A picnic, at the World Kung Fu and Tai Chi Championships, Oporto, PortugalKeith Roost
Respectful Master was the somewhat endearing heading on my email invitation from the IKF; I pondered why Gloria’s Dachshund did not afford me the same courtesy at 7.30 am on a Sunday morning, steadfastly refusing to return until he was ready. Dog retrieved and picnic basket loaded in to the Alfa Romeo (yes, we have been to Oxford) we set off to meet our students at the agreed rendezvous in Coimbra, to catch the final day of the IKF 2007 World Kung Fu and Tai Chi Championships, in Oporto.
I had heard of the IKF before their kind invitation, or at least encountered the website IKF - World Kung Fu & Tai Chi Championships (that will take you to the results page and further) Based in Azerbaijan and presided over by one David Mahmudzadeh, the International Kung Fu Federation boasts an impressive set of international masters among its membership, and laudably states its purpose’s as follows;
´The International Kung fu Federation is an international governing body of the national and international kung fu and tai chi organizations in the world.
The purpose of organizing an international governing body for kung fu and tai chi is to propagate worldwide traditional kung fu tenets and spirit.
The IKF promotes the traditional kung fu and tai chi worldwide as a unique team with unique rules and seeks to join the Olympic Games`
There was a promised 2000 entrants for the 4 day event, our choice to attend on the final day was directed by the majority of the Tai Chi events happening at that time. The excellent venue was clearly directed and easily found from Oporto. A bustling seaside town intent on building its international profile, Povoa Varzim proved a superb choice for this event. On arriving at the venue we were greeted by charming and helpful members of the Kung Fu Association of Portugal who had arranged and jointly hosted the event, our thanks are offered to the local guys who forfeited competing to man the entrances, and generally run the backstage stuff, who stayed cheerful and courteous, they made us very welcome.
We found comfortable seats overlooking the main forms competition area, amongst friendly people from Holland, France, Spain and of course Portugal, and a charming and talented guy from Canada, Eric Yau, with his mother. Eric was trained in the Shaolin systems initially by his mother, and has then explored further. We missed his Ba Gua performance, which was lumped in to the Tai Chi hand form category, but his performance with the double hand straight sword was exceptional and inspiring, you can see him in action at KUNGFUBROTHERS.
Eric explained that the time allocated to forms was 90 seconds, although those competing in the weapons forms seemed to have longer.
The Pushing Hands competition was dominated by the French, students of Emanual Cerdan who is a Shuai Jiao exponent par excellence, and World Champion in both China and Malaysia. Apparently the organisers were undecided as to what rules should be applied in this Pushing hands competition, settling for a fixed step format with a referee circled start. I had the opportunity for a friendly exchange with third placed Ricavo Carvilhosa of Portugal, and found him to be light, sensitive, responsive and skilful, which says much for the standard of the competition.
Notable performances in the Tai Chi forms were from performers who were all highly placed, particularly Ricavo Carvalhosa and fellow students from the Lisbon Yang Jwing Ming school, with an Yang style form from the Yang Ban Hou lineage, featuring frequent use of fa-jing. They also had an interesting sword form, with which Ricavo achieved a first in Men’s Tai Chi Weapons. . Numan Pekgoz, a 13th generation Chen stylist from Turkey, who teaches in Holland achieved a creditable 3rd place in the masters weapon category, and 3 guys from Spain cleaned up the Tai Chi Bare-hand Master category. One of them, Jose Parada Gonzales was placed 2nd with his performance of Sun style routine, nice to see a change from the frequent though usually splendid IWUF forms, dominant in so many competitions.
Ricavo, Numan, and Jose were good enough to spare the time for interviews, along with Eric Yau, which will be featured on my website and a dvd I have in production. I missed an interview with big John Ikeme from Nigeria, who was placed second in the full contact despite taking a heavy fall. John performed an interesting version of hand form I took to be derived from Yang style, unfortunately I lost track of him after his full contact bout.
I gather this was the first world championships for this organisation, and apparently many entrants from non European countries were unable to obtain visa’s, so the number of entries was significantly reduced from the promised 2,000.
The venue was superb, and as befits a World Championship, much was made of the medal presentations, with podium, national flags and anthems, presentation speeches, and broadcast interviews, backed up by large scale video screens etc, excellent!
As for the competition, we only saw the finals, all of the winning form competitors were superb in their performances, and conduct and equal to any competition anywhere. Overall we found the competitors, and audience to be friendly and sociable, keen to share their own and others experiences. I particularly enjoyed being bounced around by Emanual Cerdan over coffee in his explanation of Shuai Jiao, and the exchanges with all those who gave interviews. The organisers are to be congratulated on staging a world championship with the pomp and ceremony it deserves, and for attracting competitors from so many diverse locations.
The 2008 event is to be held over 4 days in October, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Perhaps with efforts such as this they will succeed in their well intentioned aims of uniting the world of Kung Fu?
As for us we thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle, the performances, fresh coffee with tables and chairs, meeting old and new friends, and our picnic in the sun.
|Ricardo Jose Carraga Carvalhosa||Men||Tai Chi Barehand||1st||Portugal|
|Leandro Martins||Men||Tai Chi Barehand||2nd||Portugal|
|Miguel Angelo Rodriques Largiunho||Men||Tai Chi Barehand||3rd||Portugal|
Tai Chi Weapon - Men
|Ricardo Jose Carraga Carvalhosa||Men||Tai Chi Weapon||1st||Portugal|
|David Emanuel Pimentel Goncalves||Men||Tai Chi Weapon||2nd||Portugal|
|Migel Angelo Rodrigues Larguinho||Men||Tai Chi Weapon||3rd||Portugal|
Tai Chi Weapon - Women
|Vania Patricia Noqueira Concalves||Women||Tai Chi Weapon||1st||Portugal|
|Helena Matos Rangel||Women||Tai Chi Weapon||2nd||Portugal|
Tuei Sho -Men
|Eugene Edwige||Men||Tuei Sho||1st||France|
|Brosse Jacques||Men||Tuei Sho||2nd||France|
Tai Chi Barehand - Master
|Han Liang Zhu||Master||Tai Chi Barehand||1st||Spain|
|Jose Parada Gonzales||Master||Tai Chi Barehand||2nd||Spain|
|Domingo Gonzalez Lopez||Master||Tai Chi Barehand||3rd||Spain|
Tai Chi Wepon - Master
|Nuria Alvarez Dguez||Master||Tai Chi Weapon||1st||Spain|
|Domingo Gonzales Lopez||Master||Tai Chi Weapon||2nd||Spain|
|Numan Pekgoz||Master||Tai Chi Weapon||3rd||Turkey|
Full Sanda +90 kg Men
|Joaquim Cunha||+90 kg||Full Sanda||1st||Portugal|
|Ikeme John||+90 kg||Full Sanda||2nd||Nigeria|
|Simao Rodrigues||+90 kg||Full Sanda||3rd||Portugal|