The 17th University Wushu Games

The 17th University Wushu Games

Yes, I know.

It’s been a while since my last update. And although it has been a while since I’ve updated either this website nor my YouTube channel, I have still been trying to stay active within the wushu community.

Today I’d like to share my recent experiences judging at the 17th University of Wushu Games at the University of Maryland.

The Journey

The journey to Maryland was an adventure in itself. Living in Tulsa, Oklahoma (that’s right — I live in Tulsa now), I began my trip driving the 90 minutes to Oklahoma City where I was catching my flight.

After a workday spent at a local Panera Bread, I caught my flight to D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Airport. Opting for an economical route, I navigated the metro to College Park, then rode a VEO electric bike to the Cambria Hotel. Michael (and Zhi Hao) from Las Vegas were kind enough to let me know they were working out in the hotel gym so I came over after checking in. I also got to meet some nice folks from Win Win in Pittsburg. It turned out that they were just a 4 hour drive from Washington D.C.! (I often forget how close East Coast cities are to each other. Having grown up on the West Coast, it takes half a day to get from any given city to another.

After hanging out a bit I made my way to my room and grabbed some Z’s before the next day’s competition.

The Competition

This was actually my second year judging at the UWG. And, just like the previous year, it was well-organized and kept up a good pace, ending right around 7:00 PM. And, as before, it was a great chance to meet up with lots of wushu friends from the region.

The morning sessions, dedicated to kids and youth, were a clever scheduling choice, catering to the young competitors’ attention spans and allowing parents to manage their time efficiently. This session stretched until 3:00 PM, filled with vibrant energy and young talent.

The view of the wushu ring from the judging table.

The adult divisions in the afternoon were pretty interesting. I spent most of my time at Ring 1, observing the nandu and various external events. One thing I’ll say about the use of the 2005 IWuF judging rules is that it is a bit of an adjustment since I often have to remove certain deductions that didn’t exist in those earlier rules.

For most of the competition I was an A Judge, meaning I was focused on deductions. And, in case you didn’t know, when judging kids, there are a LOT of A deductions to pay attention to. 70, 50, 51, 52, 53 … any time a stance isn’t at the right level or the toes are pointed the wrong way, they get noted. It makes for a carpel tunnel inducing judging experience.

But, to be honest, I sort of enjoy it. I always learn something new every time I judge.

In the afternoon were the adult divisions. It went pretty quick with a few highlights, including great performances by Janel Tjiong, Kevin Law, and Justin Benedict. Justin’s bagua zhang, in particular, earned a score score, standing out as the only performance to break the 9.0 threshold.

You can see this video of the performance which Michael posted on his channel:

After the competition I went out for Korean BBQ with Momo, Michael and Zhi Hao. It was the same restaurant (but under new management) that we ate at last year too. Nearby other wushu folks were eating and we had a nice group photo at the end as we were all leaving.

Reflections and Conclusions

Attending the UWG sparked several thoughts.

First, the abundance of Wushu schools in the DC Metro Area is impressive, and I’m keen on exploring them further. When? I have no idea. No plans right now, but it’s definitely on my wushu bucket list.

Second, witnessing such skill and dedication at the games reignited my own desire to enhance my Wushu practice, focusing on overcoming physical limitations and enhancing endurance. Granted, that is a LONG road for me, but I’d still love to get there … eventually.

Finally, I’m always reminded how invaluable friendships are in the wushu community. It’s the people, more than the glory, that make Wushu so special to me.

I couldn’t capture much footage due to the judging responsibilities, but the experience was enriching nonetheless. I hope I have a chance to go there again next year.

But, in the meantime, I have another competition coming up this weekend in Los Angeles where I’ll be judging. Hopefully I can share some of those experiences here too.

Watch the Video of my experiences at the 17th University Wushu Games

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