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Articles
Click title to read article:

   
  How I Broke the Guinness World Record (by Trish Chang) (1999)
   
  Trinidad: Black Belt Grading and Training Trip 2005 (by Celia Sisman) (2005)
   
  Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party 2006 – A Chinese Cracker!
   
  Sun, Sea & Wu Shu Kwan: Trinidad Black Belt Grading & Training Trip 2007
  (by Celia Sisman & Andrea Farmer) (2007)
   
  Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party 2007 – A Curry Banquet!
  (by Des Radcliffe) (2007)
   
  Wu Shu Kwan Exponents Shine in My Beautiful Trinidad (by Richard Ross) (2008)
   
   Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party 2008 – A Time to Enjoy & Meet Old Friends
  (Text by Warren & Louise Blyth – Photographs by Des Radcliffe) (2008)
   
  Wu Shu Kwan’s Memorable Chinese Christmas Dinner Party 2009
  (Text by Jackie Strutt – Photographs by Des Radcliffe) (2009)
   
  Christmas "Greekings" 2010
  (Text by Andre Hazel – Photographs by Melissa Creighton) (2010)
   
  Back to Main News & Events Index
   
 
   
   
 

How I Broke the Guinness World Record

 


by Trish Chang
7th Degree Black Belt

               
 


Watch Trish Chang in action breaking the Guinness World Record.
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Trish chopping 6 pieces of wood.

 

It’s not often that a woman breaks a martial art world record held by a man, but that’s what I did, thanks to my Wu Shu Kwan Chinese Kickboxing training.


   The world record for chopping wooden blocks stood at 165 pieces in 2 minutes. In order to break the record I would have to train to break 1 piece of wood in less than half a second. I was given six weeks to prepare, so I had to start immediately.


   Wu Shu Kwan’s regular classes had given me the complete approach I needed for overall development of my strength, speed, stamina and technique. In addition I had to condition my hand to withstand 2 minutes of continual pounding against wooden blocks.


   When I wasn’t training in Wu Shu Kwan classes I would spend my free time working on my chopping technique, and this would involve, amongst other things, chopping a sand bag 400 to 500 times everyday.

 

   My heavy training schedule not only got me into great shape, but my family too. As I am the only cook in the house they had no choice but to eat what I ate and when I ate. Their support and understanding played a significant part in my preparation.

 

   On the day of the world record breaking attempt, I had a great team of more than 40 Wu Shu Kwan Black Belts to help clear and replace the broken wooden blocks, and to cheer me on when the going was tough. As my stamina and strength were utilised to the limit, I had to call on my inner supplies to see me through the final critical and painful phase to finish the job.

 

   The hard training had paid off – I broke the record by chopping 185 wooden blocks in 2 minutes.

 

   The Guinness World Record book may have my name listed as the world record holder for chopping the most wooden blocks in 2 minutes, but in reality it was very much a team effort involving the support of my family and fellow Wu Shu Kwan Black Belt holders. •

 


Ian Wright, the famous footballer and host of London Weekend Television’s Guinness World Records programme, showing the viewers how Trish Chang (pictured below) is going to chop the wooden blocks.


Trish being introduced to the viewers.


The Wu Shu Kwan team members who helped Trish.


Guinness World Records Certificate awarded to Trish Chang.

   
             
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Trinidad
Black Belt Grading and Training Trip 2005


by Celia Sisman
5th Degree Black Belt

(Additional photographs by Andy Hucklesby and Catherine How)

                 
   


Maracas Bay.

What more could you ask for – sun, sea and Wu Shu Kwan?  On 16th April 2005 a group of seven, Grand Master Chang, Andy Hucklesby, Tony Rocastle, Mark Lewer, Catherine How, Claire Milner and myself arrived in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad & Tobago to be greeted by many senior members of the Trinidad branch of Wu Shu Kwan, which started in the early 1970’s. From that meeting at the airport onwards their warmth and hospitality amazed us all.

 

   After a meal we were separated into two groups, the girls and the boys, and each group had their own house, conveniently supplied with a local mobile phone. Grand Master had the very good fortune to be staying with the girls.  Much to the amusement of the girls, the boys were placed in a pink house! The colour of the house, that is; not anything else fortunately.

 

   The following week was spent hard at work preparing the students for their Black Belt grading and doing qualifying tests with the seniors.  However, this was no chore as we were so impressed with what they already knew and achieved; their dedication to training and their thirst for more knowledge were commendable.  We trained at three of their classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. When you’re training so hard food becomes very important, but you must remember not to eat roti (a type of doughy bread with curry inside) and in particular a “buss-up-shut” (named because it resembles a bust-up shirt) for several hours before training, as it stayed in your stomach for some time!  Claire’s salads were very popular in the girls’ house.

 

   On the Friday we were taken to the beach at Maracas Bay, which gave us the chance to relax and unwind before the grading. It was here that we first tasted the delightful “bake and shark ”. By the way, not many members know that Andy is an accomplished painter, and at the seaside we also discovered how fast he could finish a painting.

 

   Saturday was the day of the grading and we were delighted with the Wu Shu Kwan banner they had organised with all of our names on it. James Legall sat for his 3rd Degree, Bernard Quesnel and Joey Williams for their 2nd Degree and five students graded for their 1st Degree Black Belt. All the candidates had prepared themselves extremely well and they all did very well as expected of them. They owe a lot, if not entirely, to the dedication of Ronald Noel, who successfully leads the Wu Shu Kwan branch in Trinidad and Tobago for many, many years.  Following the grading some members of the party went “liming” (hanging out with friends).  We were taken to a local club and had one of the best evenings “wining” to “chutney music” (Indian music with calypso and soca rhythms) until the early hours of the morning.

 

 


The London team (back row standing) and the senior Trinidad instructors.


Group photograph from the Trinidad Black Belt grading with the specially made banner.


Celia (standing) & Claire enjoying a day off training.


Class training conducted by Grand Master C. K. Chang.


Chief Instructors Ronald Noel (Trinidad) (right) & Richard Blackman (Barbados) (second from right) joining in the training.

