May 2021 | In book: Expériences du corps vivant | Publisher: L’Harmattan
In spite of their inexhaustible variety, martial practices and energy medicines from China (wushu, taiji quan, qi gong, etc.) share at least one common element: they all stress the importance of shenfa (身法), an operative concept for which symptomatically we cannot give a satisfactory account with any direct translation. As an ability to link body parts together, shenfa presents itself as the master cog of body mechanics; but more importantly, it represents the cognitive condition of those activities, whether aimed at caring for health or seeking martial efficacy. Shenfa, as a non-mediated determinism of the uninhibited “living body,” free(d) from the grasp of consciousness or will, acts sponte sua, far from the stiffness and inflexibility of models, and the arbitrariness of representations. In the Chinese context, shenfa imposes itself as a legitimate and natural operationalization of principles inherited from Taoism (« 無為 », « 道法自然 », etc.), which are among the primary foundations of the Chinese civilisation. What about elsewhere? Untranslatable in itself into western languages, do we have the tools to at least understand the expression? And what about Japan? The two characters forming the word shenfa (身法) do exist in Japanese, but are never associated. How can the Japanese neighbours understand it nevertheless? In short, we will pursue the exploration of the living body’s potentialities through a minute investigation of the conditions under which we can really understand this ‘simple’ notion of shenfa.
Alexandre Legendre is a PhD student employed as a teaching and research assistant at Paris Descartes University (Sport sciences, Techniques et Enjeux du Corps Laboratory). His current research focuses on Chinese martial arts, scrutinized through the lens of anthropology, sinology and philosophy.
In July 2020, the 2020 Summer Olympics were originally set to kick off. Karate is also set to be included a sport in the Olympics at this time, something that Wushu has failed to achieve with multiple attempts. There are numerous factors for this, which surround different factors of each respective sport, including the communal, modal, and political. This write-up will discuss where Karate has succeeded where Wushu has failed, and suggest what possible solutions are.
Matt began practicing Wushu at the age of 7 under US Wushu Academy, and is a coach of the UMBC Wushu Club. He has held positions in national, international, and local modern Wushu competitions, and is currently training in Sanshou/Sanda, traditional Chen Style Taijiquan and zhanzhuang. He is a former four-time consecutive US Wushu Team member, former Pan American Champion and multiple times Pan American Championships medalist, and is continually trying to improve himself both as a competitive athlete and as a real martial artist. If you have any questions you would like to ask Matt, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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/).
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” …
Appendix: Oceania Wushu / Kung Fu Timeline (2012 – 2021)
Currently, there are two organisations in Europe each claiming to be the Continental Member of the International Wushu Federation (IWUF). The dispute between them is likely to be handled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but in the meantime and regardless of the outcome, it might be useful to analyse the historical background of the current dispute and the reasons for its evolution from misunderstanding to full-scale confrontation.
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).
The IWUF Constitution (2009) did not explicitly prescribed the procedure of approval for Continental Members but, according to general formalities, an organisation was supposed to apply for its membership to the IWUF Secretariat providing, apart from a written application, its constitution, a report on Wushu activities in their relevant area, completed questionnaire and a prescribed application fee (note: it was not required to provide a proof of formal registration of the organisation). The application was supposed to be considered by the Executive Committee and, if approved, the applicant would become a Provisional Member until it is approved by the Congress after which the Full Membership would be granted.
The IWUF Constitution (2013) contained additional requirement: “… a federation must submit a letter of recommendation or a certificate of recognition endorsed by the National Olympic Committee or Sports Authority of its nation or region.” However, there are still, to the best of our knowledge, no explicit requirement for Member Organisations (either National or Continental) to be formally incorporated in their respective legislation although it is included in their so called “responsibilities” which are not clearly enforceable:
“… 5.2 Each Continental Federation shall be registered as a non-profit organization in accordance with the laws of where it is registered.”
