DC Senior Students Ian Glazer & Greg Wolfson made it to the Traditional Chinese Sword League 2011 National Tournament Finals. Ian was the defending Champion & Greg the previous year's Champ.
With three successful American national tournaments under their belts, the Traditional Chinese Sword League (TCSL) organized the First European Full Contact Chinese Swordplay tournament May 28 in Oldampt, Netherlands. Thirteen jianke (swordsmen) from four countries came together to test their skills and vie for the Champion's Prize, a Han dynasty stye jian, donated by CAS/Hanwei. After nearly four hours of play, Markova Kohv of Estonia emerged the Champion. Also competing were contestants from Germany, Great Britain, and, naturally, the Netherlands. Local help from the Dutch Jianfa Association (Jianfa.nl) was indispensable in training judges. TCSL Founder, Scott M. Rodell, acted as Head Referee.
The Tournament began with contestants being divided into two pools. As much as was possible, contestants from the same country or school were separated. Ceding for the direct elimination portion of the Tournament was decide by the result of the pool matches. Having a combination of both pool and direct elimination matches meant that every contestant had at least six matches.
The pool matches found two Germans, Andreas Wons and Dirk Kastner, in first and second places. Both Germans advanced to the semi-finals, but were knocked out by rivals from Estonia, Roland Tepp and Markova Kohv.
As to just how "full contact" this Full Contact tournament was, that question was answered by the very first pool match when a Dutch contestant, Henk Jensen met British player, Paul Andrews. After a minute of furious play, Andrews landed a downward cut to Jensen's head, stunning and knocking him down. Not every match was as dramatic, but in a tournament with hardwood swords, where there are no off limit targets, nor any disallowed blows, everyone wore home bruises as badges of honor.
With the first Tournament barely over, organizer have already begun working on next years TCSL European Tournament, which will be held in the spring in Netherlands. For more information about the Traditional Chinese Sword League, please see: www.sword league.com.