 

   

  The following day we were treated to some more Trinidadian hospitality, this time in the form of a barbecue at the vast estate of Bernard’s parents. Bernard’s father Vincent is also a Wu Shu Kwan Black Belt. This gave us all the chance to unwind and take in some of the amazing Trinidadian countryside.

 

   On our return there were lots of stories to tell and in particular I wanted to talk of Tony and the Frosties, but I’ve run out of space so you’ll have to ask a member of the team about that!  We now have some very special friends in Trinidad and I can’t wait for our next visit. •

                 
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Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party 2006
– A Chinese Cracker!

                 
   


The good-looking one, as you have guessed, is Grand Master Chang (left). The better-looking ones, using his own expression, are Trish (right), Jenny (their daughter) & Huan Huan (Lily).

No festive season would be complete without a Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party, this year it was a five-course Chinese Christmas meal in Wembley, North London on Saturday, 16th December 2006. Following on from their success in South London last year John de Rebello, Buta Gill aided by their families did a fantastic job organising a great night for us; with Celia Sisman and her daughter Sarah doing a great job organising the tickets.

 

   The meal started with Grand Master Chang welcoming everyone to the party and wishing us all a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

 

   Attendance was very good and over-subscribed with supportive members, their families and friends.

 

   The food procession to the tables seemed endless reminiscing a banquet, and the quality was excellent satisfying even the most demanding taste and trained appetites!

 

   As always the organisers included a great raffle with prizes like Thornton’s chocolates, perfume, bottles of wine, liqueurs, ipods, DVD players, Gucci wallets…. Astonishingly and amusingly a few people won more than one prize.

 

   There was even a surprise special birthday cake for Pedro Martins and Karen Scott – no relation – much to everyone’s delight.

Music from “The Soul Kitchen” and dancing followed into the early hours and top performances from Gustave Salako, Farshid Sadr-Hashemi and Peter Lewis… these  guys know how to party!

 

   This year’s DJ The Soul Kitchen was also unable to resist playing 70’s classic “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas to kick off the dancing. Fortunately this favourite piece of music was played much earlier in the night than previous parties, so no alcohol-induced pulled muscles this year!

 

   The dance floor started to fill with the hard-core regulars and some very welcome new faces dancing late into the night.

 

Gustave, Peter (L) and many more also surprised everyone with their extremely inviting and exhilarating dancing repertoire.

 

   Everyone had a great night with plenty of food, drink and dancing; making new friends, catching up with lots of old friends and former training mates in the same class. I’m sure we’d all like to thank Grand Master Chang, Trish, Celia Sisman, John de Rebello, Buta Gill and their families for all their hard work behind the scenes organising a great party, and also to Ni Hao Restaurant and their staff for a first-rate meal and letting us dance late into the night.

 

   Wishing everyone a happy and fighting-fit New Year. •


 

[Additional information and photographs
by John de Rebello, Andy Hucklesby, Arash Jamali
& Lily Wang Huan (Huan)]

Davina (left) & Huan Huan (Lily).


(From left) Celia, Sarah (Celia’s daughter), Jason with partner, & Pasquale.


Peter (right) working just as hard on the dance floor as he does in the class. Andrea (front), Roy (left), Victoria (back), Miranda, … also enjoying themselves.


Roy (right) staying well back to avoid Gustave’s (front) well-developed left hand


Andrea (centre) with her student & Catherine (right).

Jeff (left), Gary (centre) & Ricki (3rd right) with their family and students.

                 
   
(From left) Aldo, Miranda, Pedro with family and friends.
 
Vietnamese members & their raffle prizes.
                 
   
(From left) Johan, Halyna, Pasquale & Gary.
                 
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Sun, Sea and Wu Shu Kwan:
Trinidad Black Belt Grading & Training Trip 2007

         
by
     
     
Celia Sisman
5th Degree Black Belt
 
Andrea Farmer
5th Degree Black Belt
 
                 
   

The Team
On Saturday 21st July 2007, Grand Master C. K. Chang, Trish Chang, Jenny Chang, Peter Lewis, Celia Sisman and Andrea Farmer travelled to Trinidad via Tobago to help prepare the Trinidadian candidates to sit for their 1st Degree Black Belt and higher degrees.

In-Flight Entertainment
During the flight, there was an air steward, a very nice young man with a delicate nature, taking care of our every need. When it came to the time when they handed out snacks, Celia was feeling peckish and said, “Have you got any nuts?” – although meant as an innocent question, it really sounded like an inquisition; and he did gracefully oblige. A little later he came back with some drinks; Trish, seeing it as a necessary protocol, relayed to him, “By the way, Celia enjoyed your nuts!” He seemed grateful, if somewhat bashful, but we never saw him again after that!

Arrival
We arrived in Trinidad late in the evening after a long and tiring journey. At the airport we were delighted to be met by Ronald Noel (the Chief Instructor of Trinidad and Tobago), James Legall Jr (Ronald’s deputy) and Robin Singh (one of the instructors and higher degree candidates).

Accommodation
As always, Ronald, James and his team had paid a lot of attention to detail; not only had they arranged for our transport and accommodation – a comfortable and spacious house with air conditioning, television, and cooking and laundry facilities – but also stocked our fridge with food and drink, and supplied us with a mobile phone.

No Time to Lose
Preparation began early the next morning, which was a Sunday, with teaching and qualifying tests for those preparing for their higher degrees – there was so much to be done before the grading in a week’s time.

Surprise Visitors
What we didn’t realise until we went to the first training session on Monday evening was that Richard Ross, from London, was already in Trinidad and had been giving the students some excellent coaching. Later in the week, John Harvey Jr, Wu Shu Kwan’s U.S.A. instructor, also joined us. Both Richard and John are Trinidadians.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Thrive on Food
Food is very important to everybody especially to the Trinidadians – who treated us to a variety of gastronomic delights throughout our stay. Doubles – a sort of sandwich made with two flat fried breads (bara), filled with curried chick peas (channa) and topped with a variety of spicy chutneys – were kindly supplied by Robin Singh to all of us for breakfast.

