Once you go black, you can never go back.

Posted Mon Mar 12, 2007, 06:43 AM by Tracy

Saturday a few of us students went to Yakima with Sifu to compete in a traditional karate tournament. Yeah, we’re kung fu, what of it? On the drive up Sifu was telling us what the fighting divisions were.

You two [referring to myself and Carol] will fight in the Advanced division.

Advanced division? I thought I was going to fight in the black belt division.

Well, if you want to. But you can’t fight as an underbelt again.

I just assumed Sifu would tell me that I had to fight in the women’s black belt divisions, so I planned on it.

No, that wasn’t my assumption.

So I fought my first tournament as a black belt, even though my rank is brown-black. I was eliminated after two fights from Women’s Black Belt Sparring, but placed third in Women’s 35+ Black Belt Sparring. I only lost to the woman who took first.

Full results on the Mo Duk Pai web site.

The judging was pretty uneven. They held the men and women to such different standards. Over in the men’s black belt divisions they were thumping on each other like crazy, but in the Women’s Black Belt Sparring division they were calling excessive contact for the least amount of contact. They were treating us like underbelts and this was a black belt division.

At one point I was negative two points. They weren’t allowing any head contact at all. I was nowhere near her head! And we were wearing stupid head gear. Just to be sarcastic I dropped down into a low tiger stance, so it would be clear to the judges that I wasn’t aiming at the head.

It didn’t help that at least one of the judges was only calling the other girl’s points, either. It was definitely a white gi tournament.

I did better in Women’s 35+ Black Belt Sparring. I tried to make my shots really clean. Since they were calling excessive contact for even touching the head, I was pretty much left with my reverse punch. I got tapped in the head a couple times, once dislodging my head gear, but my opponent didn’t get penalized. Not that it was anything I would consider excessive, but if they’re going to call it, they should call it.

All in all, it was a good experience. We showed once again that Mo Duk Pai can compete and win against Karate stylists on their own terms. I won each of my first fights and I met my most important goal:

I did not embarrass my Sifu.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.