In late May, there was a three-day grand festival in San Jose, California, with more than 3,500 martial arts masters and enthusiasts from the United States, Canada, China, and several European countries. Famous movie actors Daniel Wu, Robin Leong, and Chiu Chi Ling were also present to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine (the KFTC Magazine) and 30 years of the International Wushu Sanshou Dao Association (IWSD). The festival consisted of “Grandmasters Live”, competitions, “Kung Fu Tai Chi Day”, festival awards banquet, and lectures.
Founded in 1992, the KFTC Magazine is the world’s largest English martial arts magazine. Gigi Oh was the publisher until 2015 when the Chief Editor Gene Ching took the helm of managing the magazine. During the celebration weekend, Gigi recalled that there was little knowledge of Chinese martial arts when the magazine was first issued and the market was limited. However, she and her husband Thomas Oh, also the founder, had the full faith that Chinese martial art would grow its popularity in time. They distributed the magazine mostly in the United States and Canada, and some European countries. In 2011, it added a digital version, people can read on their computers and tablets; therefore, the overseas market has expanded. In recent years, the KFTC Magazine also invests in the production of videos on their YouTube channel and enjoys a success.
In my opinion, the KFTC Magazine has several winning features. First, its cover photo is vivid and depicts not just the characteristics of the featured martial art master, but also the uniqueness of his or her martial art style. Secondly, the KFTC Magazine generously uses much of its space to describe the art in detail along with plenty of great photos to illustrate the movements. Thirdly, it has quality writing and unbiased reporting. Lastly, it works hard to uncover rare and potentially lost martial art styles, weapons, and forms. They are not just promoting the art but also preserving it. Chinese martial arts embody the Chinese culture and philosophy. In fact, many western practitioners learn Chinese culture and philosophy from reading the magazine.
The International Wushu Sanshou Dao Association (IWSD) is a non-profit organization established in Canada in 1987 with the coalition support of martial art enthusiasts from Canada, the United States, China, and the Soviet Union. It is also one of the most influential non-government martial arts organizations in the world. The IWSD has a well-established Duan Wei (or ranking) system to evaluate the skill levels and credentials of martial artists. IWSD founder, former Chairman, Grandmaster Liang Shouyu stated that the goal of IWSD is to promote Chinese martial arts through study and exchange knowledge among diverse martial styles. According to the current IWSD Chairman Master Peng Wen, the organization has more than one hundred branches with 60,000 members around the world.
The formal celebration of the two organizations started on May 19 at the historical San Jose “California Grand Theater”, which is magnificently beautiful. More than 40 martial artists including grandmasters and masters performed a spectacular Chinese martial arts show, which consisted of various styles of Tai Chi (Taiji), Shaolin Kung Fu, Nanquan, long fists, and modern martial arts. Former Shaanxi Wushu head coach Bai Wenxiang, internationally renounced Grandmaster Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, Hong Quan Grandmasters John Leong and Chiu Chi-Ling, Hualin Grandmaster Chan Pui, Eagle Claw Grandmaster Lili Lau, Wing Chun Grandmaster Benny Meng, Wushu Grandmaster
Dennis Brown, Wushu Tai Chi champion Zou Yunjian, Martial Arts Professor Wang Peikun, Internal Qigong Grandmaster Tu Jinsheng, Chen style Tai Chi twelfth generation successor Chen Bing, action movie star Robin Leong, Zhao Bao Tai Chi Master Peng Wen, a delegation of IWSD, and “Wild Aid” tournament champions all put their best effort forward and produced an electrifying show. The fully seated theater went crazy when 80-year-old Grandmaster Chan Pui crouched down to the floor in a second and then jumped up in a flash.
Aside from the publishing business, the KFTC Magazine has held an annual Kung Fu Tai Chi tournament. This year was the ninth one with 1,200 participants coming from United States, Canada, Italy, Ukraine, the Netherlands, and China. One Chinese team leader Jia Jing said that the tournament and other celebratory activities provided an important international platform for players around the world to exchange the knowledge, skills, and friendship.
To support the effort of Wild Aid to protect endangered animals especially in response to the call of super star Jackie Chan, the KFTC Magazine held eight WildAid Tiger Claw Champions in the past and all the proceeds from the tournaments were donated to the tiger protection program. This year, the event had the most contestants ever and they were all elite athletes.
Additionally, the KFTC Magazine offered participants, their families, and San Jose residents a free martial arts show called “Kung Fu Tai Chi Day”. This event was held for six years and received the praise from the city of San Jose. In the previous years, “Kung Fu Tai Chi Day” was presented outdoors and this year it moved to the well-equipped McEnery Center. It was impressive to witness four hundred local Tai Chi practitioners performing Tai Chi 24 together with the lead of Master Zhou Yunjian. Afterwards, several masters and a few martial arts schools in Northern California presented various martial art styles and forms. Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming and Master Bryan Fong provided commentary on the characteristics of some martial art styles to help the audience to gain a deeper appreciation.
In the afternoon of May 21, the KFTC Magazine sponsored three free workshops to enhance people’s knowledge. Grandmaster Xiao Jiaze explained “Martial Arts and Combat Techniques”. Grandmaster Liu Suibin spoke on “Cultivate your Health in your busy life”. Master Fu Xueli lectured on “Special Acupressure and Qigong Exercise.”
The IWSD hosted a Martial Art Banquet in the evening of May 22. 360 martial art grandmasters, masters, and seasoned practitioners representing three generations gathered together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the IWSD and to renew their friendship. During the dinner, the KFTC Magazine also presented awards to outstanding martial artists for their valuable contribution to preserve and promote the art.
For highlights of Grandmasters Live and tournaments, you can watch below video clips produced by Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine:
- 2017 GM Live: Highlights
- TCEC 2017: Kung Fu Grand Champion Battle Men 40+ Advanced
- TCEC 2017: Wushu Grand Champion Battle Women 11-13 Advanced
- KFTC Day 2017: WILDAid Champion, Shengwei Cheng
(Edited by Doc Luecke.)
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