Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Nerf Armoury

Today, we transform our peaceful hostel apartment into Mr Siow's dedicated Nerf Armoury Wall.

This is before:
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It's a wonder what some simple brackets and shelving from IKEA will do

This is after:
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Test fire clips soon...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Toys for big boys- Nerf Guns!

Now that wushu competition is over and my life has returned to a semblance of normalcy, I decided to buy myself some toys.

True men never grow up, they just get more elaborate toys.
I've always loved toy guys as a kid but now, I can really afford to get some cool ones.

So check out my latest nerf arsenal:
My first piece was the Recon:
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The cool part about it is that it snaps apart into various configurations:
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Then I realised that buying one Nerf gun is no fun if you got nobody to play with, so I bought these small pistols for the boys (yes, of course I get the big gun instead... muahahahah)
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Then I realised I needed more range (so I can snipe at everyone hidden away in one corner) I got the Longshot.
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But nothing beats the old fashion, 6-shooter! The Maverick is now my all time favourite gun (Looks like the Samaritan from Hellboy)
It loads six shots and with a few modifications, I made its entire barrel pop open to allow for full open breech loading
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Gonna upload some shooting videos for you all soon!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Highlights of VS Wushu Team's events during the National Interschool Wushu Competition 2009

Here are the highlights of VS Wushu Team's performances during this year's National Interschool Wushu Championships 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Competition- Group Events Final Day

After close to 3 weeks of gruelling competition, we reach the final day for group events.

At lot was at stake for VS. For C-Boys, we were leading the table with 31 points, followed closely by Beatty Sec with 30 points. With such a close margin, the fight for division title could swing anyway.

Alas, a costly mistake cost us the Group Quan. Although the general movements and timing were good, we messed up one sequence of the routine and it was obvious to all who saw it:

It was an unforced error and it cost us dearly, we probably lost 0.2 or 0.3 points and based on our final score of 7.96, it would have meant that without the mistake, we might bave placed 2nd or 3rd for the event.

This is a team effort boys, so there are no individual mistakes here. You need to work harder to gel yourself as a team so that we can push on to greater heights next year.

The B-Boys tried their best to regain our pride- it was obvious that their Group Quan was much tighter and focused than the C-boys.

Unfortunately, the competition levels from the other team was intense and the B-Div also failed to place within top 4 in this event, even though they gave a good showing.

By now, we knew that our fellow competitors in the C-Div had accumulated enough points and that from leading the table at 31, we were now laggin behind in 3rd or 4th placing. If we failed to place in the Group Weapon, we ran the risk of being eliminated from top 4 in the division placing.

The boys' morale was low at this point but I told them this:
If we can't fight for 1st place, then we fight for 2nd.
If we can't fight for 2nd place, then we fight for 3rd
If we can't fight for 3rd place, then we fight for 4th
If we can't fight for 4th place, then we fight to do our school, parents and team mates proud.
There is always something to fight for and at the end of the day, it is not the medal you get that determines the value of your fight but rather the strength of your fighting spirit that determines the value of your medal

So we rallied the C-boys together and urged them to lift up their spirits and give it their all:

Personally, I felt it was one of their best attempts at the group weapon event.
However, competition was tough and many of our opponents had more complicated sequences as well as technical sequences which we lacked.
So again, we were not able to place in top four for this event. With this result, our chances for remaining in top 4 for the division title seemed very slim.

But there was still one more event to go- the B-boys Group Weapon.
The B-boys have really matured this year and spent a lot of time working on their group weapon routine. I was really proud and pleased to see their progress and hard work all the way from last year, through the Mar training trip in China till now.
You can see the results of their blood, sweat and tears here:

Unfortunately, our esteemed opponents had slick moves of their own and their choreography and timing was no less tight and incorporated more technical and acrobatic moves. So no placing even for our most confident event, the B-Boys Weapons.

With such a series of set-back for us, morale was indeed low as we stayed back for the end of the competition. However, a quick check with friends and fellow competitors from other schools indicated that we might stil have a glimmer of hope for the C-Div.

And lo and behold, our C-Div boys edged their way into 3rd Position for C-Division.
Even without any further additions, our 31 points was just barely enough to secure a place for us in division top 4.

It was a small triumph in a day of set backs, but that is what martial arts is all about. Perservering through your obstacles and coming back the better man.

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You are always my champions, boys. Not because of the medals and not because of your skills but because I know that I have groomed you all to be something more.
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Your values and character will be what sets you apart.
So for VS, for your parents, for your team-mates and for yourself...争气吧!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Competition- Day 6

Today was Day 6 of the Wushu Competition, our final 2 competitors did well in the events.
First up was Darren Tan in the C-Div Nan Gun:

Darren did well and after an agonising tie at 8.26 for 3rd and 4th, results came out with Darren in 3rd place for another bronze medal for VS C-Div

Our final competitor in the individual events was Fung Jin Jie in the Cudgel 2nd International Routine:

Despite facing stiff competition and the usual variance in scoring, Jin Jie did very well and scored 8.81, narrowly missing the Gold by 0.08 only

Well done boys!
We now have the important Group Events to train for.
We have a fighting chance in both divisions and in order to achieve our goal, you know that the next week will be tough.

