Kung Fu Tai Chi Competitions on the World Stage

Coming up shortly in October and November 2014, there will be kung fu and tai chi competitions on the world stage, taking place in two areas of mainland China. Of the 34 competitors from Australia 6 have been selected from the Golden Lion Academy plus one of Golden Lion Masters as Team Coach.

kung fu wu shu tai chi 2014 international competition team Australia

Left to right: Rosemary Hermans, Jason Keane, Michelle Ruskin, Melanie Smith, Lincoln Rigby, Jessica Rice and Sifu Darlene Beauchamp (Australian Team Coach)

Competition life is not an easy road.  Scheduling training into family, work and study commitments is difficult.  This requires a strong focus on what is important with realistic expectations of what you can manage.  Some weeks training goes well and you see inroads in an area you were trying to improve on.  At other times, such as when you get that nagging cold, you must be realistic in what level of training you can attain.  Sometimes you think you are improving but you’re not.  Worse still is where you didn’t train as well as you can or expected and the weight of your coaches’ words or the eyes of class members watching your mistakes makes it even harder to concentrate.  As competitors we are tough on ourselves but we must learn to manage our frustrations and disappointments.

You are trying to remain calm yet build on your physical, mental and emotional attributes to improve each day as an athlete.  Some classes the challenge is physical as all your muscles ache or you aren’t feeling as energetic you normally are.  At other times, it is a mental game where concentration and focus is the most testing.

Balancing the road to fitness and improvement takes on a whole new meaning when you compete at state, national or international standards.  The immense difference in competing at an elite level of sport is that you must continue to make inroads into your training and go on a journey of frequent improvement, remembering that your competitor might be in Russia or Canada doing double the training you are doing.  They may be younger, have less injuries and be genetically far superior so you must compare yourself not just to class members but to the best of the best out there.

You must remain lean, fit and competitive and have an innate sense of competitiveness and perseverance to continual training on cold winter nights or on weekends when your friends are on the couch eating potato chips.  Whilst junk food can be rewards or treats, you must fuel your body and keep up with medical, nutritional and sporting science research to provide adequate nutrition to train at peak.

Throughout the year most club competitors would attend three classes a week.  Our best club competitors participate in extra classes as well as taking on additional fitness regimes such as walking or stretching or gym; often training six days a week in preparation for the competition day.  Many seek regular treatments such as acupuncture, physiotherapy or alternative medical treatments to aid peak performance or keep injuries at bay.

Kung Fu Tai Chi Competition – Why it’s Worth it

Sometimes when all my body aches, when I collapse into bed at the end of the day because I’ve trained late into the evening, I wonder if it’s worth it.  But with hard work and persistence, comes the benefits of better health, fitness and training with like-minded people who spur you on.  Training with team members cultivates a culture of friendship and support.  There are also enormous life lessons in giving something our best shot.  Reaching the peak of our sport and trying to win, provides the ultimate reward.  The challenge and significant accomplishment that comes from striving to win and pushing to extend physical and mental boundaries, is the endorphin rush like no other.  For others, the thought of coming second is a motivator to push to the absolute limits.

Furthermore, it is the continual dedication and discipline combined with the philosophical principles of the club that work together to create success.  Persistent commitment to acquiring mastery in our tai chi or kung fu rewards our physical, mental and spiritual health.

The Competition: the Road to China

The athletes selected competed in the National Championships back in May 2014 as one part of the criteria for selection.  Secondly, they had to submit individual routines for assessment by the events committee to Kung Fu Wushu Australia to ensure that competitors are of an appropriate standard to gain selection as part of the team.

Additionally Darlene Beauchamp who is one of our Tai Chi Sifus at Golden Lion took the opportunity to apply for the Team Manager position.  Given her previous experience with competing at many international and national events, she understood the requirements of the role.  She has since been upgraded to Australian Team Coach for the 1st Tai Chi World Championships.  This competition is the first only Tai Chi Championship event on the world stage and provides an exciting new competition for our team to participate in.

The team were selected in June and the Golden Lion competitors are as follows:

Kung Fu/Wushu

The Competition: The 6th World Traditional Wushu Championships 

Dates: October 23 – 29, 2014

Location: Chizhou City, Anhui Province, China

Competitors and Routines:

Jason Keane (3 Ancestors & Pu Dao)

Rosemary Hermans (Barehands & Southern Broadsword)

Tai Chi

The Competition: The 1st Taijiquan World Championships

Dates: October 29 – November 4,, 2014

Location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Competitors and Routines:

Lincoln Rigby (42 Barehands & 42 Sword)

Michelle Ruskin (42 Barehands & 42 Sword)

Jessica Rice (40 Barehands & 32 Sword)

Melanie Smith (42 Barehands & 32 Sword)

Whilst one of the most challenging aspects of competition is juggling the competing demands of life and training, clearly the sacrifices are worth it.  We compete in Kung Fu and Tai Chi because we don’t want to settle for anything less than performing to the best of our abilities.  We are honoured to have the opportunity to compete at this elite level.  Our devotion and passion for our sport makes the training easier.  The excitement of being selected makes it all worthwhile and we look forward to representing Golden Lion Academy and Australia on the world stage and making our club and ourselves proud.

Golden Lion international competitor

Rosemary Hermans, Rowville Kung Fu

PS: The Golden Lion Academy and all its members, wish the seven representatives from our club good luck on their journey to their respective competitions, hoping for successful outcomes.  Golden Lion is proud of our competitors and we wish you a safe return home; with medals of course!