We Fear No Beer
Two of our favourite beverages during the trip were Carib and Stag beer – Peter Lewis could vouch for this, but you’d have to catch him before he’d downed a few!

How Many People Does It Take to Make a Salad?
Because of a previous commitment, Peter Lewis had to fly back to London earlier than the other members of the team, so on his last evening in Trinidad, James Legall Jr (who has such a wonderful way of talking about food, you can almost taste and smell it from his descriptions) cooked a splendid Trinidadian pelau. This was eaten along with a salad prepared by Peter Lewis (with the assistance of John, Bernard and Andrea) – he had been promising us all week that he was going to cook for us on his last night, but was conveniently held up by a flat tyre during a trip out with John that day, so he told us!

Sarita’s Chicken Curry
Towards the end of our stay, Celia and Andrea took advantage of Trish’s cookery lesson with Sarita, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the results – Trinidadian curry chicken. Also, thanks to Andrea, Trish and Celia now know that no matter how large a banana gets, it still doesn’t make it a plantain (pronounced plantin).

Grading Day
Sunday 29th July 2007 was the Wu Shu Kwan Black Belt and higher degree grading day, which was very successfully organised by Ronald Noel and his team. You can view the grading results and pictures of the day by clicking here. However, worth a particular mention is that Sarita is Trinidad’s first female Black Belt, so very many congratulations to her! We hope, particularly as this article has been written by the female members of the team, that she will be the first of many women to achieve Black Belt in Trinidad.

Super Girl
Furthermore, Sarita not only is a talented Wu Shu Kwan student, she also has a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and a DDS (Doctor in Dental Surgery) in Dentistry, and she hopes to attain her MPhil in Bioanalytical Chemistry in 2008. Wow, what a girl!

Jenny’s Fun and Games
Thanks to Jenny Chang for being such good fun and keeping us all amused with her drawing competitions and photographs. She taught Celia that no matter how heavy it rained in Trinidad you could still enjoy yourself, and pestered (oops) James that you could always improve your score at Bop-It (a game) as long as you keep practising! However, her early morning wake-up call technique does need a little improvement: 7am, cold water and a sleepy Celia do not go well together!

Life’s a Beach
Tuesday, two days after the Black Belt grading and with all the hard work over, was a time to relax, where better than on the beach at Maracas Bay. Of course, a trip to the beach would not be complete without a visit to the food stalls to enjoy bake & shark (a fried pitta-type bread filled with shark nuggets) – don’t let the name put you off; it really is an absolutely must-try Trinidadian dish. A famous American food writer, based in New York, has voted it as one of his world top ten dishes.
   
Various toppings and dressings could go with the dish; one of Grand Master Chang’s favourite was the shadow beni sauce – shadow beni (which tastes rather like coriander) is a pungent herb also known as chadon beni, bandania or culantro.
   This is quite a filling dish and we were advised by the locals that one is more than enough; however, in true Wu Shu Kwan style, Trish saw this as a challenge and managed two with gusto!

 



Las Cuevas Beach, Trinidad. The scenery is stunning and the water invitingly warm.

 


Training about to start in the class in Aranguez conducted by Grand Master C. K. Chang. All the classes were fully attended.

 


Training in progress in the class in Barataria. Ronald Noel (first row right), the chief instructor of Trinidad (and Tobago), always considers it to be an honour to train under Grand Master C. K. Chang.

 


James Legall Jr, a senior instructor in Trinidad, supervising the training of his two daughters, Jameisia (left) and Lesaidee.

 


(From left) Andrea, Trish, Sarita and Celia making Trinidadian curry chicken.

 


Banana (top) and plantain. Size alone does not determine which is which. If in doubt, ask a Trinidadian.

 


A heavy downpour of rain did not stop Jenny (left) and Celia from having fun.

 


Store Bay Beach, Tobago. A beautiful and relaxing holiday resort.

   

Liming in Tobago
Liming is the Trinidadian word for chilling, enjoying and having a whale of a time. While most of the team had to hurry back to London, Grand Master C. K. Chang, Trish, Jenny and Andrea decided to spend a couple of days chilling on the beach in Tobago. As you can guess by now, food always played a big part of the trip, with Trish and Andrea searching out different places to eat every day. Highly recommended are the curry crab & dumplins from Ms Esmie’s cabin on the beach at Store Bay and the pancake breakfast at Iguana’s.
   The last day in Tobago started with an early morning swim at Store Bay. Trish and Jenny enjoyed themselves watching the pretty blue fish in the water, and Andrea most of the time tried very hard to avoid the sharks (her persistent admirers) on the beach.
   Before finally boarding the plane for home, Trish managed to get the chef at the local café in Tobago to give her the recipe for cassava pone – a lovely dessert made from a staple food of the Amerindians who were the original inhabitants of the Caribbean. Cassava is also known as tapioca.

 

And There’s More …
There are, of course, just so many fun stories to tell about the trip and nowhere near enough space to write about them. However, you really should ask Celia or any of the team members to tell you about the jet-lagged English woman, Peter and the monkey, and Bernard and the wood.

A Big Thank You
Finally, we would all like to take this opportunity to thank Ronald Noel, James Legall Jr, Bernard Quesnel, Robin Singh, Sarita and everyone else in Trinidad who worked so hard to make our stay really comfortable and enjoyable. As with our previous trip in 2005, we were all impressed by the students’ and instructors’ continued dedication to and thirst for more Wu Shu Kwan knowledge. We really did have a wonderful time and, as always, it was a very great pleasure and privilege to work with them all.

                 
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Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party 2007 – A Curry Banquet!

                 
       
by
Des Radcliffe

3rd Degree Black Belt
 
     
         

Harmoniously Mixed
I’ve been with Wu Shu Kwan for many years and found that it is a very harmonious and happy group despite its size and racial and ethnic diversity. The diversity has enriched the members’ life and experience. Christmas was celebrated by our Christian and enjoyed as a festival by non-Christian members.

 

Christmas Party Day
A few hours earlier, like the good boy scout that I am, I was sure I was well prepared for my first, and after this article (if given thumbs down by fellow members) probably my last, ever Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party.

