The Green Dragon Chinese Martial Arts School that is located in the heart of Bordentown City on the second floor of the Consolidated Fire Association has seen many former and current students achieve great success at the national, international and world levels over the years.
“We have had a very favorable tournament experience,” said the school’s Director and Chief Instructor Grandmaster S.L. Martin. “We compete in eight to 10 tournaments every year and have had people qualify for various competitions around the world.”
Emily Curley, who has been a Green Dragon student for the past 15 years, crossed off a first for the martial arts school during the World Kuoshu Tournament that was held in Rome, Italy, from May 13-15.
Curley became the school’s first female student to compete at the event and win a gold medal by placing first in the Empty Hand Southern Long-Fist Form category.
“It’s a great honor,” Curley said of her accomplishments. “This is the biggest stage in my martial arts field. To be the first woman from the school to compete in it shows the new students that girls can do this, too.”
Curley came away with a total of three medals at the world tournament, earning a bronze medal in both the Other Weapons and Light Contact Sparring categories.
This is the seventh edition of the World Kuoshu Tournament, which is held every three years. Master Devlin McConagly (2015) and Alexis Rodriguez (2018) both competed in the previous two World Kuoshu Tournament for the Green Dragon Chinese Martial Arts School.
McConagly won two gold medals and a silver medal, while Rodriguez won both a gold and a bronze medal.
Curley began competing in tournaments on a national level when she was 16 years old. She expanded to compete internationally in 2018 in her efforts to train and qualify for the World Kuoshu Tournament in 2021.
The 2021 edition of the World Kuoshu Tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and pushed back to 2022. Curley used the extra time to her advantage, continuing to perfect her technique and was able to qualify for the tournament last July.
The hard work didn’t stop there for Curley, who trained under the guidance of Grandmaster Martin and Master Judie Martin for the next 10 months at the Green Dragon Chinese Martial Arts School.
All the hours working hard at the martial arts school and practicing at home paid off for Curley when the time came to shine on the world stage.
“It was such an honor to compete at that level,” she said. “I worked incredibly hard and had great instruction from my Masters and Grandmaster to achieve these medals. All the hard work was worth it.”
The form of Chinese Martial Arts has been a passion of Curley’s since she was nine years old.
Curley, who is a resident of Pemberton Township, joined the Green Dragon Chinese Martial Arts School when it was located in Wrightstown.
The long standing reputation the school had in the Burlington County area and the interest her father, Ken, had in martial arts, drew Curley in deciding to join the school.
Curley says she has enjoyed every minute of her time with the school. She calls the school a family and added that everything she has learned from her peers and teachers has led to her having great success.
“This school means everything to me,” Curley said. “It has a deep tradition. It’s taught me a lot and everybody there has been there for me. It’s family and dedication above all.”
The Green Dragon Chinese Martial Arts School originated from Taiwan when it was known as the Green Dragon Kuo Shu Kwan of Taiwan. It became a charter school in the United States back in 1969.
Martin based the school out of the McGuire Air Force Base starting in 1970 before moving the school over to Bordentown in 1990.
The school stayed in Bordentown until 2001 when it moved to Wrightstown and made its way back to Bordentown last year.
Martin and his wife, Master Judie Martin, run the school. The couple are Bordentown Township residents and were both teachers at Clara Barton Elementary School.
Martin said the school’s return to the Bordentown community has been good so far as they try to rebuild the program since the pandemic.
News groups of children and adults have joined the school recently and Martin hopes more people will join in on the fun as the school continues to teach people qualities such as strength, quickness, flexibility, spirit and gracefulness through the art of Chinese Martial Arts.