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CelebrAsian Fest includes Asian heritage and sports


The 11th Annual Asian Heritage Festival, CelebrAsian, is rich in Asian culture year after year, and a big part of that culture is sports and athletic agility, skill and mastership.

Warrior Spirit Open Martial Arts Competition

“The Warrior Spirit Competition is about getting students to prepare for upcoming tournaments and gives them an advantage to get involved with what a tournament is like if they have never been in a tournament,” said Sifu Don Walth, martial arts chair, Eagle Claw Kung Fun and Tai Chi. “It helps build their confidence and give the student a means of awareness as to how to improve their own abilities.”

Warrior Spirit Martial Arts Forms Competition is on Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East Campus of the State Capitol Complex. After the competition, local schools will be performing until 6:30 p.m.

Warrior Spirit Martial Arts Forms Competition is on Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East Campus of the State Capitol Complex. After the competition, local schools will be performing until 6:30 p.m.

Martial artists demonstrate skills both empty handed as well as with a weapon. Some perform traditional techniques in the exact way they have been taught by their masters, while others will show off their own routine, a relatively new category to these types of competition. However, due to time constraints, the fighting section of this competition has been eliminated this year. They are judged on their forms, presence and their ability to perform and express themselves.


Table Tennis

Two men stand opposite one another. Not a word is spoken as anticipation builds for the first serve. Over-hand, back-hand, spinning or knuckle, it doesn’t matter. They all mean one thing: The table tennis match has begun.

“Iowa Asian Alliance (IAA) is excited about bringing table tennis to this year’s CelebrAsian Festival; it is a sport that bridges generations and borders and fosters friendly competition,” said Thai Burke, co-chair for CelebrAsian. “We have wanted to bring table tennis to CelebrAsian for several years and are ecstatic we finally worked out the logistics. This should be an interesting tournament as some of the best players in the state will be competing.”

Preliminary rounds took place on May 4 at Four Mile Community Center. The winners will now compete in the quarterfinals and finals at CelebrAsian.

Takraw Tournament

It’s volleyball meets hacky-sack. The Iowa Tekraw Foundation is joining up with the IAA to present the Fourth Annual Takraw Tournament during the CelebrAsian Festival. This exciting event helps to preserve this ancient, traditional and cultural Asian sport. The high-intensity game combines the athleticism of a warrior and the dexterity of a gymnast. Competitors fling their bodies to and fro with the goal of getting the takraw ball over the net. It’s a game for everyone, so long as you’ve got the eye-foot coordination.

Teams will battle a best-of-three series in order to advance to the final rounds. All will compete for trophies and cash prizes. The prize money depends on the total number of registered teams. If a minimum of 11 teams register, prize money will be $1,000 for first place, $300 for second place and $150 for third. For more information, contact Mani Lovan at or 515-554-0712. CV

David Rowley is cinefile/journalist/gumshoe from Des Moines who is always prepared with a pen in his pocket feverishly searching for that “perfect level of ridiculous that makes the absurd desirable.”

The 11th Annual Asian Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the State Capitol Complex — East Campus (East Grand between East 13th and East 14th Street). The event is hosted by Iowa Asian Alliance and Mediacom. Admission is free. Events take place all day.

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