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Newsletter - 1st January 2013

News From Fire Dragon Australia

2012 in Hindsight

Fire Dragon started 2012 with a change to training times: bringing both Beginners and Seniors classes forwards half an hour to make students' family life a bit easier. With classes recommencing on January 5th, students started training for the Demonstration season, with two scheduled as part of the National Multicultural Festival.

The Multicultural Festival was great fun, as it is every year; our smaller demonstration on Saturday 11th February was a hit with the audience, but in a sense was just a precursor to the big event - the Chinese New Year Celebrations on Sunday 12th. Fire Dragon was given pride of place - the last place on the programme, as the team assembled to help Grand Master Hardy break his own Guinness World Record TM. As a precursor, Minister Joy Burch was invited to take up an invitation to stand on Grandmaster Hardy's chest while he lay on a bed of nails - which she did, as recorded in the Canberra Times!

The Canberra Times article with Minister Joy Burch on Grandmaster Hardy's chest
The Canberra Times article with Minister Joy Burch on Grandmaster Hardy's chest

On the day of the World Record attempt itself, the Chinese New Year celebrations - for the Year of the Dragon - were traditionally noisy and chaotic. Fire Dragon's demonstration was moved a bit, to help other performers, and then we decided to have the World Record attempt off stage, on the ground, to avoid risking the weight of concrete breaking the stage!

Despite the delays and changes, Fire Dragon performed professionally, and then set up for the final. Grandmaster Hardy took three attempts to get through his stack of concrete, but then the World Record attempt started. All the concrete had been pre-weighed under the supervision of independent observers, as was the preparation of the bed of nails (each one 2" from its neighbours), and the concrete stacked next to the bed of nails. Grandmaster Hardy lay down on his nails, and then it started. Under the supervision of Master Bellchambers, the team laid two concrete strips on a board on his teacher, then the other strips on those two. All 15 strips, each weighing 50kg or more, were used. Then Master Bellchambers swung the sledgehammer, and everyone dived in and took broken concrete off Grandmaster Hardy. When all was finished, he stood up and displayed his back - there were a few dents, but no holes!, and stated his claim to a new Guinness World Record: 774.99 kg of concrete broken on his chest while lying on a bed of nails! It took a couple of months - but when all the paperwork had been sent in, Guinness World Records confirmed his claim, and Grandmaster Hardy, with his Fire Dragon team, had broken his own record - by a significant amount.

Sifu Ingrid Bean and Elinor Jean showing the spirit of the Dragon
Sifu Ingrid Bean and Elinor Jean showing the spirit of the Dragon
Wasu Michael O'Connor and Simon Jordan - not to be out-peformed
Wasu Michael O'Connor and Simon Jordan - not to be out-peformed
And the sidekicks are thrown!
And the sidekicks are thrown!
Wasu Scott Savage airborne
Wasu Scott Savage airborne
Grandmaster Hardy using Chi Gung exercise to prepare for the feat.
Grandmaster Hardy using Chi Gung exercise to prepare for the feat.
The concrete strips are laid
The concrete strips are laid
The first hammer blow
The first hammer blow
The end in sight - not that Grandmaster Hardy can see this!
The end in sight - not that Grandmaster Hardy can see this!
Minister Joy Burch congratulates Grandmaster Hardy
Minister Joy Burch congratulates Grandmaster Hardy
The Fire Dragon Team
The Fire Dragon Team

A celebration lunch was held for Fire Dragon members and their families later in the year - on 17th August.

Guinness World Record ceriticate
Guinness World Record ceriticate
Munching
Munching
More munching
More munching
And more!
And more!
And still more
And still more

Training in the Year of the Dragon continued through the year, with students making significant progress. However, everyone, student and instructor alike - experiences times in their training when it seems progress is slow, or perhaps impossible. It is an important life-lesson to understand that sometimes progress can be very slow, or can be difficult to notice. Never the less, continued application to practice and learning does bear fruit. And, students can always ask their teacher. Sometimes a different perspective can help, but very often, your teacher will be able to show you the advances you have made through diligent and intelligent training!

December proved a busy month in the Year of the Dragon, with a demonstration at Wanniassa Primary School on the 1st - a small group of Australian Dragons put on a good show, which stunned those watching.

Some of the action
Some of the action
Master Bellchambers shattering the bottom from a bottle
Master Bellchambers shattering the bottom from a bottle
Grandmaster Hardy performing a modest break - 3 hebel blocks without spacers
Grandmaster Hardy performing a modest break - 3 hebel blocks without spacers
A smashing time while enjoying a bed of nails
A smashing time while enjoying a bed of nails
The Fire Dragon team. L - R: Master Bellchambers, Elinor Jesan, Doug Hovi, Grandmaster Hardy, Kaye Buchanan, Sifu Wells, Wasu Kilimnik and Graeme Quinn
The Fire Dragon team. L - R: Master Bellchambers, Elinor Jesan, Doug Hovi, Grandmaster Hardy, Kaye Buchanan, Sifu Wells, Wasu Kilimnik and Graeme Quinn

And the next Day, Sunday 2 December, Grandmaster Hardy held a Half-Day Course in Pai Lum for Fire Dragon students, with fighting techniques, forms, and the concept of flow explored in depth.

The Year finished with the annual Christmas Dinner on 15th December. While a good occasion, this year's Christmas was also sad, as the Club bid farewell to Huang Zi Hou, who had been a keen student for several years, but left with his family for Brisbane. Zi Hou had been a delight to have in class, and the Club wished him all the best for his future.

The eating has commenced!
The eating has commenced!
Families tucking in
Families tucking in
Govinder Singh and his family also enjoying some good food!
Govinder Singh and his family also enjoying some good food!
Grandmaster Hardy with ZiHao
Grandmaster Hardy with ZiHao
Food is everything! Master Bellchambers and his wife Sophie
Food is everything! Master Bellchambers and his wife Sophie

The Annual Niket Rewal Award for excellence was presented this year to Govinder Singh. It is awarded to the student who has best shown a desire and a capacity to follow the Way of the White Dragon throughout the year, and this Sikh warrior well deserved his award!

The winner of the 2012 Niket Rewal Award for devotion to the Way of the White Dragon - Govinder Singh
The winner of the 2012 Niket Rewal Award for devotion to the Way of the White Dragon - Govinder Singh

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