Talk:Wushu (term)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject China  
WikiProject icon This redirect is within the scope of WikiProject China, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of China related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This redirect does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.

Please add new material to the bottom of this page. Thanks.

Wushu vs Chinese martial arts[edit]

Hello, all. New to the game. I've been lurking for a while in areas that interest me, and have found that there's a fair amount of wrangling going on re: Kung Fu versus Wushu, etc. I would not presume to just start editing, but I thought instead to join in here in order to clarify a few points.

First, Kung Fu (more properly, Kung Fu Wu Su) and Wushu are not the same thing, and, therefore, a merging of these topics areas would be in error. Kung Fu Wu Su translates to "the disciplined techniques of the arts martial" - a reference to both armed and unarmed combat, strategy, the movements of a single man, or an entire force. Contemporary Wushu is a performance art that teaches technique, but not application. As Ai Ping Sifu -- a 3 time World Wushu Champion -- would say, "I do not teach the 'chi' ('ki', J.; 'prana', I.).

Secondly, the reference to martial technique as 'Kung Fu' was a misinterpretation on the part of Christian missionaries. When these individuals saw people practicing Tai Ch'i and Chi Kung in the parks, they asked, "What is that?" and the reply came, "Hard work." -- the response was intended as a joke, but it's subtlety was lost and, hence, the nominclature was born.

Also, all due respect to Kennethtennyson -- he speaks of the legend of Bodhidharma and the origin of hand-to-hand combat in India, both. These two topics are intertwined... Martial arts as a discipline was likely first codified under Hu'ang Ti, the Yellow Emperor, and this was, again, likely, the Mongolian Wrestling known as Shan Sou (Three Throws) and what is now referred to as Spring Leg or Muslim Kung Fu Wu Su -- the art of the guards of the Forbidden City.

The Shaolin Temple was ordered constructed in 496. Records (specifically, 'The Lives of Venerable Saints' scroll) show that Bodhidharma arrived in the North around 490. It is likely he gained entrance into the Temple as a teacher around 480.

Shaolin was a refuge for brigands and former military, as well as a place of worship. It is likely that what Bodhidharma brought to Shaolin was Hatha Yoga (the discipline of breath and body) and an Indian martial art called Kaliripyattu (When The Body Becomes All Eyes -- a reference to the Goddess Kali), as well as his particular form of Buddhist practice (Ch'an, C.; Zen, J.). The Muscle Changing Classic attributed to Bodhidharma is clearly a dynamic version of Yoga asana (postures), and the Marrow Washing Classic derives, also quite clearly, from Kriya Yoga practice. The 18 Lohan Ch'uan (18 Hands of the Enlightened Ones) is likely a derivative of Kaliripyattu, if not a foundation form. Kaliripyattu has its roots in Yoga.

Finally, all this confusion over soft arts, hard arts, animal forms, martial forms... There is no difference between hard/soft/internal/external, as is professed in the West. All arts, traditionally taught, start hard and end soft; start external and end internal...this is a gauge of progress and proficiency, not a classification system. Animal and Nature styles are generally Taoist in origin. Combat styles (like Chin N'a) have a specific application/intention (e.g., close quarters). Displine techniques (Iron Robe, Iron Fist, Copper Palm, etc.) also have a specific intention.

Just my 2 cents...

mjformica 0830 EST 05 Dec 2005

I see that a lot of updates have been made to this article, which is always good. However, it seems that a lot of the newest additions would fit better in Chinese martial arts. Right now we have a general history and explanation of styles in both Chinese martial arts and wushu that look very similar to each other. This kind of duplication should be avoided.

As mentioned before, the idea of this article has been that it would explain the term wushu and how it's being used in various contexts, and that we would put the information on Chinese martial arts in its separate article. We have also been planning on separating contemporary wushu from this article, but have been too lazy.

This has been the general idea for a while, and following this I think much of the newly added information should be moved from here and merged with Chinese martial arts. If you do not agree, please do say so.

Another thing: how can we make it more clear that the main information on Chinese martial arts is placed in its own article? This could be good to clarify in the kung fu article as well.

-Wintran 11:08, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

First of all let me correct a mistake written by Mjformica on his "Shan Sou." The correct pin yin spelling is San Shou. San can mean "three" or "free/scattered" depending on the tone. The correct spelling which is San Shou means "free hand." So the literal translation means "free hand" fighting. In many of the forms of Chinese Martial Arts there is San Shou training. San Shou training means sparring with no weapons. There is also a specific Chinese Martial Art which is called San Shou or San Da that should not be confused with San Shou training. San Da is a form of wrestling and throwing techniques.

