WICHITA, Kansas — Wichita’s Grace Wu-Monnat – an internationally renowned Master, teacher and judge of professional Chinese Martial Arts competitions worldwide – was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award on May 5, at the 2024 Tiger Claw Elite KungFuMagazine.com competition in San Jose, Calif. Tiger Claw Elite is the largest, most prestigious Kung Fu and Tai Chi tournament on the West Coast and one of the most important competitive arenas in the U.S.

Wu-Monnat has judged the competition for the past 18 years, critiquing Kung Fu, Modern Wushu, Tai Chi and other styles and disciplines. The Life Achievement Award was presented by event organizers to recognize Wu-Monnat for her lifetime career as an international competitor and judge, as a Master instructor in her own school, and for her contribution to promoting the spirit and practice various styles of Chinese martial arts and wude (martial ethics).

Locally, Wu-Monnat is best known as founder of the Grace Wu Kung Fu School at 122 N. St. Francis, where, since 1986, she has taught all forms of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Bagua to children and adults. She also serves as Office Manager for the law firm of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, which her husband, nationally known criminal defense attorney Dan Monnat, co-founded in 1985. It was through the law firm that Grace and Dan began to share the philosophy of Chinese martial arts beyond the sports world, incorporating the concepts of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” into the firm’s successful courtroom defense strategy.

Taking the concept a step further, the two developed a continuing legal education program to share the strategies and practical legal principles with thousands of lawyers across the country in their seminar, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Kung Fu Strategies for Trial.” The event is standing-room-only each time it is featured at national and regional legal conferences offered by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and others.

“Studying Chinese martial arts has brought physical health, mental strength, joy and better character to me,” Wu-Monnat said. “Wherever I am, it is always my honor to share this treasure of Chinese culture with the world.”

Wu-Monnat, whose family lineage of martial arts prowess stems back generations and multiple Grandmasters, is the daughter of Madame Wang Jurong and Dr. Wu Chengde, two of the earliest pioneers who brought Chinese martial arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine to the United States. Wu-Monnat began training under her mother and her grandfather, Grandmaster Wang Ziping, at age 3. She received her bachelor’s degree in Chinese Martial Arts from Shanghai Teachers University. After emigrating to the United States, she earned a Masters’ Degree in Sports Administration from Wichita State University.