Recent History of Oceania Wushu
11 July 2021
If we were to discuss the history of Christianity we would have to rely on the Synoptic Gospels (of Luke, Matthew and Mark). If we are to discuss the history of Wushu in Oceania, we have to rely on the Gospel of Glen (Keith) and Walt (Missingham) (https://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/OKWF-History.pdf). In both cases, you have to exercise trust: there is not much that would support the story narrated by either of these groups of fine warriors but, fortunately, we have business registries in Australia (ASIC – https://asic.gov.au/) and New Zealand (Companies Office – https://companies-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/), Court records (AustLII – http://www.austlii.edu.au/) and other official document depositories and that is where trustworthy information is patiently waiting for the public attention.
The documents used in this report are in public domain or were obtained from reliable sources. The authors will accept no responsibility for the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of any information included in the material obtained from third parties nor for the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of links or references to information sources (including Internet sites).
Prior to the IWUF Constitution 2015, it was not required for Continental Member Federations (currently, five) to be registered as non-profit organisations. Moreover, it was not required for them to be registered at all. This explains the fact that there are no traces of formally registered Oceania Wushu organisation before 2014. At the same time, both Australia and New Zealand – two major Oceania countries – had their national Wushu organisations registered. While Australian National Organisations for Wushu were, so to say, highly dynamic, New Zealand, since 1995, had one and only organisation: New Zealand Kung Fu, Wushu Federation Incorporated. Truly remarkable stability!
According to the Gospel of Glen & Walt, the unincorporated Oceania Wushu Federation was formed in 1998 with Australia and New Zealand as founding members (no other countries in the region were involved). How did it happen?
“During the 3rd IWUF Congress at the World Wushu Championships in Baltimore USA on Friday 18 August 1995, Glen Keith, President of the ‘New Zealand Chinese Martial Arts-International Wushu Council’ (later renamed to the ‘New Zealand Kung-Fu Wushu Federation’) presented a jointly drafted ‘Document of Intent’ on behalf of Australia and New Zealand to the Congress. The ‘Document of Intent’, proposing the formation of the Oceania Wushu Federation, was warmly received with great applause from all present due to the strong cooperation and good will demonstrated between New Zealand and Australia.
During the 4th IWUF Congress at the World Wushu Championships in Rome Italy in November 1997, all the IWUF member associations reached agreement that the IWUF should apply for the recognition of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so that Wushu will achieve further development in the world. It was noted that only if the IWUF has four continental member federations, would it be eligible to submit its application to the IOC. The IWUF Executive decided at that time to make the founding of the Oceania Wushu Federation (OWF) a key priority and entrusted its member associations of Australia and New Zealand to take the lead to establish the OWF.” (https://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/OKWF-History.pdf)
In other words, the International Wushu Wizards’ Execs, faced with enormous problem of joining even bigger Olympic Gods’ Pantheon, entrusted two hobbits with the creation of the missing element. Yes, this is the eternal fate of hobbits…
Well, they did it! Who knows how many icy mountains they had to climb, treacherous canyons to cross, deadly monsters to kill on that journey? Finally, our humble heroes were rewarded at the end of their challenging trip by…
… Dinner, of course. It took place at the Yangtze Restaurant in Wellington, New Zealand on 5 June 1998.
“… Guest of Honour at the meeting was Mr Wu Shaozu, President of the International Wushu Federation, Minister of State Sports Administration of China and President of the Chinese Olympic Committee. Representing New Zealand at the meeting was Mr Glen Keith, OWUF President and representing Australia was Mr Barry Page on behalf of Mr Walt Missingham, OWUF Senior Vice President. Also present at the meeting was Mr Peter Yu, past OWUF Secretary General and special guests Mr Kenneth Liu, Madam Shi Mei Lin and Jennifer King of Asia-NZ Foundation.” (Ibid.).