IWUF Constitution 2015
The importance of formal incorporation is often underestimated which leads to messy organisational structures, incompetent and irresponsible management and neglect of both the companies’ rules and general corporate legislation.
These unfortunate phenomena are clearly illustrated by the timeline of European Wushu development since 2011. Only formally incorporated organisations are considered here. The period before that time appears to be completely free of any corporate formalities.
11 March 2011: Following the alleged enquiries from the National representatives regarding the formal status of the European Wushu Federation, a non-profit organisation Europese Wushu Federatie was registered by Patrick Van Campenhout, then IWUF and EWUF Treasurer / Secretary General (?) in Belgium. Accordingly, the accounts of both IWUF and EWUF were connected to the newly created organisation.
17 March 2011: Almost simultaneously, another organisation was created by Mr Raymond Smith (the EWUF President) – EWUF LIMITED (NZBN 9429031181099) in New Zealand. Mr. Smith was (and still is) the sole Director and Shareholder of this company.
21 March 2012: Dr Raymond Smith registers another Private Limited Company, this time in the UK – EWUF Grading Limited – Company Number 08000243 – with himself as the sole Director. The company’s fate was to remain dormant until it was dissolved on 26 January 2021 following the application to strike the company off the register lodged on 29 October 2020.
27 December 2012: Yet another Private Limited Company – EWUF LTD – Company Number 08341673 – was incorporated in the UK. The registered officers were:
Dr Raymond William Smith, Director, resident of NZ (27/12/2012 – current)
Robert William Eagle, Director, resident of England (04/04/2014 – 02/09/2015)
The company is about to be dissolved (Application to strike the company off the register was lodged on 10 May 2021).
10 April 2013: A historic event – EWUF Congress 2013 – was held in RIN Grand Hotel, Bucharest, Romania.
“Many important issues were discussed including the creation of a new advisory body called the ‘EWUF Executive Council’. The aim of this Council is to help improve the work of the federation. It will allow more people to be involved in the decision-making process of the EWUFʼs strategy and tactics for our future development.”
The entire Executive Board was re-elected following resignation of Mr Van Campenhout from the post of the EWUF Secretary General leading to some surprising results.
Another important decision was an amendment to the Constitution allowing EWUF officers and EC members to be elected on a personal basis.
Congress discussed serious discrepancies in EWUF accounts previously managed by Mr Patrick Van Campenhout, and it was decided to carry out an in-depth audit of the accounts for the period in question. It was also decided to move accounts to the UK, close the Belgium organisation and replace it with an international Non-Profit Organisation in the UK. The EWUF President Raymond Smith was given the authority to proceed with the registration formalities. The newly elected second EWUF Vice-President Mr Petru Grindeanu was appointed as an administrator of Europese Wushu Federatie, presumably to control the transition of the accounts.
The Congress report paints a remarkable picture. First, the primary concern of the EB members was not about the status of their organisation, its proper legal registration and functioning, but rather technical details of where the accounts are. They were not bothered by the fact that they actually do not have legal rights to be the members of the Executive Board as it is normally formed from the company directors and none of them were directors except Raymond Smith. They were not bothered by the fact that Raymond Smith is the director of at least four other companies (one of which is registered in New Zealand which is not the closest part of the globe to Europe). They did not have a feeling that they are supposed to be managing the company and be aware of what company it was. They operated as if they were still an unincorporated community organisation.
The Newsletter is opened by Voice of the President where it was proudly announced that “a company called EWUF Limited was established in readiness for Congress who accepted it. As a result of the decision of Congress EWUF Limited exists and trades as the European Wushu Federation.” Note that EWUF Limited is a NZ company, whereas European Wushu Federation and European Wushu Kungfu Federation were yet to be incorporated almost two years later.
