The UW Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw kung fu team made an undeniable impression on the 2nd USKSF North Regional tournament. As a group the Eagle Claw team took 1st place in all but two of the events in which we participated.
Spirits were high, and sunny spring weather made it the ideal day for a competition. The team warmed up on the grounds of Memorial High School, taking advantage of the perfect temperature and open sports fields. With dress uniforms donned and warm up complete, the group reentered the field house and prepared for the forms competition to begin.
Ben Moderson-Kox was our entrant in the men’s 18-34 Advanced Northern Style forms division. Our team has been watching him practice his very long, very difficult form for months, and his performance at the tournament was a great reflection of the work he has done. Unfortunately, due to an error regarding divisions, Ben’s performance received a much lower score than it would have otherwise garnered.
Mike Bowler competed in the men’s 18-34 Beginners Northern Style forms division. With the same “Power Fist” form he used at a tournament in Beloit just two weeks earlier, he put forth solid performance which acquired 2nd place.
Ryan West and Phil Hansen both performed the Eight Connecting Steps form as participants in the men’s 18-34 Intermediate forms division. Phil performed first in the group, and subsequently got a lower score than we would have expected, receiving 5th place. Ryan, performing the same set of techniques, must have done something the judges liked more, as his marks put him in 1st place in the division.
Jed Frees was our representative in the men’s over 35 Advanced Northern Style forms division. His fast and powerful execution of the Eight Connecting Steps form resulted in another 1st place finish.
We had 4 entrants in the light contact fighting divisions: Ryan West and Philip Hansen in heavyweight (180+ lbs.), and Benjamin Moderson-Kox and Michael Bowler in middleweight. With plenty of time between events, we were energized and ready to go when sparring started.
Ryan lost his first fight to the entrant who would go on to get second overall. It was a hard battle, and his opponent took the approach of pushing in and throwing a great number of short punches, in contrast to Ryan’s longer kick-based fighting style. Fighting second, Phil handily defeated his first opponent, dominating the ring by rushing past his opponent’s defensive kicks and working in torso punches.
Despite controlling most of the fight, Ryan lost his second match under somewhat dubious calls by the judges. But all was not lost – Phil Hansen fought fire with fire, defeating his second opponent by upping the aggression and throwing more body punches than his fellow contestant could handle. Phil’s tenacity landed him a 1st place finish in his division.
Mike Bowler met with fierce resistance in his middleweight match. Mike controlled the ring in the first half of the round, but lost some of his aggression after a judges warning about striking to his opponent’s head. It was a close match, but his opponent was awarded the win.
Ben Moderson-Kox was the fight story of the competition, defeating opponent after opponent with fast punches and well-executed kicks. Fighting twice as many matches as any other member of our team, Ben battled his way to a well-earned 1st place finish in the middleweight division.
Men’s 18-34 Beginner division, Northern Styles
Michael Bowler – 2nd place
Men’s 18-34 Intermediate division, Northern Styles
Ryan West – 1st place
Philip Hansen – 5th place
Men’s 18-34 Advanced division, Northern Styles
Benjamin Moderson-Kox – 6th place. Despite a quality performance, the scoring for Ben’s form was lower due to his performance of a southern-influenced form in a northern-style division.
Men’s Over 35 Advanced division, Northern Styles Jed Frees – 1st place
Men’s Heavyweight light contact
Philip Hansen – 1st place
Ryan West – 4th place
Men’s Middleweight light contact
Benjamin Moderson-Kox – 1st place
Michael Bowler – 5th place