But I believe in you- because I know you will fight, not for fame; and you will fight, not for reward; but you fight for your pride and belief in who you are.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Competition- Day 5

Today is Day 5 and we only had one competitor- Ryan Goh competiting in the B-Boys Nan Gun event.

There were a lot of strong opponents in this category, with some of them every from the National Youth Squad! Honestly, Ryan spent about just a month or so learning this routine!

When we first talked about it and I asked Ryan if he was willing to stretch himself and just try and see how much he could absorb. Ryan told me, "Why not?"

So Ryan spent the next weeks training hard with Darren- it was good to see our boys helping each other out. I tried my best to help since I learnt this routine before, but the current interpretation is very different from the way I was taught and I've not actively practiced it in a long, long time, so I wasn't able to be of much help to Ryan. But Ryan perservered and learnt the routine from our coaches, got Darren to help him fine-tune the lessons and still gave a pretty good performance.

Not bad right? Not in contention for Top 4, perhaps, but definitely not bad for less than 2 months work.
Now some may ask,"Eh Mr Siow, your athlete haven't even start learning the routine, you sign him up for the event? Liddat how to win?"

Well, it is my belief and philosophy here in the VS Team to send my students for competitions in order to make them better athletes and not to have good athletes in order to win competitions.

Ultimately, it is all about personal growth.
Did Ryan win a medal? No.
Did Ryan grow and achieve a breakthrough under the challenge I set for him?

And that is what the martial arts are all about :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Competition- Day 4

Today is Day 4 of our competition,
Our boys were scheduled for quite a number of events.

First up, was Lee Jing Wei from C-Div who participated in the Spear 1st International Routine.

Jingwei managed to place 3rd for this event- Yay, you get to play computer for one whole week, hahaha!

Next, our B-Div anchor man, Fung Jin Jie gave a fine solid performance today during the Broadsword 2nd International Routine:

Jinjie's maturity and hardwork has paid off and he achieved First Place with a score of 8.68! Well done!

Next we had another participant in the spear event, this time it was Samuel Tan in the 4-Duan Spear for C-Div:

Like so many other athletes who also gave their best, Samuel was unfortunately not able to place in Top 4- but that is the nature of competition. Boys, I value of you in the team because of who you are; not how many medals you win for the school.

Concurrently, with the 4-Duan Spear event was the 4-Duan Cudgel event for C-Div:
Kang Jie decided to participate in both Broadsword and Cudgel this year in order to complement his skills; rather than stick to doing just Taiji.
I must say that he has improved tremendously:

Although Kangjie didn't place in the event, Bernie Ang, who competed in the same event managed to place 2nd! Woots!
But as I was covering the Spear event for Samuel, I wasn't able to get footage of Bernie- sorry!

Well, it may seem to my readers that I'm using the following phrase alot ".... although xxx tried his best, but he didn't place in Top 4.... but we are happy with his progress"
Some of you may wonder whether this is just a token phrase of encouragement to those of you who 'didn't make it'; but let me assure you it is not.
As I mentioned above, in VS, we value your presence in the team for who YOU are; and not for the amount of medals you bring in.

The difference may not seem obvious to you young guys now but I'm sure your parents will understand the following words perfectly:
If you win a medal for VS in competition, I'm sure you'll feel the pride at having contributed to medal to our competitive efforts.

But for me, it is the day I see you graduate and move on to JC, or Poly, or wherever; and yet come back to help train your juniors and still be part of the team, that is when my heart swells with pride for each and everyone of you here because then I know that the practice of martial arts for you all here in VS is not about winning medals or being number one in competition-- It is then that I say with pride that in training in VS Wushu brings out the best in you and makes you something more.

That boys, is my pride in you and it is worth more than gold.

Friday, April 3, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Competition- Day 3

Today was day three of our competition and for our team, it was all the taiji events.

We began the day well with our first Gold medal of the competition by Ho Munyong in the C-Div 42-Step Taiji

Taiji sounds easy to most people because it's slow compared to the other forms of Wushu-but to those who do it, they know that it is a very technical event. Taiji is not just Changquan done slowly, it's mechanics are completely different. The 42-Step Competition form is a tough one to master

Our other athlete to attempt this was Tan Yuda from B-Div boys. Yuda learnt this routine in less than 3 months just so that our B-Div could also field one member in Taiji. Though he didn't place in the event, the Taiji crash course has helped him improve tremendously in his Group Event. (Don't have footage of his even cos I was on a secret mission at that time. Yup, Yuda is sworn to secrecy for the time being)

Our other C-Div boys did competed in the simplified 24-Step Taiji
They both showed a great improvement from last year.

Ang Kang Jie improved this year, showing better stability and fluidity. He was tied for 4th place with a score of 8.05 but final resolution of the highest of and lowest discarded score placed him at 5th. Nevertheless, I am happy to see his improvement.
You can reference this clip with last yeat's competition clip to see his improvement.