06 March 2015: Almost a year later, Mr Raymond Smith finally proceeded with implementation of the Congress decision to register an International Non-Profit Organisation in the UK and registered a new Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital – European Wushu Federation (Company number: 09474491). The registered directors were:
Stewart Gordon Beckett (resident of the UK)
Raymond William Smith (resident of the UK)
On 19 March 2015 (two weeks after registration), Raymond Smith resigned from his post but returned on 6 May – as a resident of New Zealand.
The company appeared to be dormant and is about to be dissolved (Application to strike the company off the register was lodged on 10 May 2021). Remember this date – 10 May 2021!
27 May 2015: As if 5 (Five)! EUWF Organisations were not enough, another new Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital – European Wushu Kungfu Federation (Company number: 09609005) – was created. The registered directors were:
Stewart Gordon Beckett (resident of the UK)
Raymond William Smith (resident of the UK)
On 11 August 2015 (two weeks after registration), Raymond Smith resigned from his post but returned on 20 June 2016 – as a resident of New Zealand.
20 June 2015: As a final step in implementation of the EWUF Congress 2013 decisions, Europese Wushu Federatie was dissolved. It is unclear which of the five organisations under Mr Raymond Smith became the accounts holder but most likely, it was the European Wushu Kungfu Federation.
Maybe because it had a magic “Kungfu” word in it?
19 September 2019: The Wushu Federation of Bulgaria (WFB) requested the IWUF to declare the EWUF nominations for the IWUF Executive Board invalid due to the fact that the EWUF was never approved by the IWUF Congress as a Continental Federation. The letter signed by the President of WFB Mr Stefan Kolev also contains criticism of EWUF policies:
“… Bulgaria calls on the IWUF President to declare invalid the EWUF nominations for the IWUF executive board members (term 2019-2023). In the meantime, due to unfair, undemocratic, illiberal and non-transparent policies perpetrated by the EWUF, Bulgaria also requests an exception of the IWUF Constitution (to be accepted by the upcoming IWUF Congress) that allow the European National Wushu Federations to send their nominations for the positions of Vice Presidents and additional members for the IWUF Executive Board members (term 2019-2023) regarding the Continent of Europe.”
This letter seems to be a part of a greater plan designed to trigger the chain of events leading to destabilisation of the EWUF and, due to its significant role on the world scope, the International Wushu Federation in general.
13 December 2019: A new non-profit company – European Wushu Federation (EUWUF), was registered in Belgium:
The registered board of directors contained mostly familiar people:
Patrick Van Campenhout
It is very interesting to note that Mr Patrick Van Campenhout, the President of this new body, and Mr. Petar Dragoev, the other instrumental person in this affair, retained their positions in the IWUF Marketing and Development Committee and the Traditional Wushu Committee respectively which is a direct violation of the IWUF Constitution:
“… 11.4 Recognize the IWUF as the only worldwide governing body for wushu in all its forms and ensure that none of their Executive Board members and officials participate in, hold any official positions in, or support in any way or take part in the activities of other conflicting international organizations.”
IWUF Constitution 2015, article 11: Responsibilities of Continental Federations, NFs and Associate Members
It would be reasonable to expect some swift disciplinary actions undertaken by the IWUF Executive Board as a reaction to such a bold violation of the Constitution. The actions have been undertaken indeed but not against those expected (see below).
04 January 2020: The First General Assembly of EUWUF took place in Brussels.
“… 4 January 2020 was a historic day for European wushu sport.European wushu federation that has been the recognised member of IWUF till 2014 is now reinstated in Brussels. The first General Assembly of the reinstated federation was held on January 4th in the offices of Pharum Legal in Brussels. 12 national federations and 1 regional federation, founders of the European wushu federation (EUWUF), were represented on the meeting by their delegates or by proxy votes. The founding countries of the EUWUF are: Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey and Balkan wushu federation. From two countries, observers were present: from Spain, Juan Peres, and from Portugal- Pedro Ferreira. The General Assembly was constituted and the statutes of the EUWUF were accepted by the delegates. Upon the candidacy proposals – Patrick Van Campenhout was proposed and elected for the President of the EUWUF. The president then proposed a list for executive members which was accepted by the GA.”
