Wushu

Chinese Martial Arts
Wushu is the Chinese word for martial arts. “Wu” translates into English as “martial” and “Shu” translates into “art.” The meaning behind the word encompasses everything to do with the art of fighting. It also refers to the moderization of martial arts and the sport version.

Kung Fu
In the west it is more common to use the word Kung Fu to refer to Chinese martial arts. But in China “kung fu” is used to describe the quality behind a given subject. Both “wushu” and “kung fu” are are synonymous. Kung Fu means an art or activity that takes time, energy, and patience. It is also translated as “hard work.” It is used to describe anything of the highest quality. It infers that the given subject has true substance beyond mere surface beauty. It can be used for any subject, cooking, painting, calligraphy, and martial arts.

Modernization, Sports, and Traditions
The creation of martial arts in any country was for survival and military purposes. They are the by-products of war, turbulent history and cultural movements. China had a dueling culture for centuries. It was similar to the dueling culture in France, where the differences between individuals were solved by dueling with swords. China’s dueling culture dissappeared in the twentieth century due to constant war (The Boxer Rebellion, civil war, The Sino-Japanese War, World War II, and Cultural Revolution), and modern war technology. In modern times, wushu has evolved to include a sport version just as boxing, wrestling, and fencing evolved in other cultures. The traditions of historical wushu are the foundation of the modern arts. The formal traditional arts also continue to be passed down from generation to generation.

The Sport Version
The sport version of wushu has been organized into a system with a single set of standards used for judging competition. There are four main categories:

  • Changquan (Long Fist)
  • Nanquan (South Fist)
  • Taijiquan (also known as Tai Chi)
  • Sanshou (sparring)

The first three categories are often referred to as “compulsory sets”.

Modern Training
The four main sport categories are just the tip of the iceberg, as modern wushu training also encompasses the traditional forms of the art. Authentic wushu is a rich combination of culture, traditional martial arts, and modernization.

Today’s wushu artist has the best of both the new and traditional:

  • Competes in both compulsory and traditional categories.
  • Learns and trains in the traditional arts, exercises, and philosophy.
  • Learns and trains in the contemporary arts. Trains with modern scientific approaches and advancements.