Team Evergreen Kung Fu starts season in winning style

Team Evergreen Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu kicked off their season in top form on Saturday September 15th at the Emerald International Open Martial Arts Championship in Tacoma. The team, led by new captain Owen O'Keefe, claimed over twenty top three finishes with only eight competitors. The tournament was sanctioned by the World League of Martial Arts and hosted by Master Chuang Lieu.
Team captain Owen O'Keefe started the day by taking second place in the highly competitive black belt traditional soft style forms division. After just barely missing a third place finish in the open forms division O'Keefe moved on to the continuous sparring rings. In this fast moving, crowd pleasing division O'Keefe took second place, losing only to founding Team Evergreen member and national team member Sam Haskin. O'Keefe looked his sharpest in the black belt point sparring rings where his power and quick attacks earned him first place in his first competition as the new Team Evergreen captain.

Sam Haskin, a founding member and original captain of Team Evergreen, showed his veteran poise taking third in both the black belt traditional soft style forms and the open forms divisions. Haskin then dominated the continuous sparring ring until he met O'Keefe in the championship. Haskin defeated the new Team Evergreen captain by a slim margin to take first place in a hard-hitting division. Haskin's next division was the black belt point sparring. Again the hits were landing quick and hard. Haskin finished third in the division.

Evergreen alumni and national team member Jessie Smith dominated every division she contended. Smith was flawless in the black belt traditional soft style forms division earning the highest marks of the day and taking first place over O'Keefe and Haskin. In the open forms division Smith did more of the same, earning another first place finish. The former Team Evergreen women's captain then moved on to the continuous sparring division where she earned yet another first place finish. Smith, who teaches aerobic kickboxing and self-defense seminars in the Olympia area, then fought through the black belt point sparring division. After one competitor forfeited midway through her match, Smith found herself in a familiar position: the championship round. She sparred fellow national team member Katherine McLain winning her fourth and final first place finish of the day.

National team member and Evergreen alumni Katherine McLain, visiting from Colorado, took third in the black belt traditional soft style forms division completing the Eagle Claw Kung Fu sweep of the division. Behind Smith, McLain also finished second place in both the continuous and black belt point sparring divisions. For third place, previous Texas team member Steve Burris tied with Haskin in the Open forms division.

In the intermediate competition Kevin Barrett took second place in the traditional soft style forms division. Barrett then took third in the intermediate open forms division. In the point sparring division Barrett once again took third place.

After being bumped up from the beginner division, newcomer Animito Pollina in his first martial arts tournament took first place in the intermediate traditional soft style forms division over Barrett. In the beginner open forms division Pollina took second place. Then, in his first point sparring competition, the well-trained Pollina dominated the beginner division and took first place.
During the Emerald International tournament intermission Master Chuang Lieu took time to award National Eagle Claw Coach Sifu Dana G. Daniels, along with masters from all over the world, certificates of recognition and appreciation from the World League of Martial Arts for their efforts in promoting the betterment of the martial arts.

The Evergreen Kung Fu team would like to thank Grandmaster Fu Leung and Sifu Dana G. Daniels for their countless hours of instruction and dedication. For more information about Team Evergreen Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu Club and Competition visit or contact Owen O'Keefe at 357-9137.