There is another reason why the 5th of June 1998 was a remarkable day. That’s exactly the same day when a brand new The Federation of Australia Kung Fu & Wu Shu Organisations Limited (FAKO II) was born and diligently registered. What a coincidence! Wait a minute! Wasn’t there already a registered National Wushu organisation? Yes, there was… and there wasn’t. The Federation of Australian Kung Fu and Wu Shu Organisations Ltd (FAKO I) – was deregistered in 1994 which did not stop the ASC (Australian Sports Commission) to continue its recognition all the way through the period of virtual non-existence of this particular NSO (National Sporting Organisation). Needless to say, the FAKO II effortlessly inherited the NSO status from its dead sibling. Note the very slight difference in their names created the impression of continuity.
With the dinner eaten, formal structures rebuilt, and Chinese officials delighted, the glorious history of the Oceania Wushu Federation began…
… and continued without any major structural changes until…
Oceania Wushu Federation: Development
“In 2012 the OWUF moved its administrative structure from an unincorporated body to a Limited Company incorporated in New Zealand. This was decided as a logical step in the development of OWUF as well as providing a more professional image.“ (Ibid.)
That’s what the Gospel says, and it must be true! The records (https://companies-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/) show, however, that Oceania Wushu Federation Limited (OWUF) was registered in New Zealand – not in 2012, as the Gospel says, but on 04 December 2014. Perhaps, the OWUF image would be even more professional if it remembered its own birth date…
The year 2012, however, was marked by another event, this time in Australia – the transfer of the status of a National Sporting Organisation from the Australian Kung Fu (Wu Shu) Federation (AKWF) to a newly formed Kung Fu Wushu Australia (KWA), by-passing the standard prescribed procedures with enormous help of the unassuming Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the International Wushu Federation. This transfer was subject of the Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the Wushu Council Australia to the ASC. The release of the corresponding documents was strongly opposed by the Kung Fu Wushu Australia but was eventually granted by the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (https://wushu-council.com.au/2018/02/kung-fu-x-files/) and exposed the technique of the transfer which, in the mildest terms, could be described as “unethical” (https://wushu-council.com.au/2018/10/kung-fu-x-files-end-of-season/).
Getting back to the newly formed Oceania Wushu Federation Limited (OWUF) with Mr Glen Keith as the President and Mr Walt Missingham as the Senior Vice President: It was registered as a non-profit organisation long before new requirements to Continental Organisations were introduced at the 13th IWUF Congress in 2015:
“… 5.2 be registered as a non-profit organization in accordance with the laws of where it is registered.” (IWUF Constitution 2015, Article 5: Responsibilities of Continental Federations)
The similar process of incorporation occurred in Europe too: On 6 March 2015, European Wushu Federation, and 27 May 2014 – European Wushu Kungfu Federation – were registered in the UK (it is not clear though why just two and not, say, five or six organisations?).
The new Oceania Federation could be expected to have a long and productive life, especially with such wise leaders and smooth storytellers as Messrs Keith & Missingham at its head. However, a tragic fate awaited the newly formed federation and one of its leaders.
Glen Keith’s Presidential Campaign
In May 2015, the OWUF President Mr Glen Keith, quite unexpectedly, decided to run for the position of the IWUF President. This is what he said:
“I want to offer IWUF members a ‘choice‘ of who they wish to represent them as President. This is the foundation of a true democracy. Whether I win or lose is not as important as members being aware of the key issues facing Wushu, and to know they have a strong ‘voice‘ in the future of Wushu. Democracy is fundamental to a fair and just society, and democratic elections ensure members, not leaders, are the true voice of an organisation. Having more than one candidate is a sign of a maturing organisation. For 21 years between 1990 and 2011 IWUF members have been ‘introduced’ to their new President at Congress, who was then elected with the clap of hands. This is not a democratic process, and it was only in 2011, when Raymond Smith entered his candidacy, that this changed. As a result of this, many things started to improve.
