The purpose of the trip was to attend "Action Martial Arts" award ceremony in Atlantic City. Attendees from the Ving Tsun Museum were Master Benny Meng, Sifu Richard Loewenhagen, Mike Mathews, and Joe Quinone from New Jersey. The group left Dayton behind schedule due to bad weather and other issues. The awards ceremony was held on January 19th. Due to travel related complications Sifu Loewenhagen and Mike Mathews had some free time that was used to visit Sensi Quinone's school in Newark, New Jersey. Sensi Quinone recently opened an impressive facility and has progressed to over 30 regular students in 3 months. Due to the inclement weather the group took 3 hours to complete the normally 1½ hour drive.
The awards ceremony was huge. Even in a foot of snow the 2-day event had 3200 Martial Artists from all around the world joining together to met, exchange ideas and to have a great time. Over 24 Seminar & shows given by such world renown martial artist as Grand Masters & Masters Gary Alexander, George Dilman, Ronald Duncan, George Alexander, Mark Shuey, Pan, Lin, Bob Wall, Bio, Art Beiens & Dave Sirota's Demo Teams, CDT Just to name a few.
Filled to capacity over 1300 Martial Artist from Around the World, the banquet boasted a collection of some of the Worlds most elite, most famous and most well-known in the martial arts community. Starting the evening off to the Music of Daniel Ho Hawian Musical Trio. This year every women entering the banquet was welcomed by being given a red rose. The Event was opened by Joe Piscopo, speaking on his respect for all the arts and then introducing his Instructor & Partner in the soon to be produced film "Fighting the Wind", Master Alan Goldberg.
Master Goldberg opened to introduce Master Romoletti to sing the National Anthem and Prayer by Rev. Ron Malone. Next the audience was given a surprise, a video made by Master Larry Higgins (one of the Events Corporate Sponsors Realmartialarts.com) - God Bless America. Chills went down everyone 's spine and there wasn't a dry eye in the house followed by a 2 minute standing ovation.
There were so many stars & famous martial artist in the house that a two tier dais was constructed. Gracing the halls were Joe Piscopo, Phil Morris, Grandmaster Pan Ching Fu, Don the Dragon Wilson, Art Camacho, Bob Wall, David Toma, Col. John Alexander, Gary Alexander, Ron Van Clief, Chuck Wepner, Cynthia Rothrock, George Alexander , Glen Wilson, Eric Lee, Vincent Marchetti, Jason Lau, Santiago Sanchis, Buddy Amato, Mike Anderson, Jim Arvanitis, Mark Shuey, Henry Bio, Papasan Canty, Wayne Carmen, Clif Crandell, Frank Kushner, M Depasquale, John Geyston, D Grosscup, Kali Griffin, S. Guerra, D.Stewart, Rico Guy, Bob Long, Ralph Passero,John Kuhel, H. Kaleck, Vasilios Katsaitis, S. Levi, David Lin, George Lim, Phil Little, Marty Manuel, J. Martin , S.L. Martin, Robert Mason, Benny Meng, Don Meyer, Joe Onopa, R. Pacetta, T Paterie, John Pellegrini, D Paulo, K. Schumacker, Don & Christin Rodriques, Wilfredo Roldan, J. Cooper, N. Smirnov, Tony Abel, The Tasetanos, Al Smith,E.R Spurell, Robin Taberna, Peter Ticali, Alex Wilkey, Morgan Woods,Larry Higgins, G. Young, J. Versoki, Joe William , R. Dickerson, Shorty Young. Plus too many to mention, but not of any lesser value to the arts represented.
At the Action Martial Arts Magazine awards banquet
(l/r) Sifu Maylee Chow, Sifu Anthony Goh, Sifu Randy Li, Sifu Benny Meng
(l/r) Sifu Richard Loewenhagen, Master Benny Meng, Actor Phil Morris, Sifu Randy Li, Grand Master Jason Lau, Sifu Allen Goldburg
Members of the VTM received awards for: Continuing Contributions to the Martial Arts (Master Benny Meng), Martial Arts Author and Editor of the Year (Sifu Richard Loewenhagen), Excellence in teaching of the Martial Arts Spirit (Mike Mathews & Sensi Joe Quione). Sifu Randy Li, a long-time supporter of the VTM in workshops and tournaments and promoter of Wing Chun, was also in attendance receiving an award as well.
(l/r) Mike Mathews, Master Benny Meng, Sifu Richard Loewenhagen, Sensi Joe Quinones
As the Special Announcer Nick Van Eeden concluded the awards, the evening was finished with a show by Grandmaster Roberts Dickerson's World Famous Pasha General Drill team. As a thank you, every person in the room recieved a free goody bag filled with a copy of Action Magazine, Action Collectors Cards, Hall of Fame Baseball Cap, mints, Pens & a Key chain. This was not just you average Award Dinner.
The next day the VTM group drove up to New York City to visit with Master Miguel Hernandez, elder kung fu brother (sihing) in the Moy Yat family to Master Benny Meng. The visit was focused on quality, Kung Fu Life with members of the VTM extended kung fu family. Early Sunday afternoon the group went out for Dim Sum and later that evening went to a pizza place with the reputation for the best pizza in New York City. While the VTM group did not visit "Ground Zero" of the former World Trade Center, the Manhathen skyline was eerily empty without the twin towers.
Members of the group traveled back to their homes separately. Mike Mathews returned mid-morning on Monday. Master Benny Meng and Sifu Richard Loewenhagen stayed another day to take the opportunity to visit Master Miguel Hernandez's school in Brooklyn to observe one of his night classes.
Throughout this excellent trip, VTM staff commented on the excellent opportunity afforded to them for fellowship in the martial arts community and the extended kung fu family.
Sifu Meng visiting Sensi Joe Quinones in New Jersey with his wife and their daughter.