China Comes to Atlanta

Art of War
K. Superstar Production


Patrick Barry

Max Chen

Mike Norman

Russle Middleton

Albert Pope

Art of War
by Brandon Powell

The buzz of anticipation circulates through the crowd, then "boom." Silence. Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom. The Lion awakes to the call of the drum and Atlanta is thrust into two thousand years of history and tradition. Weaving and bobbing, dancing and laughing his way through the crowd, the lion entrances the spectators as the tournament begins: China Comes to Atlanta - Art of War: US Open International Martial Arts Championship, K. Super Star World Sanshou Title Matches. The lion slows, blinks and drifts sleepily into history, returning to the mist and mountains of ages past. The drum stops. A fight breaks out! Demonstrators from Raymond Wong's Chinese Boxing of Washington, D. C. leap into a three man choreograph set and then a two man weapon set showcasing talented precision and throwing gas on the flame of enthusiasm awakened with the lion's dance. Sword and spear clash, a three section staff, hands, feet, and the magic that draws grown men and women like wide-eyed children to a circus tent - the competition begins.

Martial artists and acrobats, fighters and form-competitors stretch, watch and wait for their moment, their chance at the stage. To one side a daring exhibition of whip-chains followed by a forceful, steady spear. Smooth, flowing Yang style Tai-chi and Tai-chi straight sword, effortless and weightless grace the opposing stage. The crowd is both awed and subdued inside a whirlwind of hard and soft, yin and yang - heads pivot and mouths gape, hands clap and hearts beat. Meanwhile the fighters watch.

Like lions themselves, the gladiators of Sanshou yawn and stretch. They wait. They size. They watch like silent silhouettes lurking and anticipating, relaxed and ready. They stalk their prey while Forest and Conner Antoz, brother and sister, represent Mobile, Al, with gold medal performances for Xiao Hung Quan; Steve Dang takes first place in straight sword; Joy Portella places first in Chen style; Lac Ngo finishes first in staff. The fighters watch each other while the medals are presented, while ceremonies close form competitions. They taste the air and ready their minds. One man standing tall among the rest, Paul "No Match" Gurevidius of Lithuania, a previous K. Super Star title winner, tonight his world title will be on the line. He lurks, ready.

The lay-tai is examined. The judges take their place. The referee dawns his gloves. The fighters are called by two "Steve Forbes, and Mark Elefane"; they come from around the world: Travis Schlee, and Danny Hoyer from Holland take home gold medals; Raimundo Nunes - Brazil, gold medal; Frederico Capasso - Venezuela, silver medal; Mindacgas Vaitekunas - Baltimore, bronze medal; Patrick Barry - Liu Institute, gold medal. The crowd watches them. Every punch, every kick, every throw, every eye is steady, fixed on the matt. Every match builds on the last. Each man, each woman is caught up into the muse of battle. Each match becomes a foil and foreshadowing of the night to come.

Televised by CCTV, over three hundred million viewers around the world tune in to witness a dark void pierced by one illumined stage where an elder monk enters followed by an ethereal procession. All bow and a panoramic display ensues as movement and music breathe overlapping breathes to proclaim the history and fame of Shaolin, from ages past to those fast approaching Shaolin - the Mecca of martial arts and artists. A collage of sounds, forms, fists, staves and swords prepare the mental palette of those watching at home and the numbers in attendance. In unison the team bows and exits, as existentially as it had entered. The exhale of the audience is grasped and entertained by colorful dancers, acrobats, the ghost like opera, and the astonishing coordination of [name] and her umbrella. Then the light shifts to the center ring.

The Master of ceremonies appears in the center of the boxing ring, a stocky man with commanding enthusiasm penetrating his larynx and double breasted pin-stripe, to announce that the show is underway and calls the first contestants forward. No turning back and no thought of such as each man immerges from a forest of spirits, volunteers from Warner Robins Air Force Base, masked and robbed like generals from ages shrouded in time and mystique. Specters holding banners, wielding large, commanding swords, clear the way for each competitor.

The first to enter the ring are undefeated Atlantian, Marshall Burger and Brazilian Andre Assis. Assis showcases an incredible defense, catching nearly every kick from the crowd favored Burger before dumping him like a laundry sack. Both Burger and the crowd had underestimated the Brazilian who shockes the world by driving Burger through the ring in the second round with an impact that even the ring's steel skeleton could not withstand. A hush fell on the audience as eyes gaped, mouths dropped, and the fight was continued on the lai-tai. Burger battles back. The fight goes to decision, but Burger can not overcome the deficit. The victory goes back to Brazil with Andre Assis whose fellow Brazilian, Edwardo Fujihira, would face another home-town hero, Steve "The Hit Man" Headden.

From the time that referee Garry Utterback drops his hands Headden and Fujihira explod with a stunning display of precision, power and never say die stamina. Headen, the crowd favorite, finds it better to give than to receive as he receives a bombardment of ruthless kicks to the head that made many normal men whence and buckle to watch; Headden absorbs the kicks and retaleates. Fujihira delivers three lightning fast, consecutive low rounds to the left leg, followed by a couple more to the head of Headden. Again, Headden shrugs and continues. At the end of third round however, Headden's corner man had seen enough, and lets the towel fall where Headden refuses. Edwardo Fujihira takes Brazil's second world championship of the night, but the Eastern Europeans will not be out done.

