|News & Events
Gold medals for
everyone: Lee Kam Wing makes use of China's kung fu tourism.
"In July 2002, shifu Li Jin Rong *
entered a compition in
Qingdao and had won two gold medals for 'Stick Method' and for "Seven
Star Mantis Style'."
From The Mantis Cave: http://www.geocities.com/mantiscave/leekam.htm
Lee Kam Wing
first read this story in a leading British martial arts magazine. Lee
Kam Wing, the Hong Kong based Mantis teacher, confirmed his win in an
exclusive interview submitted by his student Derek Frearson. It
sounded great. Our traditional Qixing Tang Lang forms being shown in
a competition run by Modern Wushu dominated Mainland China - and
winning! And now the story was cropping up in magazines and on
websites for the public to hear.
same week the owner of our training hall, also a Wushu coach, had
approached several of my students looking for someone to represent
his gym at a competition in Shandong. We declined, but he tried to
make his case for us to go:
on. If you go, you can win a Gold Medal easily!"
are so many competitions up there. It's for a tourist festival that
week. Mainland Chinese and 'foreigners' are always split because
of the difference in skill level. If you enter, usually you are the
only person in your category."
gave me a shock. The next day I spoke with some friends here in
Shanghai and found that it was true. Even in Qingdao city alone there
was as many as one competition every month. Certificates and medals
were freely given out even for routine demonstrations and
exhibitions. A lot of these were organised and judged by the Modern
Wushu Federation or the local tourist industry heads. It seemed odd
that a traditional master like Lee Kam Wing would go out in public
saying he'd 'won' in a 'kung fu competition' if this was true. But,
these were second-hand stories so I didn't think about it seriously.
much later I was visited by an ex-student of Lee Kam Wing who now
studies in Qing Dao - Angelo D'aria from Italy. Angelo mentioned in
passing that he was in Qingdao with Lee Kam Wing for the 2002
competition himself. I took the opportunity to get the real story. It
was all true. It was an under-attended event held for tourism
purposes. Lee Kam Wing was a sole competitor
in his field and was given a 'Gold Medal' basically for showing up.
And now he was dropping it into public interviews and information
knowing full well how it sounds out of context!
modern competitions is already of little use for the traditional
practitioner. Going to little known events in Shandong then using
your default 'Gold Medal' for marketing or prestige is really far
away from the meaning of being a Master. It is closer to the meaning
of being a salesman. It is embarrassing for
all our Qixing family. I've also since found out that other 'Masters'
even made non-competition performances in China, then told people
that they 'won' their certificates and were 'the first foreigner' to
do so in China.
hard and don't get distracted by shiny medals and stories.
Shanghai - March 27, 2005