The Sifu Ryan Carden Memorial Tournament is an annual event put on by the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association, the governing body under which the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu operates. Every year, all of the schools within the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association get together to learn, test their mettle, and have fun. This is done to honor Sifu Ryan Carden, a former instructor and member of the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association.
The 2018 Sifu Ryan Carden Memorial Tournament was hosted at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu on August 3-5, 2018.
Sifu Ryan Carden began his journey in the martial arts in 1991 when he joined what was then called Fire and Water Martial Arts, under the direction of Dashi Gary Cecil. In 1994, he was awarded his first level Black Belt by Dashi Cecil and became the co-instructor of the Grand Forks school, along with Sifu Loren Ness.
In 2001, Sifu Carden left Grand Forks for Minneapolis/St. Paul, after earning a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from the University of North Dakota. For a short time, he operated a class in Burnsville, Minnesota, before joining Twin Cities Aikido to further his own studies. Since Sifu Carden's specialty was sparring, and, given the Twin Cities Aikido school was focused less on sparring and more on traditional Aikido, Sifu Carden left that school to study at National Karate, where he earned a Black Belt in 2010.
In 2011, Sifu Carden decided to return to his roots of Wu Chi Kung Fu and opened the Wu Chi Fighting Arts school in Burnsville, Minnesota, where he partnered with Lao Shi Scott Johnson, as an assistant instructor, and Sifu Loren Ness, in an advisory capacity, to teach students his version of the Wu Chi curriculum. He was awarded his 3rd level Black Belt by Dashi Cecil in 2008, in honor of his work both outside the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association, as well as his dedication to the association in creating the newest school.
Sifu Ryan Carden tragically passed away in March of 2013. In April of 2013, Dashi Cecil posthumously awarded Sifu Ryan Carden the title of Sifu and a 4th Degree Black Belt. It was at this time Dashi Cecil also proposed the Sifu Ryan Carden Memorial Tournament, as a way of honoring the contributions to our organization that Ryan made during his life.
The fifth annual tournament was a great success, having the largest turnout of any Sifu Ryan Carden Memorial Tournament thus far. We had representation from five Wu Chi schools, as well as from Minnesota Kung Fu.
We had 22 registered participants, including 8 instructors and a special visit from a high rank from India! We also had one advancement to black belt, 3 post-black belt advancements, and 3 advancements to green belt. More importantly, we bonded as an organization and grew as individuals by challenging ourselves and having fun.
The Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu sincerely appreciates the opportunity to host the fifth annual Sifu Ryan Carden Memorial Tournament, and we hope that you will join us next year at the Wu Chi School of Self Defense in Grand Forks.
The following are awards that were given as part of the tournament. This includes competition tracks, as well as non-competition awards to recognize contributions to the tournament, individual member schools, and the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association.
The embodiment of the Wu Chi Spirit award is an award given each year to the individual who best represents the principles and ethics of Wu Chi Kung Fu. During the tournament, Steve Phillips demonstrated significant personal development in pushing himself physically and intellectually. More importantly, he demonstrated a level of sportsmanship and leadership in competition that the instructors present felt embodied the ideals of the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association.
A new award this year, the 'Necessary Ninja' recognizes an individual for their contributions behind the scenes in assisting with the tournament. Amy was able to assist us in preparation of the tournament to the extent that, without her contributions, none of the events would have been possible. She organized sponsorship, coordinated pickup of food and beverages, set up all decorations and event visuals, and assisted with travel coordination for those coming in from out of town.
The following individuals were recognized at the tournament for having met the criteria for advancement to the next rank and for outstanding achievement showcasing their abilities and passion in the art of Wu Chi Kung Fu.
Take a look at some selected images from the tournament in the gallery below. Please note that there are a large number of other images that have not been placed on the web, just for lack of space. If you'd like to see more images of the tournament, please email Scott, and we can find a way to share them with you.
Our sponsors made a significant difference in our ability to put on an event of this caliber. Without the following businesses, the tournament would not have been possible. Please take a moment to visit their websites to see what products and services they have to offer. Thank you to all of our sponsors!