IWUF has had four Presidents: Li Menghua (China) 1990.10~1995.08 (5-years); Wu Shaozu (China) 1995.09~1999.11 (4 years); Li Zhijian (China); 1999.12~2003.10 (4 years); and currently Yu Zaiqing (China) 2003.11~2015.11 (12 years). President Yu has served three times longer than any other IWUF President. The list of issues facing IWUF is growing. It is time for Wushu to travel in a new direction. All it will take is a ‘vote for change’ or a ‘protest vote’. The future of Wushu is in your hands!” (www.glenkeith.org – removed)
Mr Glen Keith identified 20 (twenty) issues within the IWUF which negatively affect Wushu development, including (but not limited to):
1. Conflict of Interest
At that time, Mr Yu Zaiqing, the IWUF President, was also the President of the Chinese KarateDo Association. Karate and Wushu, as sports, were competitors for being included in Olympic program for the 2020 or 2024 Olympics. While this situation might be politically acceptable in China, for the most of the world, it would be considered a clear conflict of interest and would normally require the person to resign from one of the posts. Election Pledge: To address any potential conflict of interest in the future.
2. IWUF Membership
Often, essentially non-Wushu organisations are granted IWUF membership which creates confusion as to the composition and integrity of IWUF as an International Federation. Some organisations, having been accepted as members, do not participate in any IWUF events (so called “Post Box Organisations”) (Ironically, Mr Keith noted that 3 of the 5 Oceania National Federations appear to be Post Box organisations, set up presumably to boost IWUF membership…). The real problem with this is that there might be some other organisations in those countries who are genuinely interested in Wushu but don’t have any opportunity as their spot was already taken. Election Pledge (assumed): To address this situation.
3. Minutes of Meetings and Congresses
It is a normal practice for IWUF to send out the minutes one year later, just before the next meeting. This practice is most likely to originate from organisations that hold meetings quite often, say week or two when this is not a problem. Election Pledge: To change the way the Minutes are distributed.
4. Wushu Grading System
Most materials developed by the Traditional Wushu Committee and the Chinese Wushu Research Institute were still available in Chinese only which significantly hindered the global growth and development of Wushu and caused frustration among IWUF member federations. Election Pledge: To improve the Worldwide Wushu Grading System and make it available to all Wushu practitioners all over the world.
5. Financial Management
Apparently, the IWUF relies heavily on the Chinese National Olympic Committee’s sponsorship (US$1,000,000 per year) and other undisclosed contributions (about US$1,600,000 per year). However, no details of sponsorship agreements are available and IWUF financial statements often show incorrect amounts. Election Pledge: To make all income sources and expenditure items clear, transparent and accepted by the vote of Congress.
Members of IWUF Committees often are not qualified for their positions. Election Pledge: To make the Committee positions subject to a clear set of criteria.
The identified issues all made sense (most of them still do) but there was something that felt wrong about the entire campaign. First, do you really have to be the President to address these issues? Is the election of a new monarch the only way to introduce the democracy? If being a Vice-President is not enough to change the way how the Minutes of Meetings are distributed, then perhaps it is too late to dream about democracy, especially if the whole organisation exists thanks to the communist government sponsorship and you still want some financial transparency (?!). Second, it was reasonable to expect Mr Keith to secure at least some support among the Executive Committee Members (no need to think about silent obedient observers allowed to vote at the Congress as instructed), and it is most likely that he was promised such support from the same “friends” who, just before the Congress, convinced him that he did not stand a chance to be elected. Third, the whole campaign appeared somewhat half-hearted, as if the candidate expected to lose and was relieved when it was finally over.