Next, was our mischievous little baba hero, John Png. John too has shown good improvement. However, he still needs to polish his fluency and fluidity in the Taiji.
However, his focus and posture is a good improvement from last year. Doing taiji has also helped John in his general movement and I'm sure you'll get to see this in his Group events:

So although we've tasted success with our first Gold medal today, let us not be complacent and push on
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We'll be up early tomorrow for training as usual.
Come on boys, we're only half-way through!
Monday, we continue our fight to challenge ourselves to greater excellence!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Competition- Day 2

Today was the 2nd day of competition for the Inter-school Wushu Championships.
First up was Lloyd Teo in the 5-Duan Nanquan for C-Div
Although Lloyd wasn't able to place in the Top 4, he's shown improvement especially in his jumpling side-kick and flip-jump

Jingwei took part in C-Div Changquan 1st Int Routine
Competition and skill level for this event and their age group was just so intense.

Well done, Jingwei! You gave your best and that is all that matters.

Despite having 2 upsets, the VS Team still managed to clinch one medal today and we didn't have to walk away empty handed.
Darren Tan competed in the Nanquan 1st International Routine for C-boys and managed to secure a 3rd place.

Well done boys!
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Tomorrow, our Taiji competitors take the field and I am sure we can continue to persevere and push ourselves to achieve greater heights!.

Let's go VS, Let's go!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

National Interschool Wushu Championships- Day 1

Today was Day 1 of the National Interschool Wushu Championships,

After all our months of hard work and sacrificing our Mar holidays to train in Beijing, China, we approached this day with a mixture of excitment and anxiousness.

First, up was Lee Jing Wei in the Sword 1st International Routine

Jingwei's final score of 8.31 gave him a tie with 4 other competitiors for 2nd place. We kept our fingers crossed and our hard work training in Beijing paid off when the final results were announced with Jingwei placing 2nd!

Next was the B-Boys Nanquan, despite not having access to carpeted training areas, our team boys still managed to training for the technical movements in this event.
Ryan Goh, our Team Captain managed to give a strong showing and managed his jumps well despite the lack of opportunity to practice.

Kong Wei Chung, our 'foreign talent'-- our first ASEAN scholar with wushu background proved that he works hard not only in studies but that he is able to have a balance between CCA and academic achievement as well. Weichung was awarded most hardworking athlete during our trip to Beijing

But despite their best efforts, our fellow competitors were too strong for them and both boys remained unplaced in the Nan Quan event.

Darren Tan was next to take part in the Nan Dao event.

Likewise, competition in this event was intense with strong, vibrant performances from our fellow competitors. Although, Darren was unplaced in this event, he remained undeterred and determined to strive harder for his following events.
That's the spirit!

Our biggest boost in morale came with the appearance of Bernie Ang on the scene today. A few days ago, Bernie was diagnosed with a severe eye infection and it seemed likely that he would have to withdraw from competition.
However, his fighting spirit allowed him to overcome the infection and recover fast.
In fact, he showed up straight for the competition right from the doctor's appointment. This spurred our other athlete Kangjie who was also competing in the same event.
Although Kangjie's designated routine is actually Taiji, this year he decided to push himself and sign up for one more event in the 4-Duan Broadsword. Bernie's appearance must have encourage him because today's performance by Kang Jie was indeed his best ever:

Even though Kangjie didn't get to place, the entire team's spirit was lifted by Bernie's presence and Kang Jie's improvement.

Encouraged by Kang Jie's performance, Bernie gave his best:

Bernie's fighting spirit to overcome his illness and recover was rewarded by a second place in the event! Well done Bernie, we are sure you are on the way to a full recovery!

Last but not least, Fung Jin Jie faced tough competition in the B-Boys Changquan 2nd International Routine:

Despite tough competition, Jinjie gave a flawless performance and it was a close fight for the championship. Jinjie's score of 8.93 lost by a narrow margin of 0.12pts to his fellow competitor Yuxiang who scored 9.05.
It was good to see our boys pitted against such strong opponents- in this way both parties are pushed to excel and give off their best.
Although Jin Jie had to contend with a second place, we were all very satisfied with his performance.

So we have gone off to a good start on our first day with 3 silver medals.
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But boys we cannot be complacent now- you have seen the standard and effort put in by all our competitors. Let us be inspired by them and work harder so that win or lose, we will earn the respect of our supporters as well as our competitors!

VS Wushu, 争气,争气,争气!

Victoria School X-Country win!

Last Wednesday, Victoria School took part in the 50th National Schools Cross-Country Championships.

Unfortunately, I kena bad flu so I couldn't go down to cover the event.
So here's a short post.

Our C-boys gave us a decisive victory in their division, while our B-boys managed to clinch 2nd place, narrowly losing out to esteemed rivals, Catholic High by a mere 2 points
C Divison

1. Victoria School 28 points
2. Catholic High School 51 points
3. Singapore Sports School 51 points

B Division

1. Catholic High School 48 points
2. Victoria School 50 points
3. Singapore Sports School 65 points

For more coverage on the event, check out Red Sport's article here
Here are some pics of the event (Courtest of Quinn Lum, AEP)