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Translation of Chinese Article “Li Yiyuan (Ian Lee) In America Playing a Day”

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TRANSLATION OF CHINESE ARTICLE “LI YIYUAN (IAN LEE) IN AMERICA PLAYING A DAY”

By: Matthew Lee

Written February 14th, 2016

“He was truly an open-minded and candid individual who cared about supporting Wushu, especially from the Sanshou side…The Wushu community, both Taolu and Sanshou, is stronger because of his example, and I wish there were more people like him to bring the two practices of Wushu together, and represent Wushu as a whole.” —Quote taken directly from the write-up

Abstract: The following is a translation of a Chinese article, roughly translated as “Li Yiyuan (Ian Lee) In America Playing a Day.”  Although such a task is usually not worth sharing publicly, I have decided to do so to pay respect to the individual featured in said article, Ian Lee (no relation).  Aside from being the coach of the national US Wushu Sanshou Team, Coach Lee has also been a very supportive individual, as well as an open and friendly man, in the short time I have been privileged to have gotten to know him.  This is my attempt to honor and show such a great individual worth mentioning in Wushu community.

Recently, I was shown a news article written in Chinese, of Coach Ian (Yiyuan) Lee, coach of the national US Wushu Sanshou Team.  Although I was not directly asked to translate this, I took it upon myself to do so as a favor to a friend.  And even though my doing this is not a big deal, I decided to share this rough translation of the article on Jiayoowushu.com, in an attempt to get people to know about this man.  I would like to apologize in advance for all the extra notes and additional edits, I tried to make everything comprehensible in English, while still maintaining the integrity of the Chinese sentence structure (and Chinese is extremely dense).  Part of the credit goes to my dad for helping to identify characters that I couldn’t identify myself.  For those that want to see the article online or don’t find my translation satisfactory, here’s a link to the article itself on a website, which I found in the process of translating everything online on mdbg.net and Google Translate: http://www.sanda.org.tw/html/medium/6.htm

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“李憶元在美打出一片天

襲警歹徒越來越凶殘, 曾在大陸散打搏擊賽打敗大陸選手的「寶島拳王」李憶元, 如果是台灣警察的教練該有多好。

可惜李憶元是美國警察摶擊隊的總教練, 之前率領美國警察隊參加兩屆國際警察搏擊大賽。  李憶元去年初出任美國國家武術散打隊教練, 在澳門世界錦標賽拿下1金2銅, 李憶元赴美僅5年, 已在美國武術界建立應有的地位。

今年第三屆國際警察摶擊大賽, 李憶元再次擔任美國警察隊總教練, 且由他自己參與主持的美國中華武術散打摶擊協會承辦賽事, 比賽定於12月在德州達拉斯市舉行。

中華武術散打摶擊協會理事長張恩煌表示, 美國中華武術散打摶擊協會, 是中華武術散打摶擊協會在美國分會, 該分會由李憶元在美國德州拉搏克市成立, 李憶元擔任秘書長兼代表師範, 成立迄今近3年。

張恩煌表示, 去年冬天, 美國分會在德州拉博克市舉辦「德州國際武術散打邀請賽」, 為今年第三屆國際警察摶擊大賽暖身, 數千觀眾進場觀戰, 打破該市武術類型競賽觀眾人數最高紀錄。

張恩煌表示, 我國警察系統尚未加入國際警察搏擊理事會, 但國際警察搏擊理事會一再表示歡迎台灣警察弟兄共襄盛舉, 與各國警察以武會友。”

(“Lǐ Yìyuán Zàiměi Dǎchū Yīpiàn Tiān

Xíjǐng dǎitú yuèláiyuè xiōngcán, céngzài Dàlù sǎndǎbójísài dǎbài Dàlù xuǎnshǒude `Bǎodǎo Quánwáng’ Lǐ Yìyuán, rúguǒ shì Táiwān jǐngchá de jiàoliàn gāiyǒu duōhǎo.

Kěxí Lǐ Yìyuán shì Měiguó jǐngchá tuánjíduì de zǒngjiàoliàn, zhīqiánshuàilǐng Měiguó jǐngcháduì cānjiā liǎngjiè guójìjǐngchábójídàsài.  Lǐ Yìyuán qùnián chū chūrèn měiguó guójiā wǔshùsǎndǎduì jiàoliàn, zài àomén shìjièjǐnbiāosài náxià 1 jīn 2 tóng, Lǐ Yìyuán fù Měi jǐn 5 nián, yǐ zài Měiguó wǔshù jiè jiànlì yīngyǒu dì dìwèi.

