Young Kung Fu fans flocked to the Dubai British School in Springs over the weekend as the UAE Shaolin Kung Fu tournament honoured the best fighters produced by the Martial Arts school in recent years.
The event was held on the final day of the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship and, while UAE Shaolin Kung Fu tournament was held at a relatively smaller level, the success of both these events is testament to how UAE is quickly becoming a hotbed for the Martial Arts community around the world.
Sheikha Meera Al Maktoum, 10, was among the 93 participants, who dazzled the crowd with her amazing Kung Fu skills that she had picked up under the tutelage of Master Hang Zang, Chief Master at UAE Shaolin.
“I really love Kung Fu because it teaches us discipline and improves self-confidence,” the 10-year-old Emirati princess told Sport360°. “Ever since I have started learning Kung Fu, I feel like I have more energy. I didn’t know how to punch or kick, but as I kept training and practicing, I really noticed the improvement in my performance.”
Sheikha Meera currently holds a blue belt and won first place in the Lian Huan Quan category of the competition, which is the preliminary Shaolin Kung Fu Form.
As a girl practicing Kung Fu, she never felt like she was out of place and insists that the sport is suited for both genders.
Moreover, the youngster wants to continue training and hone her Martial Arts skills, so she can represent UAE in international competitions.
“I want to be number one. My goal is to get my black belt and go for more competitions so I can represent my country,” she said.
Sheikha Meera is following in the footsteps of her relative Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum, who was a gifted Martial Artist herself and went on to represent the UAE, competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Taekwondo’s 67kg category while also capturing a silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Karate.
The first tournament was held in December 2018 but was a relatively low-key event. In comparison to last year, the turnout this year was better, but Chief Master Hang Zang feels that there is still a massive room for improvement.
“We were expecting more students to join, but due to time constraints we were unable to get the numbers we wanted. For the Expo 2020, we are planning to hold another tournament, which is going to be huge and we are going to Kung Fu practitioners and fans from all over the world. However, we cannot achieve this goal alone and we will need support from all the relevant authorities,” Master Hang said.
UAE Shaolin Kung Fu School is located in Tecom, Dubai and offer training in all major forms of Kung Fu and Tai Chi. For more information, click here.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Jiu-Jitsu World Tour’s fifth and final leg began in London on Saturday at the Copper Box Arena, where some of the world’s best black belts’ entertained British fans with a display of the highest level of jiu-jitsu.
In the much-anticipated match between Paulo Miyao and Isaac Doederlein in the adult 69kg finals, Miyao won via 4-2 points decision after a tough fight and Brazil’s Thamara Silva took the gold in the female adult 70kg against Samantha Cook.
More than 2,000 fans attended day one at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, creating an energetic atmosphere in the venue to cheer on the superstar black belts and also the brown and purple belts.
With a stacked line-up of some of the best black belts in the sport of jiu-jitsu featuring Mayssa Bastos, Silva, Cook, Gabrieli Pessanha, Hiago George, Joao Miyao, Paulo Miyao, Tiago Bravo, Doederlein, Lucas Barbosa, Adam Wardzinski, Ricardo Evangelista, Igor Silva and many more, the brackets produced some skillful performances.
Commenting on his win at the 69kg male adult black belt category, Miyao said: “I am obviously delighted with the gold medal today, this rounds off a perfect season for me at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
“I am now going to rest and recover for tomorrow’s King of Mats competition, which is a very tough competition to win.”
Miyao, who is one the best jiu-jitsu black belts in the world, has been made the favorite to win the Abu Dhabi King of Mats title.
“I have seen that the media has mentioned me as being the favorite, and the fans expect me to win the Abu Dhabi King of Mats title easily, but I don’t see it that way,” he added.
“I don’t think it will be as easy as they think, because we do not have much time to rest between each match and the line-up is the best of the best.”
Commenting on her win at the 70kg female adult brown/black belt category, Brazil’s Silva, who has also won gold in Tokyo, Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi this season, said “The 70kg category is one of the most skilled and toughest, so it’s great to win here in London.
“A city where jiu-jitsu is growing and I have to say, a lot of that credit goes to UAEJJF for their continued support and investment in the sport. I am looking forward to compete next at the Abu Dhabi World Pro in April.”
Fencer Noora Al Braiki, part of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA) elite programme, recently won three medals at the Cadet and Junior Arabian Tournament in Kuwait.
The FBMA congratulated Al Braiki on her recent victories ahead of her upcoming tournament at the FIE World Cup in Austria.
She only joined the FBMA elite athlete programme in November: a programme dedicated to the development of girls 16 and over, offering training in a variety of sports after a stringent selection process.
Only three months later she has started her journey as a successful Emirati fencer. During the tournament in Kuwait, Al Braiki won gold in three categories as part of the UAE team: junior, youth and team.
Speaking about her win and her upcoming event in Austria, Al Braiki said: “Winning these medals is an absolute honour for me.
“It is a reflection of my hard work and dedication to the sport, and I would like to thank not only my family for all their support, but my coach and the sterling encouragement from the academy.
“I’m encouraged by this recent competition ahead of my trip to Austria next week. There will be some excellent fencers competing and I hope I can do the academy, my family and the United Arab Emirates proud. God willing I will perform my best.”
Al Braiki is now gearing up for the FIE World Cup in Austria, where she will compete in the ladies foil junior individual and team events. Taking place from February 16-17, you can follow Al Braiki’s progress via the FBMA’s Instagram account as she will be doing a social media takeover. You can keep up to date with her progress at ADFBMA.
Fatima Al Ameri, from FBMA, said: “As we continue to nurture the talent of female athletes across the capital, it is a delight to see Noora Al Braiki win so strongly in Kuwait this month.
“Having Noora as part of the academy is testament to our mission to promote and further develop Emirati talent, and with a view to honour and celebrate Emirati athletes with an ultimate goal of prompting local participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and instituting a culture of sports participation and excellence in Emirati society.
“We wish her all the best of luck in the upcoming Austrian competition.”