 

Meticulous
Ticket for the party – check; change of clothes in case I choose to stay at the hotel – check; and route to the hotel written down from route planner – check. However, alarm bells should have rung when, as we head off, my co-driver, Jane Anderson, asked, “Do you have an A to Z if we get lost?” To which I replied, “We’ll just head for Heathrow, it’s around that area I’m sure it will be easy to find.”

 

A Faster Car Might Have Helped
We left Dave Nicholls’ Holloway (London N7) class five minutes after he’d left, as he rushed to collect Carolyn Kotok, yet we still managed to arrive at Osterley where the party was over one hour after him and Mark Barnett from the same class! Grand Master Chang was at the reception to greet us. I don’t know who was the more relieved; ourselves – that we arrived without a search party being called out, or the Grand Master – that his roving reporter had finally arrived.

 

Nice Place
Our party was held at Osterley Park Hotel, which is a white Tudor style building, the inside of which was decked with a lavish red carpet. The tables were draped in white cloth with holly wreaths and crackers set upon them.

 

Sumptuous Food
The starters and champagne had just been served so we were fashionably late – so to speak – so that we didn’t miss any of the meal. Luckily some of the instructors had managed to fight off Gabby Paintin and Ovie Onomakpome as there were still some of the fantastic starters on our table! Just an excuse camouflaging as a joke to pull in their names – actually, the food was plentiful.

 

I Beg to Differ
The luscious ladies were elegantly attired in evening dresses and the gents dually dapper in shirt and trouser ensembles. I thought that I was one of the best-dressed gents, so I tried to flaunt at every opportunity. But apart from myself, nobody else seemed to take a blind bit of notice. Well, I blamed the very subdued lighting.

 

Relaxed and Enjoyable Atmosphere
At one end of the room the DJ decks were set up with the dance floor just in front, and in the rest of the room a series of round tables were packed with instructors, members and their families and friends. There was a relaxed but jovial ambience in the room.

 

Talented Hannah
As we dined on our lavish Indian banquet, Hannah White, supported by Dave Carver, serenaded us with an eclectic mixture of old and new songs that were warmly applauded. Both Hannah and Dave are our instructors from Tadley Wu Shu Kwan in Hampshire.

 

Prize Draw Got the Adrenalin Going
After dinner, the raffle draw proved to be extremely exciting. In Spain, matadors use a red cape to tease the bull as it’s meant to enrage it. For Wu Shu Kwan members it appears that realising they have a losing raffle ticket has a similar effect, perhaps just a tad induced by the irresistible bubbly already in them. As the raffle progressed, the Wu Shu Kwan competitive spirit of its members emerged, as the tables seemed to be split between people shouting out for the next raffle ticket drawn to be a “green” or “white”. We didn’t realise this raffle draw could have given us so much fun – and excitement. Congratulations to all the prize winners, in particular Peter Lewis winning three prizes!

 

Kung Fu Fighting
The DJ then opened his account with the highly appropriate all-time classic Kung Fu Fighting. The dance floor gradually began to fill, however, it was only when Eddie Cheah, accompanied by a loud cheer, graced the stage that the dance floor was truly set alight. With the guile of a gazelle and moves steamier than his very own ‘Turbo Sauce’, Eddie made Fred Astaire look like an amateur. Rumour has it that Bruce Forsythe wants to sign him for next year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

 

Could Have Danced All Night
It was the catalyst that the dance floor needed. No sooner had he finished than the area was packed and became a hive of activity for the remainder of the evening. With a range of dancing styles on show enhanced by copious amounts of Christmas spirit, the party had definitely started! The revelry continued well past the midnight hour and was concluded with a group demonstration of kicking technique to the tune of New York New York.

 

An Enjoyable Night and Thanks to Everybody
A thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all and heartfelt thanks go to all the organisers of the event and in particular Buta Gill, John de Rebello, Celia Sisman (for organising the catering, ticket sales, music, venue, etc.); Sarah Sisman (ticket administration); Des Radcliffe (for being the official photographer) and their families. The success of the evening was a credit to their hard work and dedication for many months.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
On behalf of Wu Shu Kwan I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year!

 

PS
We are only used to how you look in the class with your Wu Shu Kwan uniform on. But at the party without your uniform, you looked so different, especially those with a spaced out look. Only joking.
   Seriously now, if you have any other nice photographs or if you haven’t been identified in any of the photographs, please contact me or Des.

   We understand that there are many other faces missing from this collection of photographs. If you have them, we would like to include them here. Thanks.•


Note: Additional photographs by John de Rebello, Lily Wang, Amit Roychoudhury & Helen Scott, for which we thank them.

  Grand Master Chang (left) & Trish serving up some food
with the help of Buta.
   
     

Eddie (front) receiving a raffle prize from Rani
while Syreeta (left) & Karen looked on.
     

Celia (left) & Andy posed for the camera.
     

Buta (left) & John, our party organisers,
took a break to enjoy a drink together.
     

(From left) Anisa, Helen & Des, our party photographer.
   

Hannah singing at the
party.
   

Kicks like this would not be acceptable at a Wu Shu Kwan
grading. However, full marks for energy.
     

(From left) Linda, Marios, Lucia, Kim, Brian, Shun-Yin,
Henrick & Andrea.
     

Dave (left) & Hannah (seated right) with their Tadley students.
   

Lily (right) never missed
a Wu Shu Kwan party.

Nobody could see the
6-pack that Peter
was trying to show.
     
 
                 
   
Lily (left) & Catherine.
 
Celia (left) & her daughter Sarah helped with
party administration and ticketing.
                 
   
(From left) Peter, Paulo, Pedro, Fiona & Andrea.
 
Davina (right) receiving her raffle prize from Rani.
                 
   
(From left) Lily, Lucia & Linda.
 
Paul (left) & Miranda warming up the dance floor.
                 
   
A view of the dance floor.
 
Another view of the dance floor.
                 
   
Adison (3rd from right) with his students.
 
Peter (centre) with two of his Kingston students.
                 
         
                 
   
(From left) Ketan, Gary, Helen, Anisa, Obi & Lucia.
 