Jīnnián dìsānjièguójìjǐngchátuánjīdàsài, Lǐ Yìyuán zàicì dānrèn Měiguó jǐngcháduì zǒngjiàoliàn, qiě yóu tā zìjǐ cānyù zhǔchí dì Měiguó Zhōnghuáwǔshùsǎndǎtuánjīxiéhuì chéngbàn sàishì, bǐsài dìngyú 12 yuè zài Dézhōu Dálāsī shì jǔxíng.

Zhōnghuáwǔshùsǎndǎtuánjīxiéhuì lǐshìzhǎng Zhāng’ēnhuáng biǎoshì, Měiguó Zhōnghuáwǔshùsǎndǎtuánjīxiéhuì, shì Zhōnghuáwǔshùsǎndǎtuánjīxiéhuì zài Měiguó fènhuì, gāi fēnhuì yóu Lǐ Yìyuán zài Měiguó Dézhōu Lābókè shì chénglì, Lǐ Yìyuán dānrèn mìshūzhǎng jiān dàibiǎo shīfàn, chénglì qìjīn jìn 3 nián.

Zhāng’ ēnhuáng biǎoshì, qùnián dōngtiān, Měiguó fènhuì zài Dézhōu Lābókè shì jǔbàn `Dézhōuguójìwǔshùsǎndǎyāoqǐngsài’, wéi jīnnián dìsānjièguójìjǐngchátuánjīdàsài nuǎn shēn, shù qiān guānzhòng jìnchǎng guānzhàn, dǎpò gāi shì wǔshù lèixíng jìngsài guānzhòng rénshù zuìgāo jìlù.

Zhāng ēnhuáng biǎoshì, wǒguó jǐngchá xìtǒng shàngwèi jiārù guójìjǐngchábójílǐshìhuì, dàn guójìjǐngchábójílǐshìhuì yīzài biǎoshì huānyíng Táiwān jǐngchá dìxiōng gòngxiāngshèngjǔ, yǔ gèguó jǐngchá yǐ wǔ huìyǒu.”)

“Li Yiyuan (Ian Lee) In America Playing a Day

[With] police-assaulting and increasingly brutal criminals, [and] ‘Formosa (Taiwan) Boxing King’ Li Yiyuan who in mainland China[’s] Sanda fighting competition defeated mainland China’s athlete, if Li Yiyuan is Taiwan[’s] police’s coach[,] [it] would [be] very fortunate.

Unfortunately Li Yiyuan is [the] United States of America Police Combat Sports Team’s Head Coach, [having] previously led [the] US Police Team [to] participate in two International Police Combat Sports Competitions (I looked online, this event only appears to be designated in Chinese, so this is the best English translation I could come up with).  Last year (relative to whatever year this article was published in, which sounds like 2004) Li Yiyuan [was] first appointed [as the] US National Wushu Sanda Coach, [and] at [the] World Championships (I believe they are referring to the 2003 World Wushu Championships) [in] Aomen (Macau) won 1 gold [and] 2 bronze [medals], [and] Li Yiyuan within [the] US [in a] mere 5 years [has] already in [the] US Wushu community established [his] proper position.

This year (again, depends when this article was published) [at the] 3rd International Police Combat Sports Competition, Li Yiyuan [was] again appointed [as the] US Police Team Head Coach, and from his own participating [and] hosting US Chinese Boxing (San Da) Combat Association (literal translation “US Zhonghua [Republic of China, Taiwanese] Wushu Sanda Combat Sports Association”)[,] undertakes [the] competition, [the] competition [is] scheduled [for] December [and is] to be held in Dallas city, Texas.

Chinese Boxing (San Da) Combat Association Director Zhang Enhuang says, [‘The] US Chinese Boxing (San Da) Combat Association, is [the] Chinese Boxing (San Da) Combat Association branch in [the] US, said branch [being] due to Li Yiyuan establishing [it] in Lubbock County, Texas, United States of America, [and] Li Yiyuan [was] appointed [as] secretary-general [and] simultaneously [as] representative demonstration model, since [its] establishment 3 years [ago’].