This is how the “revolution” ended:
“Mr. Glen Keith, the Vice President and Presidential Candidate made a speech to the Congress regarding his withdrawal of nomination of candidacy for IWUF President and extended his congratulations to the incumbent President Mr. Yu Zaiqing on yet another new term. Mr. Keith also announced that he decided to step down from his current positions of Vice President of IWUF and the President of Oceania Wushu Federation effective from the end of the 13th WWC. He said he will continue his commitment and support to the IWUF and President Yu. He finally thanked Mr. Anthony Goh for his friendship, deep dedication and commitment to wushu of many years.” (Minutes of 13th IWUF Congress, Jakarta, 2015)
The political suicide committed by Mr Glen Keith seems so stupid and unexplainable that it would be tempting to write it off as a hopeless and naïve attempt to seize the power. Looking deeper, one would see it as the ultimate sacrifice to push Mr Missingham to the top of the IWUF hierarchy, possibly in exchange for the non-existent position of the Oceanian Senior Vice President. No doubt, he was encouraged to run for the presidential position by those who would benefit from his demise. In the past, Mr Keith willingly accepted the duty of removal of all “undesirable” people from IWUF representing Australia and New Zealand, and his style of communication with external Wushu organisations was absolutely stunning:
“Dear …, …
The involvement of [organisation name] in national, regional and international wushu administration and events is not warranted, needed nor desirable. I advise on behalf of OWUF and IWUF that KWA is, and will remain, the recognised governing body for Kung Fu/Wushu in Australia. OWUF, and as a consequence IWUF, does not intend to enter into any further correspondence with you or your organisation.” (Source: Letter of Glen Keith to Wushu Council Australia, 17 November 2014)
Yes, Mr Keith was happy to assume a higher power over the Australian Government and guarantee that KWA [Kung Fu Wushu Australia] would forever remain a National Sporting Organisation! And no involvement of any lower life forms, please. Equality? Discrimination? IWUF Constitution? No, never heard of it.
“2.9 To respect the principles of democracy, equality and harmony within the sport of wushu. To oppose all forms of racial, political, religious, cultural, ideological and gender discrimination and to oppose discrimination based on internal factions within the sport of wushu.” (IWUF Constitution 2015, Article 2: Mission and Objectives)
Anyway, the bright democratic ideas, having suddenly hit the unfortunate King Glen in the head, were promptly extinguished, and he had to assume a role he was accustomed to – a puppet of his former deputy. And that’s where the real game started – the Shell Game!
Oceanian Shell Game
The shell game as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch
In 2017, just before the 14th World Wushu Championships and the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) Congress in Kazan, Russia, the Wushu Herald (WH) asked Mr Glen Keith (GK), a former Vice President of the IWUF, to clarify several confusing facts about Oceania Wushu structure. He kindly agreed to answer the questions. (https://wushu-council.com.au/2017/09/oceania-wushu-multiple-representation-disorder/)
GK: The correct website is http://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/ and I am in the process of closing down the website http://www.oceaniawushu.org/, which is now redundant. I am also in the process of de-registering the formal structure associated with the Oceania Wushu Federation Limited.
WH: Accordingly, there are two organisations: Oceania Wushu Federation Limited (NZBN 9429041506516) and Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation Limited (ACN 159 557 892).
GK: There is only one official organisation, being Oceania Kung-Fu Wushu Federation Limited.
WH: The IWUF website states that the continental member for Oceania is Oceania Wushu Federation Limited although the contact details appear to be of Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation.
GK: I will remind the IWUF to update their website.
WH: Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation claims to have 12 members 10 of which appear to be in the process of formation. Their logos clearly show the streamlined approach to this process.
GK: I have no reason to dispute the information on the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation website with regards to membership.
GK: General Comment: In Jakarta 2015 at the IWUF Executive Meeting and Congress, and for personal reasons, I formally withdrew my candidacy for President of the International Wushu Federation. I also at this time (for the same personal reasons) decided to stand down from my role as President of the Oceania Wushu Federation. I recommended to IWUF that Mr Walt Missingham take my position as President, given he was the Senior Vice President of the Oceania Wushu Federation. This was later ratified by IWUF and Mr Missingham was duly nominated and elected. My current position in the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation is that of Senior Vice President.