Roy (3rd from left) with his students, including his
younger brother Arup (right).
                 
   
(From left) Daniel, Des & Barry.
 
(From left) Lewis, Denise, Barry & Helen.
                 
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    Wu Shu Kwan Exponents Shine in My Beautiful Trinidad
                 
   
by Richard Ross
5th Degree Black Belt, BEng (Hons)
                 
   


Map of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).

 

Who Am I?
I consider Trinidad and Tobago to be my homeland even though my parents came from Grenada and I spent my early childhood there. I am Trini to the bone, Trini to the core, to use the local expression. Chaguanas is my home town in Trinidad, which is south of the capital Port of Spain.

 

Always Ready to Help
So much for myself. However, being a senior Wu Shu Kwan Black Belt holder, I have always been involved with helping to teach the members of Wu Shu Kwan in Trinidad whenever I am there.

 

My Mission
This time I was entrusted with the important mission to kick off the intensive grading preparation for Ronald Noel (4th Degree Black Belt) and James Legall Jr. (3rd Degree Black Belt) before the arrival of Grand Master C. K. Chang and Trish Chang. Ronald is the Chief Instructor of Wu Shu Kwan in Trinidad, while James the Deputy Chief Instructor. Both of them were unable to sit for their grading the year before because they were heavily involved with the preparation and training of their own Black Belt students who went for higher degree.

 

Friendly Trini
As usual, the Trini Wu Shu Kwan members received me with great respect and extreme warmth and kindness. We lost no time in getting ourselves into action. The training went exceptionally well because of the members’ dedication and enthusiasm.

 

Grand Master Depicted As a Trinidadian
Grand Master is no stranger to Trinidad. He has been teaching and conducting gradings there from the very early 1970’s. Please refer to the amusing picture story at the end of this article of how one of his action photographs at that time was being used commercially in the West Indies, including Trinidad.

 

Enduring Goodwill
Grand Master has always been very well looked after whenever he visits Trinidad. Before moving to New York, Tony Lazare, the former Wu Shu Kwan Chief Instructor of Trinidad, made Ronald and James promise to carry on this spirit of goodwill. On this trip, as you can see from the picture, Grand Master was provided with an extremely comfortable apartment.

 

Local Food and Fruits
Grand Master, Trish and their daughter Jenny loved the local food, such as roti from the shop Wings, bake and shark in Maracas Bay, and Guinness ice cream (not for Jenny though). They also enjoyed the local fresh fruits like papaya (pawpaw), mango, promerat and banana (especially the small and sweet variety).

 

Conditioned Reflex
One of the most tasty local food is doubles – a type of sandwich made with two flat fried breads, filled with curried chick peas and topped with spicy chutneys. Ronald kindly delivered them almost every morning. On returning to London, the first text message that Trish received from Ronald was: “I almost instinctively took some doubles over.”

 

 


Grand Master C. K. Chang (centre) teaching Ronald Noel (right), the WSK Chief Instructor of T&T, an advanced technique with the help of Trish Chang.

 


Grand Master Chang (2nd from right) giving James Legall Jr. (right), the Deputy WSK Chief Instructor of T&T, special tips with the help of Richard Ross (left) and Trish Chang.

 


This is the apartment where Grand Master C. K. Chang
stayed; it has a private swimming pool right in front.
Trish and Jenny enjoyed swimming in the pool everyday
without fail – sometimes 2 or 3 times a day!

 


Pictures of beautiful tropical flowers in the garden of the apartment taken by Grand Master during his stay there.

 


Fresh, delicious and healthy tropical fruits are in abundance.
Some of Grand Master’s favourites include watermelon,
mango and papaya (pawpaw).

 

   

Flying Colours
The hard training paid off; Ronald and James passed with flying colours. You can view their results by clicking here.

 

See You All Again Soon
Every member is now looking forward to another visit by Grand Master and Trish, even though they had just finished a really hard – nevertheless enjoyable – training schedule. •

                 
                 
     
   

Wu Shu Kwan has always been very popular and highly respected in the West Indies since its introduction there in the early 1970’s.
   It was big business for T-shirt manufacturers and suppliers to copy Grand Master’s action photographs (right) for their products (left), but it was done without our consent.
   Tony Lazare, the Wu Shu Kwan Chief Instructor of Trinidad at that time and a very influential person of that society, managed to put a stop to the illegal use of Grand Master’s much sought-after action photographs.
   Grand Master always finds it extremely amusing whenever he sees himself being transformed into a West Indian!

 
                 
                 
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Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Party 2008
– A Time to Enjoy & Meet Old Friends
                 
   
Warren Blyth
1st Degree Black Belt

Louise Blyth
1st Degree Black Belt


Des Radcliffe
3rd Degree Black Belt

   

(Text by
Warren & Louise Blyth – Photographs by Des Radcliffe)
                 
   

The Reception
The guests were greeted on arrival with champagne and fruit drinks, the atmosphere was electric, and it was clear everybody was in for a good time. People were arriving in groups and as individuals, collecting their drinks and chatting to anyone and everyone. For many it was a reunion of friends and acquaintances they had not seen for ages.

Confused?
Celia, one of the organisers of this party, was full of energy, and cheerfully greeted us along with many of the new arrivals. She told us that the tables all had names linked with a Christmas song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The tables had reindeer names such as Rudolf and Dasher. Many people, including us, were quietly running through the song trying to link in some of the names like Tinsel and Cupid, and discussing the subject with fellow confused guests, eventually realising they were not in the song – Celia had to add additional names in order to cover all the tables. It would be easy to guess which reindeer name was on Grand Master Chang’s table! The table seating was allocated to training groups, so everyone knew their neighbours at the table. Looking at the list of guests it is a testament to the popularity of Wu Shu Kwan that we represent members from just about every part of the world.

Renewing Acquaintance with Old Friends
Lots of people were quite excited at seeing friends and acquaintances at other tables and going to their table for a quick chat making it difficult for the organisers to start the meal. Eventually people settled down and the wonderful starters were served.

