Arnold's Battle of Columbus
Currently, the world's largest sporting event is the Summer Olympics at over 10,000 athletes. What would be the second largest sporting event? Would you guess that it is a body building/power lifting/cheerleading/arm wrestling/fitness/martial arts event: The Arnold Classic and Battle of Columbus. During the past weekend, Columbus, Ohio played host to an event featuring over 9,000 athletes. With rapidly increasing participation, the Arnold Classic will soon eclipse the Summer Olympics in number of athletes. To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, "This is Ohio's Olympics!"
At this year's Arnold Battle of Columbus many martial arts and Asian cultural event shared time and space with the best in modern fitness and strength competition. Events included Taekwon-moodo World Games, Karate World Games, Kung Fu World Games, Jujitsu World Games, Haidong Gum Do World Games, Tang Soo Do World Games, Kick Boxing competition, Musical Martial Arts World Challenge, Kali Invitational, Hapkido Invitational, Breaking competition, Weapon Synchronized Form, World Team Competition, and Specially Challenged Martial Arts World Games. The Arnold Fitness Weekend included the 14th Annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, Ms International, Fitness International, Arnold Fitness EXPO 2002, Martial Arts Festival, Arnold Classic Armwrestling Challenge, Arnold Cheerleading Classic, Bench Press Challenge, Gymnastics Challenge and 5K Pump and Run. The 5th Annual Asian Culture Fair included Taiko Drum, Samulnori, Korean Drum, Siberian Tiger, Face Painting, Acupuncture, Folk Games, Music & Dance, and Lion/Dragon Dance. The weekend also featured over 31 martial arts workshops for students and school owners. Many legends of martial arts and movie stars were also on site, sharing their time and knowledge with participants.
Just a few of the many VIPs at the Arnold Battle of Columbus
Among the martial arts legends was local martial artist Master Benny Meng, 5th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and 7th Degree Black Sash in Wing Chun. At the Arnold Battle of Columbus, he was the director of the Wing Chun Division competition, featured in the Master's Demonstration, and conducted one of the largest workshops on Sunday. Meng's Martial Arts / Ving Tsun Museum represented Dayton with a total of 15 competitors in two martial disciplines, Taekwondo and Wing Chun, and five judges led by Master Benny Meng. The team brought back 7 Gold, 5 Silver, and 5 Bronze medals.
This year, the Battle of Columbus added a new event in the Wing Chun Division, the Wooden Dummy. The Wooden Dummy is a training apparatus used in Wing Chun to aid the student in developing proper body alignment and timing to express maximum power. Wing Chun is a traditional southern, Shaolin Kung Fu style; it was the first and only system Bruce Lee ever formally studied. With 3 events unique to Wing Chun in addition to Kung Fu open sparring, Wing Chun is one of the few divisions to offer a Grand Champion competition. Wing Chun competitors score 10 points for 1st, 7 for 2nd and 5 for third. The competitor with the highest score at the end of competition wins the Grand Championship. Meng's Martial Art / Ving Tsun Museum students have won this award both years it has been available. Mike Mathews won last year; this year's winner was Jeremy Roadruck. When asked about his performance, Jeremy said, "This year was rough. I was sick the week before competition and wasn' t at 100%. However, I felt good in competition because the training we do at Meng's prepares your body to react instinctively and correctly. If I had been studying a style that relies on purely on my strength or endurance, I'd have been in trouble!"
John Lambert, 65, of Cincinnati travels 1 hour to Dayton several times a week. He took top honors in novice sparring, beating competitors more than ½ his age. John had this to say about his performance, "I'm just beginning to understand Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun concepts which allows me to be more efficient in deploying my tactics, knowing that I don't have wasted motions. This allows me to conserve energy and hang with the younger guys. Also I'm developing an understanding about body placement and position allowed me to focus my techniques in the places it would give the most benefit. My opponent's had opening that they didn't even know about. I look forward to the time when I have complete knowledge and the ability to make better application."
In Taekwondo sparring, Ben Bryan took 1st, Josh Esterline and Andrew Sawyer took 2nd in different divisions, and Nathan Badger, Garrett Watson and William Turner all won 3rd in their divisions.
In Wing Chun results, Tae Hayden took 1st in Advanced, Lightweight sparring. Mike Mathews took 2nd in Advanced Forms, 2nd in Wooden Dummy, 1st in Advanced, Heavyweight Chi Sau, and 2nd in Advanced, Middleweight Sparring. Jeremy Roadruck took 1st in Advanced Forms, 3rd in Wooden Dummy, and 1st in Advanced, Lightweight Chi Sau. Joe Seidenschmidt took 1st in Intermediate Forms and 3rd in Advanced, Heavyweight Chi Sau. John Lambert took 1st in Beginner, Heavyweight.
Competitor and Judges group photo
Seminar participants group photo