Evergreen Kung Fu team's Chinese-style wins respect at Japanese-style tournament

Evergreen's Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu Team made a hard-hitting appearance at the Shorinryu Open Karate Championships Tournament Saturday April 6th in Tacoma, Washington. Seven Team Evergreen competitors arrived unannounced to compete in traditional Japanese Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring). Each member of the team brought a trophy home to Olympia.

In the men's blackbelt forms division, team captain Owen O'Keefe demonstrated solid Shaolin power and accuracy taking fourth with his form Kung Lek. Sam Haskin, founding team member, took second with a dazzling exhibition of Eagle Claw Lo Han. In the women's blackbelt forms division, the Northwest's #1 ranked Jessie Smith took second place displaying her agility in the traditional Kung Fu form Mui Fa. Several Japanese style judges commented that they had not seen such powerful Kung Fu in a long time.

Smith later fought her way to first place in the women's blackbelt point sparring division. In the Grand Champion point sparring competition Smith finished second. In men's blackbelt point sparring, Haskin, with his lightning fast high kicks, and O'Keefe, with his power punching, made sure their opponents would not forget the name Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw anytime soon. In the disorganized division the two World Championship competitors got their hits in but did not get their points due to inconsistent judging.

Team Evergreen's junior team also had a strong showing for the day. In the women's novice forms division, Robyn Holmes took first place, beating all her opponents by a wide margin. After the women's division, Mark Germano and Eric Firth took first and third, respectively, in men's novice forms.

In Kumite (sparring) the Evergreen underbelts did well in a fighting system that was unfamiliar to them. Holmes took first in the women's novice sparring division by overpowering all of her opponents. Germano took first place in the novice lightweight division with Eric Firth coming in a close second. In men's intermediate lightweight sparring Benjamin Green fought hard and took fourth.

Despite unfamiliar rules and Japanese-style judges Team Evergreen's spirit and success were recognized and respected by their opponents all day. By the end of the competition the seven competitors took home eleven trophies along with numerous complements on their martial arts prowess from other competitors.

As always the Evergreen Kung Fu team thanks Grandmaster Fu Leung and Sifu Dana G. Daniels. For more information about upcoming tournaments and participating in the Evergreen Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu Club and Competition team contact Owen O'Keefe at 357-9137. Also check out www.bakshaolineagleclaw.com.