Beautiful Voice of Hannah
Hannah White and Dave Carver provided musical entertainment while the guests were getting seated during the early part of the meal. Hannah has a wide repertoire and the backing by Dave was also extremely good. We are lucky to have members with such wide and varied talents. It is unusual to have a live singer at functions these days and it made the evening special.

Glorious Food
The starters were so delicious that most guests kept eating when they knew they should have stopped. When the fabulous main course arrived, it was hard to find more room.    Everyone agreed that the food was excellent, with many people having second helpings. The desserts were delightful and ended a truly memorable meal. We would certainly have liked to find the chef and congratulate him – or is it a her?

Grand Master Chang’s Awesome Skill
Granville Stephenson gave a great speech paying tribute to the one person who made Wu Shu Kwan what it is, Grand Master C K Chang. When Granville started his speech we did wonder where he was going especially when he began recalling the events of years ago when martial arts hit the films, and Bruce Lee and other film heroes wowed the audiences with skills that defied belief. There was always the feeling that artistic licence was involved in the films. Granville suddenly posed the question, "Who were the real Kung Fu heroes who could show this amazing skill in real life?". He then took us back to Wu Shu Kwan training sessions with Grand Master Chang years ago. The class training had ended, and the keen students stayed on to watch and learn more. Grand Master Chang would regularly work on a punch bag, and his skilful and powerful punching and kicking were an awe to behold: one can feel the shattering power and see the unbelievable agility. Those watching were in awed silence and had the greatest respect. It was quite clear who the real hero was, and he had just demonstrated the skills seen on the movie screen, but more importantly he was real and he was teaching the skills to anybody who was keen to learn and train. Granville also recalled the names of people who were present in the early days of training, and participated in events that used these skills with much success.
   Grand Master Chang thanked Granville for his memories and received a standing ovation.

Indian Drummers
As a tribute to Grand Master Chang, Buta had organised Indian drums that were played by Dhol Beats. As soon as Grand Master Chang returned to his table and people were settling down, the quietness was broken by the drums hidden from view, which aroused everyone. They slowly came through the archway creating a rambunctious rhythmical harmony that got everyone’s foot tapping. It was a wonderful tribute, the drummers were skilled and gave the evening an exotic feel. They later accompanied disco to Indian music to give a terrific effect and this made sure everybody was on the dance floor.

Wonderful Prizes
Prior to the dancing the raffle was taken. The raffle prizes were excellent and there were many opportunities to win something. Every table got a prize, however, there was a period where it looked as if everything was going to one table. Some tables did very well and it was fun to see the competition between each table. It was a tribute to some of the members as they shared their winnings of chocolate with the rest of the guests. A truly generous gesture, and a tribute to the sharing spirit practised in Wu Shu Kwan.

 

Dancing Away
There are many talented dancers amongst the Wu Shu Kwan members: Ceila has taken up Salsa dancing, Buta and his family were skilled Indian dancers and we suspect that there are many Morris Dancers who obviously were too modest to own up to their dancing expertise. What was quite clear was that everybody was up for a dance. Jenny Chang along with Granville’s offspring showed what talent the youth have today and really enjoyed their evening with enthusiastic vigour.

 

Unmissable Gossip
Things seen on and off the dance floor, you had to be there to believe it. It was worth the money alone! Comments like ‘Is that ...?’ or ‘I don’t believe what I’m seeing!’ came out of the mouth of many a person. With a wink wink here and a nudge nudge there you put your left foot in then your right and eventually both, and you can’t talk anymore!

Conclusion
Till we meet again next year!

(Special thanks to the organisers: Ceila Sisman; John de Rebello & Karen; Buta, Rani & Syreeta Gill.)

 


 

 


Hannah the singing Black Belt.


Andy is just as skillful on the dance floor as he is
in the class, but he has competition from the two
beautiful girls in the picture.


Colin (third from left) was one of the many lucky prize winners.


Miranda (right) collecting her prize from Jenny.


The Indian drummers entertaining the audience.


(From left) Buta, Celia and Andy dancing to the Indian beat.


(From left) Trish, Syreeta and Celia (right) after receiving
flowers from Buta, one of the organisers.

    A selection of group photos below, see if you can find where you were.
                 
     
                 
     
                 
     
                 
     
                 
     
                 
           
                 
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Wu Shu Kwan’s
Memorable Chinese Christmas Dinner Party 2009

                 
   
Jackie Strutt
The Reporter

Jackie Strutt
3rd Degree Black Belt, MA (Hons)

Des Radcliffe
3rd Degree Black Belt
   

 

(Text by Jackie Strutt – Photographs by Des Radcliffe)

                 
   

For those of you gorgeous talented people who were unable to attend the very excellent Wu Shu Kwan’s Memorable Chinese Christmas Dinner Party 2009, and have never set foot in the Ni Hao restaurant in Wembley, Middlesex in which it was held, please allow me to set the scene. And, for the rest of you who were fortunate enough to attend this fun-filled, star-studded, get your groove on event, let me take you back in time to that fateful evening, or if you are experiencing partial loss of memory due to too much vino (not mentioning anyone or any table in particular), it will be an honour to fill in the blanks.

 

First Impressions
The front of the restaurant was very unassuming. Inside, the restaurant was long and narrow. The central isle was lined with tables on either side and a small bar could be found at the rear of the room along with a dance floor. The layout was perfect in that it was a very sociable space; everyone could see one another; it was impossible not to meet and greet as you passed familiar and unfamiliar faces on the way to placing your order for drinks; getting up for a boogie; touching up your make-up (men can be so vein). The staff were very friendly and helpful.

 

One Big Happy Family
On greeting Grand Master C. K. Chang, it reminded me of the first time I had trained under him at Swiss Cottage in London, some twenty years previous. Back then I felt humbled in the fact that the head of a worldwide martial arts organisation had taken the trouble to personally greet me in a friendly and welcoming manner. Even more impressive was that the Grand Master had taken the trouble to remember my name the following week. I was as equally impressed by the warm family-like atmosphere, as I was by the unique professional training programme that Wu Shu Kwan had to offer.