Second I would like to add that there is a difference between Internal/Soft martial arts vs External/Hard martial arts. The more "advanced" martial arts or "complete" martial arts include internal training and external training. They can start out hard and migrate to soft or start out soft then migrate to hard which creates its duo harmony of the yin and yang aspect. Chen Taiji is a "complete" internal martial art. Chen Taiji trains you both internal and external application. Chen Taiji migrates from soft to hard unlike Yang Taiji. The original Shaolin martial art is a "complete" martial art that migrates from hard to soft. Internal training involves qi training or neijing which is of regulating the health of the body. External training means conditioning the body of the external physique. So it is safe to say that Chen Taiji or Taiji is an internal martial art and Shaolin martial art is an external martial art because of its initial progression.

Third correction of Mjformica is that there should not be any confusion about the Huang Di (Hu'ang Ti), the Yellow Emperor book and the teachings of Bodhidharma (aka Buddha) that was passed down to the Shaolin Monks. The Huang Di book is of documented text of a young emperor and his dialogue between his physician which reveals the understanding of health. It is also a basic and foundation of Chinese Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM.) Though Buddha's teaching and Huang Di book has similarity they are not the same. It only shows that there has been many wise and knowledgable elderly in both the Persian empire and Chinese empire. Buddha himself was Persian and not Chinese. It is widely known that both the Persian Empire and the Chinese empire commonly shared knowledge among the scholars.

Wushu is not Kung Fu.
I am of Chinese descendent and I have been practicing Chinese Martial Art for most of my life. Kung Fu itself can have several meanings depending on how it is used. Kung Fu may mean "hard work" but if used among Martial Arts practitioner it means "skills developed through hard work." Kung Fu in broad/general meaning means "hard work." Then there are narrow meanings which is dependent on context clue and circumstance.

Wushu is an organization created in China to preserve the Martial Arts in China. Though the Chinese characters of Wushu may mean "something skill." Wushu does not equal to Kung Fu. It just so happened that the Chinese Government created this organization called Wushu. Wushu itself has evolved to be competitions of performers who can impress the audience with flashy moves with no significance in combat capability. So many of the confusion has been through misinterpretation by the common person without knowledge of Chinese Martial Arts. After watching Fearless the movie with Jet Li, it was disappointing to see the translation of Kung Fu meaning Wushu. This is wrongly misinterpreted, just like many of the translation from Chinese to English. I believe many of the translation from Chinese to English translation has been misinterpreted/ mistranslated by common people.

In America it has been commonly accepted that Kung Fu is a form of Chinese Martial Art. Kung Fu itself is NOT a Chinese Martial Art. If you see an instructor that tells you he teaches Kung Fu, I would specifically question him on what kind of Kung Fu does he teach. If he does not tell you specifically then it is good to say that he is not a master and not worthy of teaching you. Kung Fu can mean Martial Art. So it is safe to say that any kind of martial art is Kung Fu.

Separation between Wushu Character meaning vs Contemporary Wushu
There should be separation of Wushu character meaning vs contemporary Wushu as a competition. Sadly to say Wushu practitioner are not Chinese Martial Artist. Most Wushu performers have no skills in fighting or self defense. They are nothing more then performers. Even the weapons they use are made intentionally to be flashy. Jet Li is the only exception to this. He trained to perform then migrated his skills to self defense. It could also be because of him and his background that the common people wrongly misinterpreted Kung Fu as Wushu.

Infozestguy (talk) 12:03, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

General discussions[edit]

Please see Talk:Kung_Fu for discussions of some important updates.

- Wintran 15:52 Feb 16, 2003 (UTC)

I have added a dimension to the Wushu page. Right now I am very busy, but I have a good book written in Chinese that gives a comprehensive look at wushu, which I can mine for information and a fully informed perspective. Like "budo" in Japanese, Chinese wushu covers any skill used in person-to-person combat. So it is more than quan2 fa3 (= fist method = Jpn. kempo), AKA gongfu. (Let's stick with a romanization system that at least has a chance of helping people avoid horrible pronunciations.)Patrick0Moran 03:54, 2 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Somebody has capitalized "aikido". That word is not a proper noun. It should not be capitalized any more than one would capitalize "wrestling" or "boxing."

