first place Chung Cheng High's 7.90 by 0.02 to get a score of 7.88 to get Silver.

Despite putting our 2 acrobats- Jin Jie and Xiang Ting, in to give a stronger closing sequence, history was not to be repeated. Again the judges were not impressed, even when we had included their favourite acrobatic stunts. Worse still, the boys were so hyped up that they completed the routine ahead of time (52 secs instead of taking at least 1min) and we were penalised 0.2 points. Once again, we did not manage to secure a placing.

Finally, our B-Div Group Weapons. This was last year's C-Div team that had clinched Silver for us. For them, we reworked the footwork, having the boys do their moves while intersecting each other. We changed the alignment to a more complex mirror image facing one and had our two most experienced members Wayne and Sean perform their routine intersecting each other

Wayne and Sean were the crucial 'pivot men' for this routine and they pulled the mirror-imaging and intersecting moves off flawlessly. With their tight timing and fluid intersection, the boys delivered exactly what I asked for. And yet again, the judges were not impressed. Turns out, they preferred routines that had multiple changes in formations (i.e. think NDP- your form circle, then you run, run, run; form square, then jump here, jump there, form an equilateral triangle), rather than routines designed to show the way a weapon is meant to be used. So once again, VS was eliminated from placing.

With that, any hopes of squeezing into either C-Div or B-Div Top 4 placing disappeared. No matter that the C-Div was in the spot for contention with 33 points as of Fri, or that the B-Div had a shot for 4th placing with our 16 points- not placing in the Group Events effectively eliminated us from the competition. There were alot of 'what ifs' amongst the boys and me: what if we were not given some of the bizarre penalties against us, what if the accident didn't happen during C-Boys Group Sparring, what if we had added more stunts, etc.

But let's look at what we got this year: 5 Golds, 2 Silvers, 2 Bronzes (one 3rd, one 4th)
We competed in the most number of individual events ever, more than double from last year.
We competed in all the group events and sparring events.
We are now stronger than before and we cannot be ignored.
ALL of you, ALL of you contributed to this improvement in the team.
When we sang the Victorian Anthem at the close of the day, we announced our presence to the rest of the other competing teams.
We declared to them that we are here to stay and that we will grow into a force to be reckoned with.

To our respected opponents,
We will train hard to prove ourselves worthy of the challenge next year.

To the Red and Black shirts,
You arrived just in time for our first event when the C-Div boys were about to do their Group Quan. Just knowing that you all came, lit up all their faces. Knowing that we had the support of the Victorian Red and Black Team made a tremendous boost to our morale.

To the Team:
you did VS proud today when you performed with all your heart- I saw it, the teachers that came down saw it, our Red and Black Team saw it and we know that you gave your all.

No teacher or coach can ask for more.
In that, I am proud of you, you are my first team guys and you are my only team.
You are my champions because you show the world that there is 'Nothing without Labore' and that with Hardwork, Everything is Possible.

We've just begun the journey- it's not who starts the fastest but who makes it to the end that matters.

Let's walk this road together, you, me and the ENTIRE VS family.
Together, we will make history.

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