   As I made my way towards the bar in the restaurant to collect my complimentary drink, my first impressions of Wu Shu Kwan were every bit as true today as they were back then – the restaurant radiated throughout with a warm sense of kinship and community spirit as members, instructors, friends and family embraced each other in conversation and laughter.

 

The Banquet
The word banquet is defined in the dictionary as an 'elaborate formal dinner often followed by speeches' and that's the word that I think best describes our Christmas Dinner. The thing about banquets is the issue of pacing oneself, and I believe this is an area that needs some work. The hors d'oeuvre trays arrived cram-packed with succulent, delicious, artistic delights and were returned to the kitchen empty. The crispy aromatic duck met with the same fate – oh, how everyone wrapped and consumed their duck with glee. More fool us! By the time our main courses arrived, we had left little room and looked on in pain and anguish at the magnificent gastronomic delights in front of us. However, trained not to give up and to keep going when the going gets tough, we soldiered on, as often under duress comes acts of greatness. And then there are the acts of genius which could only come from a table of seniors – referring, of course, to the recycling summit that took place at the table adjacent to ours.

 

The Recycling Summit
Colin Johnson, David Nicholls and Andrea Farmer led the way in that they suddenly employed a doggy-bag initiative. Seemingly from nowhere, dozens of plastic containers appeared (had they just come from a Tupperware party?). They began to fill the containers with leftovers from the extremely generous portions of food provided that evening. One by one they placed the filled containers in their bags. You could tell by their huge Cheshire cat grins that tomorrow’s breakfast, dinner and tea had been catered for. Being their closest neighbours, the people at my table looked on in awe at their impressive waste not, want not approach. We were disappointed at our lack of resourcefulness as the staff removed our leftovers. Unlike Colin and his clan, smart solution escaped us. At any rate, we congratulated our seniors on their efficient decision-making process and their ability to think on their feet. It is hoped that all tables will be able to implement a similar strategy by the year 2010.

 

The Groove
As a member, I find myself asking the question, 'I wonder what my instructor is like outside the training hall? Will he or she dazzle me with their dance moves like they do when demonstrating physically demanding technical movements in class?' Yes, I know, you've been asking the same questions! Well, for those of us who were in attendance at this Christmas Party, you may already know the answer to these questions, as you will no doubt have seen the evidence for yourself. However, for those of you unable to make the night of all nights, let me inform you of my findings.

 

The Dance Off
The devout movie goers may be familiar with the incredibly entertaining dance off scene in the film Zoolander between Ben Stiller’s character (Derek Zoolander) and Owen Wilson's character (Hansel). The two super models showed flexibility, agility, and innovation at the height of their modelling profession as they battled for supremacy on the catwalk. If you haven't seen the movie, let me assure you that you would have been astounded by their bravery, creativity and endurance. But that is nothing compared to the talents of our very own gods and goddesses of the dance floor. At least four of our examiners, who are normally fairly demure and sophisticated in behaviour, transformed into disco kings and queens, as they tore up the dance floor from the moment the beat was alive in them. Less fit and experienced mortals bowed to their insatiable need to groove through each and every track. Others froze, glass in hand, jaw trailing on the floor as they observed the metamorphosis. Who were these immortal disco divas? I'll let you find out for yourselves at next years Christmas Party. But be warned, if you want to compete, you need to put the training in!

 


Grand Master C. K. Chang and his family.


Our DJ on the night, the one and only Dave Carver.


(From left) Andrea, Colin and Emmanuel.


John threw his arms up in defeat, while Andy (right) showed him what a senior would do when the going gets tough,
to the approval and appreciation of Molly (left).


Peter using his Kiss Me, It's Christmas tie to get
what he wanted from all the beautiful girls
– plus a few unwanted kisses from some men!


Gustave (left) showing what a good and sexy dancer he was,
even John and Celia were impressed.


John (left) and Buta working just as hard at organising the
party as they do when doing their Wu Shu Kwan training.


The real power behind the organisers:
(from left) Jag and Rani (son and wife of Buta)
and Karen (John's other half).


Michael (left) and Pedro showing us how to
drink, drink and be very merry.

   

Humour
If there was a prize for the funniest practical joke, I would have to award it to our very own Trish Chang. As Trish gave an informal speech (along with Grand Master C. K. Chang, Colin and Andy), she asked everyone to sing along to a Christmas song, saying, 'You all know the words!' As soon as Trish said, 'you all know the words', panic filled the room and faces turned white as onlookers felt inadequate and confused, 'Oh my God! ...What song? There's a song?'… Memory banks were trawled in their dozens. Neighbours turned to neighbours seeking, praying for enlightenment – how could I not know the Wu Shu Kwan Christmas Song? We asked ourselves. Finally, Trish put everyone out of their misery ... 'Only joking!' There was a momentary pause followed with nervous laughter and a feeling of immense relief. Good one, Trish!

 


X Factor’s Lucie Jones (left) with Jenny Chang.
Photograph: Syreeta Gill.

 

X Factor's Lucie Jones Making An Appearance
Lucie Jones had by chance called at the restaurant for an impromptu takeaway, along with a very gorgeous male friend. As Wu Shu Kwan members and restaurant staff jostled for a quick photo opportunity, I hovered in the background, incognito! I explained to her unsuspecting male friend that I wasn't really a reporter and that I didn't normally wear a plastic moustache. However, I can give you this breaking news: she said that... she... was 'doing great!’ Yes, you read it here first. She is not weeping and wailing over the loss of the X Factor title...she is 'doing great!' And, by the way, she is a really beautiful and nice girl.

 

Seniors Scoop Prizes
2009 became a lucky year for our seniors, when several of them scooped more than one of the numerous excellent prizes. Of course, there were the usual cacophony of cries of... 'It’s a fix!', but they actually came from my table and were simply fuelled by bad luck, jealousy, and a sense of fun. Well done to all you lucky winners!

 

Old Timers
During my in-depth undercover investigation (I was still wearing the moustache – Poirot eat your heart out!) I met quite a few people that I had never met before. One such person was the lovely Arlene, who had joined Wu Shu Kwan in 1975 and attained her Black Belt in 1977. Surprised at meeting someone who had been in Wu Shu Kwan for over 30 years, I found myself in conversation with yet another senior who had pointed out that Des (our very own David Bailey) had been a member for around 35 years. So, next time you attend an official Wu Shu Kwan event, may I suggest that you introduce yourself to the unfamiliar face next to you, because it's really worth the experience – get to know your Wu Shu Kwan family!

