From September 7th through 9th, over 500 participants from at least 30 countries gathered at the First European Shoalin Culture Festival in Berlin, Germany. This event was organized by Shaolin Temple China and the Shaolin Europe Association (SEA). Shaolin Temple’s abbot, ven. master Shi Yong Xin, was present during the whole event and performed the opening and awarding ceremonies. He was accompanied by 30 warrior monks who gave a marvelous performance at the end of the competition day. The competition was part of the festival, but was not really a competition. Officially, it was called a “Kungfu Test” with limited categories which resulted in groups of over 100 competitors of different levels! Another thing that made this “competition” special was that everyone was awarded a medal, gold or silver. Indeed, no bronze. A performance was either good or not so good. Our school had 11 students performing and all ended up on the ‘good’ side! Ryan and Jair, did an empty hands and weapons form, pinning gold in both categories. What also made this event special was the somewhat chaotic fashion it all went down. In the end it was all good although Ryan did not receive his second gold medal for some reason. Luckily, he decided not to let this bring his spirits down!
The group performance was also declared good. Looking back, it was a a wonderful weekend.
At the SEA meeting following the kungfu test, it was decided that the next festival will be in London!
It must be said that the results of this weekend are greatly due to the fact that the students kept training during the holidays. Kudos to all! A special thanks to everybody that went along: Alvino – our assistant coach – and the parents. Without them, things might have turned out different!
We are on the right track, but ofcourse there is always room for improvement. Not in the amount of medals, but rather in what was the essence of this “tournament”: don’t strive to be better than someone else, but strive to give it your best and do better each time. The hardest fight is the one with oneself.