Wilkinson and Cox look to put on a show at kung fu tournament

  • Photograph by Akil Simmons

It takes two to tango: Wilkinson, left, and Cox train at Aries Sports Centre in Windsor Place on Queen Street in preparation for the Pan American Kung Fu and Taijiquan Championships in Puntarenas

Garon Wilkinson and Kaelin Cox will represent Bermuda at the Second Pan American Kung Fu and Taijiquan Championships in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

The pair, who were unable to enter at last’s inaugural competition, headed to Central America yesterday and will compete in their events on Saturday and Sunday.

Hosted by the Pan American Wushu Federation, of which the Bermuda Sanshou Association is affiliated, the championships features both individual and traditional events.

More than 140 competitors from eight countries — Bermuda, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago — are involved in the championships.

Wilkinson and Cox will both compete in the 18 to 39 category in weapons — including chain whip, three-sectional staff and the rope dart — as well as the two-man fighting set.

“Anyone who has watched a kung fu film will have seen two-man fighting sets because all of the fighting in those movies are a bunch of fighting sets choreographed and put together,” Wilkinson said.

Cox will also take part in the open-handed form of southern-style kung fu.

“I think we’re both in good shape,” said Wilkinson, who has competed in traditional kung fu for about 30 years.

“Over the past couple of months we’ve trained hard and I expect a good showing. I’m looking forward to the experience and I think we’ll be very competitive.

Cox, 21, who attends St Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, credited his father Dwayne Cox for inspiring him to take up kung fu at a young age.

“When I was young I was an active and rough kid,” said Cox, who like Wilkinson is a student of Sifu David Simons from the Wing Lam Kung Fu School on the corner of Roberts Avenue and Palmetto Road.

“My daddy used to train me in the backyard and show the basic punches, blocks and kicks. I took a keen interest and that’s what got me into kung fu. Hopefully we can both do well in Costa Rica.”

The BSA will have three fighters, Reyel Bowen, Sentwali Woolridge and Krista Dyer, in action at the World Wushu Championships in Kazan, Russia, next month.