April – May 2021: The letter from the IWUF Secretary General Zhang Qiuping of 16 April 2021 came as a shock to the entire European (and World) Wushu community. The letter informed that the IWUF Executive Board decided to follow the recommendation of the newly established (just in time!) Ethics Committee in connection with an ongoing investigation of the EWUF activities and,
“… in accordance with Art. J.3 of the IWUF Code of Ethics and Art. 36 of the IWUF Constitution, to impose the following provisional measures on the EWUF effective immediately:
The recognition of EWUF as Continental Federation for the European Continent in the meaning of Art. 4.1 of the IWUF Constitution is provisionally suspended.
The provisional suspension of the recognition of EWUF as Continental Federation shall not prohibit any European IWUF member nor any European athlete to continue to be a member of IWUF and/or continue to participate at any competition supported, approved or organized by IWUF and/or its members.”
No particulars were given as to why so drastic measures were necessary. In their News Update, the EUWF Executive Board assured the EWUF Members that there was no wrongdoing on its part and the Board intends to resolve the dispute in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Another letter from the IWUF Secretary General of 10 May 2021 confirmed that:
“The IWUF Ethics Committee is currently investigating actions and behaviours of several individuals related to EWUF and that seem to have committed serious violations of the IWUF Constitution, of the IWUF rules, and possibly also of applicable state laws.”
This letter triggered the series of actions by Mr Raymond Smith who immediately lodged the applications to strike off 2 out of 4 remaining companies under his care: European Wushu Federation (registered on 16 March 2015) and EWUF LTD (registered on 27 December 2012). They will be dissolved in July-August 2021, but will it resolve the problems with the IWUF and the Ethics Committee with their high moral standards?
European Wushu Fractured
In the meantime, the new (or, as Mr Van Campenhout prefers to say, reinstated organisation seems to be gathering momentum and looks confident which is not surprising at all. Their corporate structure is relatively clean (at least, if compared to that of the EWUF) and their optimism and resolution are unshakeable. However, the time and time only will show who is right.
Mr Urs Krebs, former IWUF Treasurer, who knows a thing or two about IWUF internal politics, gave the following prognosis:
“For the moment, the IWuF looks like the winner. Even they stated that the European members are still members and they and their athletes still can participate at IWuF events. But Europe will face disadvantages. The Asian and specifically the Chinese leaders have no opposition now. Together with the Panamerican and Oceanian Federations they have a majority that they can push their agenda without any resistance of the European EB members. The IWuF will be a totally Chinese Federation again. A sweet victory? It looks like, but when we look closer it’s a pyrrhic victory. Because IWuF will lose the case in CAS. In court you need facts, not antipathy. For a suspension you need a transparent procedure f.e. like a published Code of Ethics. And you have to give the other party the right to be heard. If a decision is made there should be the possibility for an appeal. Things that are obviously not happening. And we not even mentioned that the real problem is the secession of some European countries that should have been provisionally suspended and investigated (with correct procedures though). So, at the end the IWuF will lose the case at CAS. But they will not only lose the case. They are losing the rest of unity of the Wushu society. Maybe there will be even a split because: Who wants to work and cooperate with a Federation that is ruthless in such a way by bullying inconvenient members and only works for taking personal advantages of some of its staff? So, with the process the IWuF started here they started their own downfall. The IWuF will become obsolete. And the Olympic dream? Destroyed with their own actions. Fanned away with Taiji fans (another incomprehensible decision, choosing an event for the Youth Olympic Games that never have been an event on a Championship before). And when we will look at what happened some years later, we will ask ourselves: How could they be so stupid to dig their own grave?”
(Source: “The Last Prophecy” by Urs Krebs)
Above is the European Wushu map. It always starts from the Balkans, doesn’t it?
Appendix: European Wushu / Kung Fu Organisations Timeline
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