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A typical wushu competition, here represented by the 10th All-China Games.


The sport of wushu is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was created in the People's Republic of Chinamarker after 1949, in an attempt to nationalize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts. Most of the modern competition forms (套路 taolu) were formed from their parent arts (see list below) by government-appointed committees. In contemporary times, wushu has become a truly international sport through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every two years; the first World Championships were held in 1991 in Beijing and won by Clark Zhang.

Competitive wushu is composed of two disciplines: taolu (套路; forms) and sanda (散打; sparring) Taolu involve martial art patterns and maneuvers for which competitors are judged and given points according to specific rules. The forms comprise basic movements (stances, kicks, punches, balances, jumps, sweeps and throws) based on aggregate categories traditional Chinese martial art style and can be changed for competitions to highlight one's strengths. Competitive forms have time limits that can range from 1 minute, 20 seconds for the some external styles to over five minutes for internal styles. Modern wushu competitors are increasingly training in aerial techniques such as 540 and 720 degree jumps and kicks to add more difficulty and style to their forms.

Sanda (sometimes called sanshou or Lei Tai) is a modern fighting method and sport influenced by traditional Chinese boxing, Chinese wrestling methods called Shuai Chiao and other Chinese grappling techniques such as Qin Na. It has all the combat aspects of wushu. Sanda appears much like kickboxing or Muay Thai, but includes many more grappling techniques. Sanda fighting competitions are often held alongside taolu or form competitions.

History

In 1958, the government established the All-China Wushu Association as an umbrella organization to regulate martial arts training. The Chinese State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports took the lead in creating standardized forms for most of the major arts. During this period, a national Wushu system that included standard forms, teaching curriculum, and instructor grading was established. Wushu was introduced at both the high school and university level. In 1979, the State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports created a special task force to teaching and practice of Wushu. Wushu literally means "martial methods". In 1986, the Chinese National Research Institute of Wushu was established as the central authority for the research and administration of Wushu activities in the People's Republic of China. Changing government policies and attitudes towards sports in general lead to the closing of the State Sports Commission (the central sports authority) in 1998. This closure is viewed as an attempt to partially de-politicize organized sports and move Chinese sport policies towards a more market-driven approach. As a result of these changing sociological factors within China, both traditional styles and modern Wushu approaches are being promoted by the Chinese government.

Events



  • Short Weapons
    • Dao (single-edged sword)
    • Jian (double-edged sword)
    • 太極劍 Taijijian (Taiji double-edged sword)
    • 南刀 Nandao (Southern single-edged sword)


  • Long Weapons


Most events were first set up in 1958.

These events are performed using compulsory or individual routines in competition. Compulsory routines are those routines that have been already created for the athlete, resulting in each athlete performing basically the same set. Individual routines are routines that an athlete creates with the aid of his/her coach, while following certain rules for difficulty.

In addition to events for individual routines, some wushu competitions also feature dual and group events. The dual event, also called duilian (对练), is an event in which there is some form of sparring with weapons, or without weapons or even using bare hands against weapons. The dual event is usually spectacular and actions are choreographed before hand. The group event, also known as jiti (集体), requires a group of people to perform together and smooth synchronization of actions are crucial. Usually, the group event also allows instrumental music to accompany the choreography during the performance. The carpet used for the group event is also larger than the one used for individual routines.

Previously, international wushu competitions most often used compulsory routines, while high-level competitions in China most often used individual routines. However, after the 2003 Wushu World Games in Macaumarker it was decided to opt for individual routines in international competition with nandu (难度; difficulty movements) added for additional point bonuses.

There is some controversy concerning the inclusion of nandu in wushu because many of the movements created for the specific events are not originally movements used in those styles. In addition the number of injuries which have resulted from the inclusion of these nandu have caused many people to question their inclusion.

Those who support the new difficulty requirements follow the assertion that they help to progress the sport and improve the overall physical quality of the athletes.

Main Events

Changquan refers to long-range extended wushu styles like Chaquan (查拳), Huaquan (華拳), Hongquan (洪拳; "flood fist"), and Shaolinquan (少林拳), but this wushu form is a modernized style derived from movements of these and other traditional styles. Changquan is the most widely-seen of the wushu forms, and includes speed, power,accuracy, and flexibility. Changquan is difficult to perform, requiring great flexibility and athleticism, and is often practised from a young age.

