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7th World Kung-Fu Championships

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My experience in Emei, China, was unforgettable and definitely worth the investment.  I spent 8 days in China from Beijing to Chengdu and saw the Great Wall and Forbidden City. I flew out from Boston, Massachusetts, and spent twelve hours on the plane. During the three days of competition, I met people from many different countries and tried my hardest to place in one of my events.

As you might be aware, all wushu athletes here in the USA have to fund their own trips to international tournaments. To start, I saved money to fund for this event by doing AirBnB and using my apartment specifically my couch to have visitors over.

I started saving since June to save for the trip. The sight seeing trip was all inclusive meaning flight, food, transportation and hotel were included. There were two options for athletes and their families to select. They were

14 Day Extended Sichuan Package $2970
8 Day Short Tour Package $1530

I chose the 8 day tour package and my flight was with Hainan Airlines. My flight also had the Kung-Fu Pandas on them.

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During the flight they had a selection of movies from recent films to music. The airplane food was not too bad. They served dinner and a pre-landing breakfast. Here I tried the shrimp with rice. They also had chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

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I chose the 8 day short tour. The first night with my group we arrived late. The first time we went to the wrong hotel, but eventually we unpacked for the night. The only food place that was open was the McDonalds.

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I tried the Black Squid Burger. As you can see, the bun is black because they put squid ink on it. I also tried the Taro pie which was delicious. Taro is a root similar to a potato.

The next hotel we stayed was a lot larger than the first hotel we stayed at. This hotel had a flat screen TV, cat condo, fridge and a large bathroom. It was not just one bathroom, but two bathrooms. One for the toilet and the other for shower and bathtub. There were also his and her sinks.

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The next day we went to see the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.

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The Great Wall of China was a very different experience. While walking up the Great Wall, it was quite the work out. The way up was steep and some of the steps were worn out.

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I got a hat because the weather was cool. The local vendors made the hats and I was able to bargain for the hat at a cheaper price. The weather was surprisingly warmer than Boston in November. Roughly 60 degree Fahrenheit or more.

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We climbed up the steps to get to the top to see the Forbidden City.

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I couldn’t help but try the street food. Here berries were in season and they were roasted and counted into sugar. The vendor also sold taro and the berries. Delicious! My friend informed me the name of the candied fruit is “Tanghulu”.

In the middle of the park was a restaurant. This served a fourteen course meal. I was hungry in the beginning, but after I was too stuffed. One dish came out from another and I tried my best to eat all I could. The only thing I was concerned about was all the leftover food.

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After being stuffed from the fourteen course meal, we walked around the park. I couldn’t help, but notice this elderly man who was drawing animals using the calligraphy brush. Talented, he drew dragons, tigers and cranes.

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The next day we left for Chengdu after four hours of sleep. At this point I was napping in and out. I never had a full eight hour sleep after traveling. We arrived at the hotel. Checking in took awhile, but they had volunteers to help us out at the front.

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The room was very comfortable. I had a rough time adjusting to the bathrooms outside the hotel, but I felt lucky to have a hotel with western bathrooms. There was one point after we got to the hotel I slept for a long period of time. From the afternoon, I napped then would periodically wake up again and fall asleep.

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One of my favorite parts of this trip was the merchandise athletes received. Here, was my new little friend who was the mascot. We received our team USA jackets, the monkey, tea and postcards. The ticket was for the opening ceremony.

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We rested until opening ceremony. Opening ceremony was spectacular with talented performers.

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We had around 63 countries from all around the world.

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While the events were continuously going for three days. There were vendors inside the building. The vendors sold everything from silks, food, pandas and weapons.

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People were able to try on the silks and take a look at the weapons before purchasing.

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I got my new double hooks from a vendor here and I definitely do not regret getting it from the local merchant. The shuanggou my wushu brother gave me was lighter and I was able to handle it better.

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Day 2 – Nanquan

My first event was doing nanquan. The judges gave an overall B score which they look for basics, nandu (which is not required for this tournament), rhythm and the overall impression.

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Photo credit: Bruce Yeung

My last event was on Day 3. I was placed in a category of Other Weapon. If the apparatus had many competitors they put them in a single event. However, in my event since I did not have many competitors I was with double dao, rope dart, three sectional staff and daggers.

Shuanggou

Photographer: Nigel Armes

After Day 3, my friends and I went to see the Leshan Giant Buddha. We took a cab (roughly $20 USD each cab) and took a 40 minute drive to see the Buddha.

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Photo Credit: Jorge Rubio

We also got the local street food. Roughly paid less than a dollar for it. Probably $00.50 cents USD for it.

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My wushu brother also gave me a panda as a gift from Chengdu. The panda was roughly $5. I named him “Emei”.

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On Day 8, I took my connecting flight back home. My last pre-flight landing meal was dim sum and fried rice, which was my favorite out of all the airplane food.

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My experience was well worth everything. I gained new friends, ate ethnic food and managed to walk away with one medal.

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Justine Agaloos is a National USA Wushu Taolu Judge and is on the 2017 U.S.A. Traditional Wushu Team. While working full-time as an IT Security and Assurance Consultant, Agaloos also has a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology. With her extra time, Agaloos currently travels to domestic and international wushu tournaments. She has trained with the Harvard Wushu Team for six years and later became an instructor.