by Dr Dr Khoo Cheng Choo
The 10th Xinxiu Wushu & Taichi Competition was held at the Bedok Stadium in beautiful, hot and sultry Singapore from 31 July – 4 August 2015.
A smaller competition than the 10th Zhengzhou China International Shaolin Wushu Festival, it was nevertheless well attended by many local, regional and international Wushu athletes, enthusiasts, supporters and spectators who cheered boisterously throughout the events.
Running over a period of approximately 5 days, the Competition was hectic and exciting. The competition format was basically the same as other Wushu & Tai Chi competitions – a warm-up practice on the carpeted arenas on the eve of the Grand Opening and then the start of competition. From the initial practice session, it was apparent that the competitors were truly committed to doing their best and the competition standard was high.
It was a wonderful learning experience as we watched different and beautiful Tai Chi styles (Yang, Chen, Sun styles) performed by competitors. All competitors ranging from very young children to seniors over 60 years old impressed me by their sheer commitment to Wushu. I was enthralled watching really young Wushu competitors under 10 years old, executing their acrobatic “Long Stick” routines with strong, whip-cracking smacks on the floor accompanied by their almost ear-splitting yells. Sword, cudgel and other weapon routines were mesmerising. It was exciting indeed,
During the competition, the high tension was amplified by the heat and humidity as we queued up patiently outside the stadium entrance for our turn on the main competition arenas. Others seemed anxious and a trifle impatient. Whilst waiting in their full and colourful Tai Chi and Wushu “regalia”, they stretched and executed their intricate Wushu and Tai Chi routines in shaded nooks and corners outside the stadium. Then we were called into the Central Competition Hall.
Inside, the tension mounted as we were marshalled to the side of the arenas that we had been allocated for our different categories. Strangely, as we focused on holding up our individual assigned numbers for the panels of Judges before stepping onto the gigantic carpeted arena and saluting them before launching into our individual routines, I felt my tension and anxiety dissipating. And then, when I started my routine, I was oblivious to the crowd. I sensed that it was the same with my fellow competitors as at the end they all looked relieved. I believe that we had shared a great experience.
Our team was small compared to the bigger Chinese Contingent but we fared quite well winning two Silvers and three Bronzes for Yang Tai Chi Short Form, Sword and Fan.
Thus joining a Wushu & Tai Chi competition is not only about winning but, more importantly, it is about participating in the great ancient art of Wushu and learning from watching and interacting with other practitioners. It is also about helping to establish and promote the popularity and longevity of Wushu & Tai Chi in the new millennium and for our future generations.