International martial arts championship comes to Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

International martial arts championship comes to Lubbock

Audrey Meeks and her mom practicing (source:KCBD) Audrey Meeks and her mom practicing (source:KCBD)
(source: KCBD) (source: KCBD)

While Olympians from the United States compete in Rio, an international martial arts competition is about to begin right here in Lubbock.

It's the 11th annual Pan-American Wushu Championships.

This competition happens every two years, and this is only the second time it's been held in the United States.

Twelve countries will be represented at this competition right here in the Hub City.

Team USA is made up of members from across the country, as well as local athletes.

One of those local athletes is Audrey Meeks, and you wouldn't think she started out as a ballerina

"I went straight from ballet and I was like oh, I want to try this. And so I just went ahead and tried it, and I loved it," Meeks said.

Fast forward eight years later, and this 15 year old is representing United Martial Arts Training Center in Lubbock on Team USA at the Pan-American Wushu Championships in the martial arts sport called Sanda.

"Here locally we have the Sanda facility where we train Chinese mixed martial arts, wrestling, take downs, boxing," opening ceremony coordinator David Monte said.

Audrey is undefeated, and headed to Worlds in Bulgaria next month.

"I'm undefeated, 15 and 0," she said. "I've worked really hard to get to where I am right now to be undefeated. And you have to train constantly to get that record."

And Audrey gets to train with her mom right by her side.

"It's a bonding experience. It's really nice to be able to do something with a family member that nobody else would do," Meeks said.

Like all of these athletes, Audrey practices day in and day out.

"You're watching the Olympic athletes this week compete, and these athletes are truly of the same caliber," event coordinator Patti Conner said.

Conner says there's a good chance we could see these sports in the Olympics soon.

"Pan American Championships are for sports that are not currently Olympic sports but that are trying to become an Olympic sport," she said.

Athletes from 12 different countries, all coming together under one roof here in Lubbock, putting their whole hearts into this competition.

"People all over the world love this sport and it's everybody's passion that's doing it," Meeks said. "It just makes me so warm inside to think that everybody in the world does this exact same sport as me."

United Martial Arts coach Ian Lee competed in the last Pan-American Championship, which led to Lubbock going for an receiving the bid to be the host city.

The competition starts Friday morning and runs through Sunday at City Bank Coliseum.

Friday and Saturday runs from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday runs from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door.

For information, visit

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