Zhang Enhuang says, [‘]Last winter, [the] US branch in Lubbock County, Texas held, [the] “Texas International Wushu Sanda Open Invitational Tournament”, [as] preparation for this year[’s] 3rd International Police Combat Sports Competition, counting [about a] thousand spectators admitted into [the] venue [to] watch [the] fight[s], breaking [the] city[’s] “Wushu” (martial arts) type competition record [of] highest number [of] spectators.[’]

Zhang Enhuang says, [‘]Our country’s (Taiwan’s) police system [has] not yet joined [the] International Police Combat Sports Council (again, this organization only appears to be designated in Chinese, so this is the best English translation I could come up with), but [the] International Police Combat Sports Council [has] repeatedly expressed welcome [to] Taiwan[’s] police comrades to participate, and each country’s police to make friends through martial [competition].[’]”

After doing this translation, I found out just now that Coach Lee defeated mainland Chinese Sanda athlete Zhang Lei (pictured left in the picture featured in the article) at the 2001 Sanda King Championship in mainland China (as mentioned in the article, which is impressive, considering the majority of combat sports fights organized by Chinese organizations are seen as rigged or set up in favor of the Chinese fighters, unless you undeniably beat the mainland Chinese fighter, which means you have to prove beyond a doubt that you have truly won in the mainland Chinese’s eyes, which in turn means you must be legitimately good).  To add to his Chinese martial arts and full-contact fighting career and experience, Coach Lee also trained in Guoshu (国术; guóshù, traditional Chinese martial arts, literally “national art”) lei tai (擂台; lèitái, traditional Chinese martial arts full-contact fighting, literally “raised platform”), which is very similar to modern Wushu Sanshou, except with a few differences in regulations, which allow for knee and elbow strikes, a longer (five-second) time limit for the clinch, as well as open-fingered gloves which were in Coach Lee’s own words, “like MMA (mixed martial arts) gloves.”  Coach Lee also learned traditional Chinese martial arts, which was required as part of his training in Taiwan, which he showed when he exhibited a Snake Fist (蛇拳; shéquán) form at one of the after-parties with the US Wushu Sanshou Team at the 10th Pan American Wushu Championships (which I failed to capture on camera.  Oh well, maybe next time.), and according to him was from Hung Gar (洪家; Hóngjiā, Hong Family).  At the same time, in terms of fighting, Coach Lee is also a staunch supporter of practicality and directness, as opposed to the esotericism and mysticism of traditional Chinese martial arts, as he related in a short anecdote about knocking out a White Crane Fist (白鹤拳; báihèquán) master with one punch.  But aside from all this, Coach Lee is also a very nice man, having been extremely supportive to me in the short time I’ve known him and been on the US Wushu Team.

My very first impression of him was at the 9th Pan-American Wushu Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, when he first came up and talked to me and my parents, commenting on my mother’s Korean heritage by mentioning that his wife loved to watch Korean soap operas.  Prior to this, I did not know about Coach Lee, though this has obviously changed now.  During my time at the 9th Pan-American Wushu Championships, while sitting and eating with another Sanshou coach, Albert Treto, at the competition’s hotel, the Crowne Plaza Monterrey, I had mentioned that “Coach Lee” was a “Sanda silver medalist”, which Mr. Treto technically confirmed, though I was talking about another “Coach Li” (Li Shudong to be precise, who I recall reading was a silver medalist in Sanda from a book about Wushu).  Mr. Treto also made a point of mentioning that Coach Lee was very scary when he is angry, but has also maintained that he is still a very kind and supportive coach, which he also related in a short anecdote, where Coach Lee commented “Oh, that’s not right”, upon seeing a Sanshou coach hit his athlete for losing a match at the 3rd World Junior Wushu Championships in Macau, China.

I would later see this for myself, when we talked for the first time one-on-one at the 9th Pan-American Wushu Championships.  Before he would coach one of his athletes on the US Sanshou Team, Erik Alvarez, in his last fight of the competition, he spoke with me when I came up to both support and record the fight.  He asked me if I had medaled, and I regrettably replied that I didn’t, to which he sincerely said, “That’s okay.”  After the competition, while sitting at dinner, those of us who were sitting with Coach Lee were surprised when the US Sanshou Team presented him with an impromptu pastry and sang Happy Birthday.  Then, a fellow female Taolu athlete and her mother also sitting at the table asked me to sing in mandarin Chinese, as they sang along.  Then the other teams sitting at hotel dinner started singing Happy Birthday to Coach Lee in their respective national languages and clapping along—I don’t remember the exact teams or the exact order that they sang in, but it was a sight to see.  I specifically remember one male athlete running up to Coach Lee to come up and kiss him, only to run back to his table, which was very humorous to see.  Another shouted that they loved Coach Lee (it might have been the same athlete for all I know), to which he replied he loved them back.  All this was my first impression of him, which only let me know that he seemed like a nice man.