Nanquan refers to wushu styles originating in south Chinamarker (i.e., south of the Yangtze Rivermarker, including Hongjiaquan (洪家拳), Cailifoquan (蔡李佛拳), and Yongchunquan (詠春拳). Many are known for vigorous, athletic movements with very stable, low stances and intricate hand movements. This wushu form is a modern style derived from movements of these and other traditional southern styles. Nanquan typically requires less flexibility and has fewer acrobatics than Changquan, but it also requires greater leg stability and power generation through leg and hip coordination. This event was created in 1960.

Taijiquan is a wushu style famous for slow, relaxed movements, and often seen as an exercise method for the elderly. This wushu form is a modern recompilation based on the Yang (楊) style of Taijiquan, but also including movements of the Chen (陳), Wu (吳), Wu (武), and Sun (孫) styles.

Dao refers to any curved, one-sided sword/blade, but this wushu form is a Changquan method of using a medium-sized willow-leaf-shaped dao (柳葉刀).

Jian refers to any double-edged straight sword/blade, but this wushu form is a Changquan method of using the jian.

Gun refers to a long staff (wooden, not made of bamboo as it will split) as tall as the wrist of a person standing with his/her arms stretched upwards, but this wushu form is a Changquan method of using the gun.

Qiang refers to a flexible spear with red horse hair attached to the spearhead, but this wushu form is a Changquan method of using the qiang.

Taijijian is an event using the jian based on traditional Taijiquan jian methods.

Nandao is a weapon that appears to be based on the butterfly swords of Yongchunquan, but has been lengthened and changed so that only one is used (as opposed to a pair). This event is a Nanquan method, and was created in 1992.

Nangun is a Nanquan method of using the gun (Chinese word meaning staff, not to be confused with handgun). This event was created in 1992.

Other routines

The majority of routines used in the sport are new, modernized recompilations of traditional routines. However, routines taken directly from traditional styles, including the styles that are not part of standard events, may be performed in competition, especially in China. These routines generally do not garner as many points as their modern counterparts, and are performed in events separate from the compulsory routine events. Among these, the more commonly seen routines include:

Similarly, there is also a traditional weapons category, which often includes the following:

Competitions

List of major international and regional competitions featuring wushu:

Notable practitioners

For Sanda competitors, see the article on Sanshou.


  • Jet Li (李連杰) - possibly the most famous wushu practitioner in the world. He started wushu as a competition sport and gained fame as he took the National Wushu Champion of China title five times as an original member of the Beijing Wushu Team, he was later selected to demonstrate his wushu on the silver screen in the worldwide hit film Shaolin Temple. Many of his old teammates have also appeared on-screen with him, especially in his older movies.
  • Wu Jing (吳京) - Chinese actor who was sent to the Beijing Sports Institute at Shichahai in Beijing when he was 6 years old. Like Jet Li he competed as a member of the Beijing Wushu Team in national level wushu competitions in China. Both his father and grandfather were also martial artists
  • Ray Park - Showcased his skills in wushu in several major films, including his portrayal of Darth Maul in 1999's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, as well as Toad in the film X-Men (2000) and as stunt-double for Robin Shou and James Remar in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. He also heavily retrained prior to filming G.I. Joe., in which he portrayed the martial arts expert Snake-Eyes.
  • Voice actor Yuri Lowenthal is a practitioner of Wu Shu.
  • Jiang Bang Jun - a well respected international Wushu Champion. He was the Mens All Around Wushu Champion in 1996 and 1998. Personally invited to the Beijing Wushu Team by Wu Bin, he became the lead Athlete and Coach for the Beijing Wushu Team. Today, he has opened a Wushu school in Virginia Called PMAA (professional Martial Arts Academy).


Wushu as an Olympic event

The IWUF placed a bid to the International Olympic Committeemarker (IOC) to have wushu included in future Olympic Games, but did not meet with success. However, the IOC allowed China to organize an international wushu event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, but this event is not one of the 28 official Olympic sports, nor is it a demonstration event. Instead, it was called the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Wushu Tournament.

Footnotes

  1. International Wushu Federation. Wushu Sport.
  2. Wu Bin, Li xingdong and Yu Gongbao(1992), "Essentials of Chinese Wushu", Foreign Language Press, Beijing, ISBN 7-119-01477-3
  3. p.15
  4. , archived from the original on 2007-06-14.
  5. Jacky Wu's Bio Jacky WU Jing
  6. Rogge says wushu no "Olympic sport" in 2008


Training Books



See also



External links




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