What was that about? you might ask. Almost a year after the 13th IWUF Congress in Jakarta, on 19 December 2016, another company entered the scene. This is how it is presented in the Gospel of Glen and Walt:
“The new company ‘Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation Limited’ (OKWF), incorporated in Australia, reflects an increased ‘corporatized’ approach to management together with the new name that includes ‘kung fu’ which is essential if our ‘brand’ is to get the recognition it needs to grow in Oceania.” (https://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/OKWF-History.pdf)
The company, it turned out, was not new – it was the refurbished Kung Fu Wushu South Australia Limited (ABN: 40 159 557 892) – with some necessary changes in the board of directors and a new name, this time, Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation Limited. The status of Continental Federation was appropriated by this new player, as usual, with a signature smirk, quietly and without any boring formalities, leaving the observers bewildered and helpless.
The Masterclass on Replacing an Organisation (whether National or International), missed by many potential students in magic business management, can be summarised as follows:
Step 1: Find some unused company, registered 3-5 years ago (remember! A more professional image…).
Step 2: Kick old directors out.
Step 3: Install yourself and a couple of your loyal donkeys as new directors.
Step 4: Rename the company so that the new name is almost indistinguishable from that of the organisation you wish to replace.
Step 5: Assume any useful status of the old organisation.
Step 6: Get rid of the old organisation.
Step 7: Enjoy your albeit second-hand but shining and, what is most important, liability-free organisation.
That’s all, you losers!
Having the technical side of magic transformation of a South Australian company into the Continental Federation clarified, one question remains unanswered:
Why all these troubles? Just to include “Kung Fu” in the name? Wouldn’t it be easier to add “Kung Fu” to “Oceania Wushu Federation”? To increase “corporatized” approach? The refurbished South Australian company had exactly the same corporate status as the old “Oceania Wushu Federation”. Then why?
We don’t know exactly why but we know what potential benefits this move could bring.
1. The recycled company doesn’t have Mr Glen Keith as a director, and he cannot be a Vice President even if he believes so. He is completely out of business. There are no legal liabilities whatsoever.
2. The recycled company was registered in 2012, long enough to make an impression of a well-established business.
3. The recycled company allows to avoid new expenses on state registration.
4. And finally, the recycled company doesn’t inherit financial liabilities of the company it replaces. Whether OWUF had them or not we don’t know but getting rid of all debts is always good. By the way, this worked very well for AKWF (former National Federation) which was ordered to pay a substantial sum following the defeat in the Supreme Court of Victoria (https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VSC/2014/36.html). In normal circumstances, the company unable to pay its debts would be declared bankrupt, but AKWF avoided this liability by rebuilding itself as a completely new company (Kung Fu Wushu Australia) and guess what? Its leader is now a Vice-President of the IWUF instead of being banned from being a director altogether. Below: This debt, for example, has not been recovered yet…
Soon after successful coup-d’état in 2015, the completely upgraded, renovated and reinvigorated Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation was ready for a full-throttle expansion in the Pacific Region. It was logically and naturally driven by the new amendments to the Constitution regarding the composition of the Executive Board and approved by the 13th IWUF Congress in Jakarta:
“23.3 All Continental Federations, provided that they are consisting of 6 or more NFs, shall be entitled to nominate candidates from their own continent to serve as Additional Members on the Executive Board.
23.4 Continental Federations consisting of 8 or more NFs shall nominate one candidate from their own continent for the position of Vice President.” (IWUF Constitution 2015, Article 23: IWUF Executive Board)
And so, having procured a Letter of Credence from the IWUF President Mr Yu Zaiqing (see next page), Mr Missingham started his merciless campaign on implanting love to Kung Fu in the brains of innocent Pacific Islanders.
The IWUF President’s letter states, in non-ambiguous terms, that
“… the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation (ACN 159 557 892) is the continental federation of the International Wushu Federation.”
However, according to the IWUF Constitution, Article 4, items 1 & 2, the Continental Federations should be officially recognised by the IWUF. Obviously, the recognition is non-transferrable between two different legal entities, such as Oceania Wushu Federation Limited (NZBN: 9429041506516) and Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation Limited (ACN: 159 557 892), without the IWUF Congress formal resolution.
