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A Weekend of Wonders! Disney’s Martial Arts Festival 2007

October 31, 2007

Pete Starr author photo
All I can say is that the entire weekend was absolutely incredible! As most of you know, I’m no fan of “Sport Karate” or “Xtreme Martial Arts” but the traditional martial arts competition and demonstrations were certainly world-class! And being able to spend time with Allegra and Terri really made the whole event that much more special!

The festival brought in nearly 2,000 competitors from all over the nation (in fact, many competitors came from various foreign countries) in varied martial disciplines – from jujutsu to karate, kung-fu, savate, arnis, and many others. The level of competition was extremely high – after all, the Tiger Claw Elite competitors are considered “the best of the best.”

The whole weekend was a blur, but some of the top athletes stand out in my mind. Ms. Jessica Brew, a karate stylist, performed a flawless kata; one of the best I’ve seen in 30 years. Really. Watching her execute her set took my breath away. Now THAT’S karate! I told her that she’s GOT to continue training because she, and others like her, must carry on the tradition of the martial arts after the old-timers (like me) are gone.

Another young Vietnamese woman was competing in the Kung-Fu Quest portion of the tournament. She was called to perform in the Broadsword category and her hands were shaking. She told me that she wanted to withdraw from the event because she was just too nervous. I told her to keep her eyes on me when she entered the ring and told her my secret for calming down and performing well in competitive events.

As she entered the ring she looked at me and I gave her the signal – and she did a truly magnificent form – took first place with it!!! I got lots of hugs after that- 🙂

Another young woman performed in several kung-fu categories, executing very powerful Choy-Li Fut sets. From Brazil, she teaches with her husband. I told her that we need more traditional teachers and that she must keep up her training!

It was an incredible experience – and I enjoyed seeing old friends (like Andy Ching, Tat-Mau Wong, and Tony Brown) and making many new ones. And several well-respected instructors are very interested in writing books! We talked a lot about that process and I’ll be behind the scenes, helping them get their manuscripts put together…

Just after the tournament I received word that my daughter was in the hospital – extremely high fever, severe headache – but she’s feeling much better now. Even so, I’ve got to run up to the hospital this morning to see if they’re going to release her (seems she ends up getting sick every time I leave town)…so I’ll have to write more later!

Postscript: We’ve just received word that Pete’s daughter is recovered and resting up.

A martial arts practitioner for nearly 50 years, Pete Starr is a black belt in Kyokushin karate, trained in traditional shao-lin, xingyiquan, and baguazhang, and the author of The Making of a Butterfly. He lives and teaches in Omaha, NE. His upcoming book Martial Mechanics comes out in the Spring of 2008.

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