Paris Bercy Martial Arts Festival

Martina Downey reports

Patricia Downey recently competed in the Long Beach Internationals Martial Arts Festival & Competition in California, USA. The event took place on Sunday 9thAugust and Patricia took first place in her division. 

The world famous Paris Bercy martial arts festival featured American Kenpo for the first time ever at the 2002 event. The festival is televised extensively across Europe and Japan and is a showcase for Martial art styles from around the world. The Bercy stadium is an indoor arena, which seats thirty-five thousand spectators and has two giant television screens. The stadium is multipurpose venue and hosts many varied events including indoor Jet Ski racing which was the event been promoted for the weekend after the martial arts event. The exterior of the Bercy stadium looks like a Pyramid with the main outer walls being covered completely with grass rising at an angle of 45 degrees gives visitors an impressive reception prior to entering the stadium; the stadium is a testament to French design and fashion.

The styles featured at the festival included: Viet Vo Dao, Penchak Silat, Hapikido, Wu Shu, Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan, Kyokushinkai, Judo, Savate to name but few and of course the The American Kenpo demonstration team which consisted of Jeff Speakman 6th degree, Edward Downey 6th degree, Anthony Taylor 4th degree, Trevor Sherman 3rd degree, Antranig Barseghian 3rd degree, Berj Parseghian 2nd degree and Ramon Lerma 1st degree. The Kenpo demonstration featured the unique forms and self-defence techniques of American Kenpo and was designed to give the massive audience in the Bercy stadium an insight into Ed Parker’s revolutionary style.

Edward Downey said"The thoughts of facing Thirty-five thousand people to demonstrate your style was daunting" "but myself and all the members of the team focused on the fact that we were making Kenpo history:" We were fulfilling Ed Parker’s dream of having his art displayed to the world and in this respect we felt that the Bercy festival of Martial arts will be a major milestone in Kenpo’s development within Europe".

The Kenpo demonstration team entered the arena to the sounds of Kenny Loggins and Messina, "Danger Zone" and completed their demonstration to "I got the Power" by Snap. There was roar applause as the American Kenpo Team exited having completed a flawless demonstration.