Note that between 19 December 2016, the Great Recycling Day, when a humble South Australian company suddenly became a power to reckon with in the Pacific, and 26 July 2017 when the IWUF President’s letter was issued, there was an extremely scarce opportunity for the IWUF to approve the new Continental Federation jumped out of nowhere.
Of course, such minor technicalities would never stop the Great Pacific Conquest. The starting position was four members:
with two of them identified by the former OWUF President Mr Glen Keith as “Post Box Organisations”. Never mind, Glen was by then just a mythic “Senior Vice President”!
The honour of the first friendly visit belonged to Vanuatu:
21 June 2017: “Vanuatu joins PNG, New Zealand and Australia in what is the expanding presence of Kung Fu Wushu in the Oceania region. This is an important step as we move to achieve the recognition of Kung Fu/Wushu as a Pacific Games sport. Jean Baptiste Leong and his team have my complete confidence in their capacity to advance kung fu/wushu participation in Vanuatu”(https://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/news/kung-fu-wushu-vanuatu-formed/)
Logical move, given that Vanuatu was the new home to Mr Brad Casey, Life Member of Kung Fu Wushu Australia, an old buddy of Walt and a happy owner of a local Health Resort Reflections Retreat Vanuatu who was duly appointed the Secretary General of Vanuatu Kung Fu Wushu Federation. Good start!
17 March 2018: “Norfolk Island is the latest addition to the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation. Our momentum now in the Oceania region is really starting to have an impact, I will shortly be visiting the Solomon Islands and Kiribati who have both expressed strong interest in being a part of the Oceania Wushu expansion, twelve active members by the years end is now a real possibility” (https://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/announcements/kung-fu-wushu-norfolk-island-underway/).
Sadly, Norfolk Island Kung Fu Wushu had a rather short history(https://wushu-council.com.au/2019/12/brief-history-of-tai-chi-kung-fu-wushu-in-norfolk-island/).
10 September 2018: “At the recent Executive Board Meeting in Macau Kung Fu Wushu Association of Papua New Guinea, Kung Fu Wushu Samoa & Kung Fu Wushu Solomon Islands were all accepted as IWUF members” (https://kungfuwushuaustralia.com/uncategorized/papua-new-guinea-samoa-and-solomon-islands-accepted-as-iwuf-members/)
That was just a general picture of how Pacific Islands joined the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation and the International Wushu Federation. Exact dates and order in which the organisations were formed and accepted as members are unknown. Particularly, the American Samoa is listed on the IWUF website, but it is not clear when and how it became a member.
Anyway, the goal of collecting eight Oceania members had been successfully reached! Well done! Vice Presidency was not a dream anymore…
A few years ago, the Wushu Herald illustrated the distribution of IWUF representatives relative to the population of the continents (https://wushu-council.com.au/2017/09/oceania-wushu-rules/). The same diagram, constructed in 2021, doesn’t show qualitative changes in proportions: Oceania still, with just 0.5% of the world population, enjoys unproportionate to its population share 8.5% of the total IWUF Committee members (2.5% increase since 2017).
Oceania Wushu Rising
The International Wushu Federation, in its practical policies and attitude, combines principles of the imperial China with the modern and slightly patched communist dogmatism. The Constitution is routinely violated, the most important decisions are made by the council of Elders and unanimously ratified by apathetic Congress attendees too afraid of being involved in any discussions and risking their fragile positions which they sincerely “like”. The Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation fits this environment remarkably well, especially after 2015.
It is not surprising then that the power of Oceania in the Executive Board and the Committees continues to rise. Political power is always volatile: within the IWUF, we have seen Secretary Generals falling out of favour, the whole federations suspended and resurrected, people of different degrees of morality coming and going, observers becoming Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents becoming observers…
A lot of good and bad things have happened and passed. And “this too shall pass” …