|Fourth Generation of Team Evergreen Kung Fu Explodes on to the 2003 Circuit|
On Saturday, April 5 the members of The Evergreen State College’s Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu team drove into Des Moines, Washington with a common goal: domination.
Since 1996 the goal and the results have been the same. The only thing that’s changed is the faces. At the War at the Beach open martial arts tournament in Des Moines Team Evergreen kung fu exploded onto the scene in its fourth incarnation in seven years.
This generation of competitors, Team IV, combined for ten trophies with five team members. Also in attendance --to coach and compete-- were national team members Sam Haskin and Owen O’Keefe, both Evergreen alumni and former captains of past generations of Team Evergreen. National women’s team captain Jessie Smith arrived to coach a member of her Olympia based Eagle Claw Women’s Fighting team.
Sifu Dana G. Daniels, National Coach of Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw International, was also there to guide his young competitive team through their divisions on their way to dominating their opponents.
Team captain Kevin Barrett and senior member Mark Germano led the way for Team Evergreen. Both competitors made their first appearance at the advanced level and were eager for the challenge. In the advanced forms division Germano and Barrett took second and third, respectively, being edged by Jeremiah Damewood, a disciplined competitor from Sensei Dave Smith’s Spirit Force team.
In the advanced sparring division Barrett and Germano brought it all to the table. In his first fight, Barrett made short work of a hard-fighting, but less-skilled opponent. Hardly a point was scored against Barrett, who sent his opponent to the floor several times. Next up, Germano managed to dominate an older and more experienced competitor in his best fight to date.
Barrett and Germano then met in the championship round. At the beginning of the fight they traded points. The crowd was shocked to see these two fighters hitting each other harder than they had their first opponents. Towards the end of the fight Germano managed to get the advantage, taking first place with Barrett a close second.
In the beginner forms division Team Evergreen made a clean sweep. Devon Waldron, Andy Cyders and Greg Thomas took first, second and third, respectively. Waldron then competed in the underbelt Grand Champion division and came in just behind the more experienced Damewood.
In the intermediate sparring division Waldron dominated his ring but came in third place after a scoring mix up. This is the second time Waldron has been denied a championship fight due to scoring mistakes.
In just their second tournament appearance Thomas and Cyders fought through numerous opponents on their way to the championship fight. Just as they did in their first tournament the two did battle with ‘Tricky’ Thomas coming in first and Cyders second.
In the women’s beginner sparring division Laura Garber, with the help of Coach Jessie Smith, fought her way to first place in her first tournament appearance.
The final division of the day was also the most entertaining. After coaching their younger teammates all day it was time for Haskin and O’Keefe to put theory into practice.
Haskin faced off against a top notch fighter from the Imani Dragons fighting team. Haskin displayed his custumary power by delivering a series of hard hits that repeatedly stunned his opponent. Haskin lost on points, but not before delivering a roundhouse kick that sent his opponent to the ground and nearly out of the division.
O’Keefe then took to the ring. With disciplined patience he beat a young, ambitious fighter that was out to prove something. Then O’Keefe lined up against Haskin’s opponent, who was looking for revenge. O’Keefe fought with more speed and agility than has ever been seen from him before. During the final seconds of the fight, O’Keefe shocked his opponent, and the audience, with a roundhouse kick to his opponents head that won him first place.
O’Keefe then squared off for the grand championship match. The first few exchanges were close, and during the whole of regulation time the score remained tied. Then, in the sudden death round, O’Keefe nailed his opponent with such a powerful cross arm punch that the fight was stopped, and O’Keefe disqualified. Although he did not receive the grand champion trophy he certainly proved yet again that he can match up equally with some of the best point fighters in the world.
Haskin and O’Keefe have their own Kung Fu schools in Seattle and Olympia, respectively.
Like the national championship teams of the past, Team Evergreen IV has spent the past six months training in the Longhouse on Evergreen’s campus five days a week to prepare for competition. The team has also received weekend training from National Coach Daniels in recent months. Every Saturday Sifu Daniels has journeyed to Olympia to lead the new team in fighting seminars, which has helped shape them into the well-rounded fighters they are. Team Evergreen would like to thank Grandmaster Leung Fu and Sifu Dana G. Daniels for their countless hours of instruction and support. For more information on Team Evergreen or the Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw National team contact Kevin Barrett at (360) 357-9137 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out team Evergreen on the web at www.bakshaolineagleclaw.