The second time I would see Coach Lee was at the 2013 US Wushu Team Trials, where he came up to me to say hi the day before I tried out for the team.  The fact that he had recognized me was something that surprised me, especially since we had only met once before.  I would see Coach Lee again at the 10th Pan American Wushu Championships at San José, Costa Rica.  While competing there, which I detailed in “10th Pan American Wushu Championships: A Personal Account”, the rest of the adult Taolu Team and I were pleasantly surprised to find Coach Lee bringing the US Sanshou Team to watch and support our events.  Coach Lee later explained at the aforementioned after-party, that he and the US Sanshou Team had a special respect for Taolu, as Mr. Treto also mentioned previously at the competition.  As a sport, modern Wushu is divided into two separate categories of competition; Taolu (套路; tàolù, forms), and Sanshou (散手; sànshǒu, free hand), also known as Sanda (散打; sàndǎ, free fighting).  As such, it stands to reason, and thus is very typical in actual practice, that athletes in the sport of Wushu will usually only specialize in one or the other for competition, where Taolu athletes train forms for exhibition and competition, and Sanda athletes train for full-contact sparring.  Despite both events being categorized under Wushu, it seems that Taolu and Sanshou are separate sports and disciplines altogether, with two separate teams and two separate kinds of athletes with no connection or interaction whatsoever, because the two practices seem so divorced from each other (there is a certain commentary here I feel that can be said about the way Wushu has been standardized, but I have already mentioned this observation many times in my previous write-ups).  However, Coach Lee stated that even though the US Wushu Team was made up of two separate teams, one made up of Taolu athletes and the other made up of Sanda athletes, which specialized in separate disciplines, we should still be open and friendly with each other, and treat each other as one team.  One last memory that left such a strong impression on me, was during the last of the medal ceremonies at the end of the 10th Pan American Wushu Championships, when he went out of his way to take a picture with me.  Of all people, the US Sanshou Team Coach, wanted to take a picture, with a nobody like me.  The fact that Coach Lee was kind and open enough to want to even do so with me was truly humbling, and showed me the kind of person he truly was.  All this let me know that this was a man who didn’t care about results or accolades, or even styles, separate groups and differences, he cared about people.  He was truly an open-minded and candid individual who cared about supporting Wushu, especially from the Sanshou side.  It is all this from Coach Lee that has truly made an impression on me.  The Wushu community, both Taolu and Sanshou, is stronger because of his example, and I wish there were more people like him to bring the two practices of Wushu together, and represent Wushu as a whole.  Coach Lee currently teaches Sanshou at United Martial Arts Training Center in Lubbock, Texas.

Coach Lee will be coming up to Maryland, in the United States of America, on the weekend of February 19th, to teach a workshop on Sanshou.  This is a pretty big deal and a rare opportunity, so for anyone in the Maryland area, I strongly encourage anyone and everyone interested to come get some professional Sanshou instruction.  The workshop will consist of three, two-hour sessions; two on Saturday, and one on Sunday.  Prices are $50 for one, $90 for two, and $120 for all three.  The first session will focus on how to developing striking power, the second session will focus on fight combos, and the third session will focus on takedowns.  All non GKF (Goh’s Kung Fu, the hosting school and headquarters of the USAWKF [United States of America Wushu Kungfu Federation], the national governing organizational body for national level US Wushu competition) students will have to pay ahead of time with PayPal.  Link to sign up and PayPal payment page: http://www.gohskungfu.com/sanda.php

Please direct your questions to Kevin Law for specific details, or you can feel free to ask me and I will forward them to him.  Hope to see you there! J

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Matt began practicing Wushu at the age of 7 under US Wushu Academy, and is a coach of the UMBC Wushu Club. He has held positions in national, international, and local modern Wushu competitions, and is currently training in Sanshou/Sanda, traditional Chen Style Taijiquan and zhanzhuang. He is a former four-time consecutive US Wushu Team member, former Pan American Champion and multiple times Pan American Championships medalist, and is continually trying to improve himself both as a competitive athlete and as a real martial artist. If you have any questions you would like to ask Matt, please email him at matthewlee@jiayoowushu.com.