The "Russian Bear" Ruslan Adryuschenko proves no less relentless than his Brazilian counter parts as he squares up against Morrison Buttler, also of Atlanta, in a one-sided match that makes known the Russian's awesome artillery and defensive skill. Burger's defense of Adryuschenko's shock and awe assault proves ineffectual. Adryuschenko leaves Buttler out colder than the Siberian winter, but, in a display of grace and comradery, refuses to leave Buttler's side until both competitors can exit together. With the stage cleared, Gurevidius, gaunt and intimidating, saunders onto the lai-tai for the final fight of the evening. He is defending his world title against Patrick "the Pizza Man" Barry representing Shaolin, Atlanta. Barry, previously nervous, steps onto the matt - the lights, the stage, the crowd, the huge intimidating hulk in the opposite corner, and smiles. A look into Barry's eyes confirms that he is cool, calm and at home in the square. The two men salute, the gong sounds, and Gurevidius tests the waters, they're calm. Gurevidius throws a combo; Barry covers, and counters with calm, heavy blows - a right cross followed by a low left round. Each man sizes up, tests out, and tries his foe - Gurevidius with the intensity of an untamed stallion, and Barry with the concentrated precision of a seasoned general. The gong sounds, the fighters return to their corners, and Barry, who never sits between rounds looks to the crowd at his back and smiles; they counter with a cheer. The second round starts and both men explode with power and strategy learned from the previous round. Gurevidius throws punishing hand combinations and fierce leg attacks while Barry steps, covers, weaves, and counters setting up a lightning high round to Gurevidius's head that doesn't seam to faze him until the second one hits - Gurevidius stagers then continues his assault. Cool Barry explodes with another combination into a high round that leaves Gurevidius standing up to an eight count. He retaliates with heavy combinations, but he fight in Gurevidius's heart is met by another kick to his head and "the Pizza Man" delivers a K.O. for the belt, title and only U.S. victory of the night. As Gurevidius is being helped up, Barry raises, wet eyed and gloves still tied, to ringside and his mother. After a big hug from mom, Patrick "the Pizza Man" Barry receives the heavy weight world championship belt. Gurevidius removes his gloves, returns to congratulate Barry, and the two titans pose for photos exhibiting the high levels of competition and comradely that is the Art of War - where legends are made, one fight at a time.

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Kung Fu is a 3,000 year old ancient martial art re-developed by the Shaolin Monks of China used during times of war, now seen in sport as SANSHOU, a full body professional standing fight in the modern day ring incorporating every aspect of Kung Fu including kicks, punches, grabs, throws and interceptions. It is unlike any other fighting sport demanding incredible mental strategy and physical strength making it the most exciting standing fight existing in the world today.

The Shaolin Arts (as seen on Discovery Channel, TNT, CNN) have been portrayed in many movies such as Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon", Jet Li's "Shaolin Temple" and "Tai Chi Master", various Jacki Chan movies and David Carradine's TV Show "Kung Fu". The Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of all martial arts practiced in the world today and is safe to say Shaolin is "The" original martial art.

The current and only existing Professional Shaolin Sanshou Circuit in the United States today was displayed in 1994 at the 1st US Open Chinese Martial Arts Championship by Master Xiang Yang Liu, a 31st generation Shaolin Master (De Ru) with an undefeated 30 year Sanshou fighting career (both sanctioned and unsanctioned). At the time it was referred to as Kung Fu Sanshou, which meant Kung Fu "free fighting". It is, in essence, Kung Fu fighting in the ring and is now recognized as "Bringing the Ancient Arts into the Modern Day Ring." With Master Liu's command of Sanshou, he has been hosting his circuit (The Art of War) throughout the United States in order to generate interest in the American Market as well as the Olympic Committees. Currently there is a National Title Championship, a World Title Championship and Superstar World Team Title (5 member teams representing their country, currently Master Liu is the US National Team Head Coach) Championship all developed and hosted by Master Liu and sanctioned by his US Kung Fu Sanshou Federation.

The rules of Sanshou are very simple, because it is a Kung Fu fight, it utilizes extreme strategy and endurance skills. Any act of malicious behavior or of intentionally injuring another fighter is grounds for automatic disqualification. This is especially true during throws and grappling.

This fight is for true martial artists who incorporate their knowledge of tolerance, discipline and control under the most extreme set of circumstances. The true martial artist knows that Kung Fu is a genuine expression of movements and motion that comes from the individual. Not only to express the flow of energy from the individual, but to also understand and feel another's energy around them. It is a basic understanding that one microcosm of energy represents the universal energy; power, life-force, Qi.

Kung Fu is an art of motion and an art of healing through compassion, benevolence and servitude. The true martial artist always remembers the basic martial arts ethics and principles, without them martial arts becomes nothing more than simple physical exercise. Respect, tolerance, integrity, discipline and control under the most extreme circumstances are the essence of the Shaolin Temple, and therefore the essence of Master Liu's The ART OF WAR Professional Sanshou Circuit.