 

Apology On Behalf Of Our Photographer
After the complimentary drink (honest, just that one drink, according to him), our photographer Des found that, when looking through his camera viewfinder, he was so convinced all his subjects were shaking uncontrollably, and therefore it was rather difficult for him to complete his assignment satisfactorily! As a result, he might have missed a few groups or shot his subjects from their less attractive side or angle. But don’t panic. If you have any nice photos of any missing faces, could you be kind enough to pass on to the Wu Shu Kwan office for inclusion in this article. Thanks.

 

In Conclusion
Last but certainly not least, on behalf of all those fortunate enough to attend the Wu Shu Kwan’s Memorable Chinese Christmas Dinner Party 2009, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the party organisers – the unsung heroes and heroines: Grand Master C. K. Chang, Trish Chang, Celia Sisman, John de Rebello, Buta, and Syreeta Gill and their respective families, who had undoubtedly given up a great deal of their own personal time and energy in order to put together this celebration. Also, many thanks to our DJ, Dave Carver and the management and staff of the Ni Hao restaurant.

   It was a truly wonderful evening. •

     
                 
   

A selection of group photos below, see if you can find where you were.

If you are missing from this selection, please refer to Apology On Behalf Of Our Photographer.

                 
     
                 
     
                 
     
                 
           
                 
   

 

(Below) Photos of some of the lucky prize winners, most of them with Emily or Syreeta or both.

                 
   
                 
   
                 
   
                 
   
                 
     
                 
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    Christmas "Greekings" 2010
                 
 

 

 

 
Melissa Creighton
1st Degree Black Belt
 
Andre Hazel
1st Degree Black Belt, BSc
 
   

 

(Text by Andre Hazel – Photographs by Melissa Creighton)
All the photos are untititled and without caption – see if you can find where you are

                 
   

Joyous Christmas Is Here Again

There’s nothing as satisfying as a nice relaxing night out with friends and family. And even hard-core martial artists need some well-deserved rest and relaxation every once in a while. Or at least that was our justification for our night of skiving on 12th December now known as the Wu Shu Kwan Christmas party 2010. As usual it was a fun-filled evening with many familiar faces.

 

   There were our usual regular members who can be seen every week training hard in class; and some not so regular members whose faces have been conspicuously absent from class lately… no names mentioned – you know who you are. Nonetheless it was great to see them all come together in the spirit of Christmas.

 

We Go Greek This Year
This year’s party was organised by Marios Sergiou and his student Dara Williams. They visited a number of places to try their food, and get a sense of the place. They settled on the award winning As Greek As it Gets situated in Earl’s Court, London. Its cosy restaurant in the metropolis serving – you guessed it – Greek cuisine. Christine Lakka, the owner, was very accommodating to us, and has generously donated £20 towards our charity fund (please see Donation to Charity below).

 

   We were seated in our own private area, upstairs on the balcony. The food was excellent, with a selection of traditional cooking that left us all smacking our lips. And if delectable food wasn’t enough, we were also lucky enough to have live entertainment in the form of Pavlos & Paul Melas. These two talented brothers effortlessly entertained us with their guitar skills. There is only one criticism of the Melas brothers; and that is they did not perform a rendition of Kung Fu Fighting – something we have grown accustomed to from previous Wu Shu Kwan parties.

 

   Another highlight of the night was the display of traditional Greek dancing by Evelyne (Uxbridge Wu Shu Kwan Club) and one of the waitresses. Only Evelyne was brave enough to attempt this. The rest of us suddenly found ourselves with a chronic inability to move from our seats as soon as the music started playing. It was also great to see Grand Master C. K. Chang there with Trish and family enjoying the food and entertainment.

 

Birthday Celebration
Also, happy birthday to Roy, who tried to keep the fact that it was his birthday quiet, but was rumbled by Lucia. Another year older eh? It’ll be that replacement hip operation soon!

Donation to Charity

In the Wu Shu Kwan spirit of giving and generosity, a raffle was organised to raise money for charity. This year, our nominated charity was Shooting Star http://www.shootingstar.org.uk/ . This is a charity that does fantastic work:
“The Shooting Star Children's Hospice provides care, support and advice for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families. These care services are offered free of charge to families, 365 days a year across the western half of London and north Surrey.”
   Wow! What a terrific organisation!

Didn't We Do Well?
We managed to sell a lot of raffle tickets and raised a total of £372.65 for the foundation. So thank you very much to all the generous souls at Wu Shu Kwan who participated in the raffle; mind you, Wu Shu Kwan and a number of our members are always very good at donating to various charities. Also, thank you very much to Melissa who was responsible for selling the tickets. Her aggressive selling techniques put the fear of God into the majority of us, and many of us couldn’t part with the cash fast enough in order to safe-guard our well-being! However, we must not forget her charm and beauty too. But on a serious note, she was a credit to Wu Shu Kwan and we would not have been able to raise as much without her help.

 

It's the Thought that Counts
We would also like to say thank you to Melanie for baking her lovely personalised cookies. Actually, the plan was for the cookies with individual names to be used as place settings. However, she got delayed at a rather inviting pub en route from the tube to the restaurant and slightly overenjoyed a few Christmas drinks there.

 

Prize Winners

Congratulations to all of the raffle prize winners on the night. Some of the winners were Dara (obvious fix!!), Catherine, Trish’s mother Teresa, Lucia, Roy, James, Melissa and Evelyne, all of whom had wallets at least £5 lighter due to the bribe that they had paid for the winning tickets.

 

Very Enjoyable

This party was a great success and we look forward to next year’s! •

 

PS Our photographer enjoyed a bit too much on the night, and missed out quite a lot of shots – one way or another. If you have taken any good pictures, could we have them for inclusion in this article? Many Thanks.
 

                 
     
                 
     
                 
     
                 
   
     
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