As the name of a distinct school af Japanese martial arts, Aikido is a proper noun, at least to martial artists. Fire Star 18:00, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Please supply substantiation (citations) for this claim. The first aikido book I grabbed from my bookshelf, Dynamic Aikido, by Gozo Shioda, Kodansha, says in the Preface: "The object of this book is to provide an introduction to aikido..." Kodansha is a major Japanese publisher in the martial arts area. I doubt that they overlook mistakes. There are distinct styles of aikido, but aikido is not a distinct style itself. We do not capitalize karate, budo, judo, etc., why should aikido be different? P0M 18:12, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Just in case the above citation was not sufficient, in the third volume of the authoritative 3-volume set on Japanese martial arts by Donn F. Draeger, Modern Bujutsu & Budo, p. 48-49, he refers to "kendo, judo, karate-do, and aiki-do."


I am a professional martial arts teacher, a student of the Wu Chien-ch'uan family of Hong Kong. It is considered polite among my peers in the business to capitalise, in English at least, the names of different schools. Taijiquan (or T'ai Chi Ch'uan) is commonly capitalised in our usage, as is Karate, Judo, what have you. Aikido is a distinct style, formulated and named by one man, Morihei Ueshiba, in 1942. Its subsequent elaboration by his students still doesn't give it anywhere near the differentiation of say, Shaolinquan or Wudangquan, which have longer histories and still aren't considered generic in the sense of non-style-specific technical terms such as "wrestling" or "sparring." Aikido has many aspects in its training, different elements beyond locking techniques, they train falls, throws, weapons, etc., and it is their particular emphasis on training those elements that makes them unique in the martial arts marketplace. The recent variations of Aikido presently practised have a lot more in common with each other than they have with any other schools.

Here is the first paragraph of the second chapter of Mark Bishop's Okinawan Karate, 1989, A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd, ISBN 0713656662 (the title of the chapter is just the names of the four styles mentioned):

"To avoid confusion, these styles, excluding modern day Pangai-noon-ryu, have been arranged in their historical order of introduction to Okinawa, but actually Goju-ryu is the most well known of them in the West. Uechi-ryu, due to the efforts of George E. Matteson, comes a close second, whereas Ryuei-ryu, whose introduction from Fuchou actually preceded the other two, is little known even Okinawa. The similarities (both historical and technical) between these three styles are obvious, more than suggesting a common root of origin, which is believed by some to be a form of Pa-kua and Shaolin Temple boxing taught at Fuchou in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries."

To be fair, I have also seen the capitalisation scheme you describe at least as often. Modern English usage is not written in stone, it is constantly evolving and you'll have to forgive me if I have chosen a means of expression (as a native speaker and a professional in the field) which I and others believe to be a bit more respectful of other schools than our own. If you care to revert back to aikido, I won't change it.

Regards, Fire Star 05:44, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] I am more familiar with the karate side of things (and the Chinese martial arts traditions). Unfortunately I seem to have been "assigned" to straighten out the Kung Fu, Gung Fu, Gongfu... articles. So I'm already involved in one kind of "spelling" issue. Anyway, strange though it may seem, I had never noticed people capitalizing "Aikido" before. I think an important question would be whether everybody who teaches it counts Ueshiba Morihei as the ultimate fount of authority for their own teaching. That isn't the case with karate, since some of Funakoshi Gichin's students went on to form Shotokan Karate, some formed Wado, etc.

[P0M:] The grammar school rule is clear, proper nouns get capitalized and common nouns do not. It is very clear that "karate" is not a proper noun, since it was originally a general term for martial arts techniques that had come from China. And even when Funakoshi Gichin brought karate to Japan and people began to speak of "karate-do", there were already other teachers and "karate-do" became an umbrella terms. So if you look for the "head of department" of karate in Japan, I think the best you can do is to find yourself in the offices of a Karate-do Federation -- but there are at least 3 of those. So you wouldn't capitalize karate, but you would capitalize it in context of the name of one of the federations.

[P0M:] It is my understanding that qin'na preceded aiki-jutsu, and that aiki-jutsu preceded aiki-do. But whether there is a single "Aikido," and a single master to whom all "Aikido" teachers trace their tradition and regard as their source of legitimacy, I am not sure. There was enough going on around Mr. Ueshiba's time for there to have been other people teaching similar things, calling their teachings "aiki-jutsu". Did they not appropriate the term "aikido" for their own as soon as it gained currency?

[P0M:] Now that I think of it, it's a bit strange that within China everybody wants to be regarded as, e.g., a Shaolin quan teacher -- even if they may deviate from somebody else's practice a little. On the other hand, when those techniques pass to Okinawa, to Japan, and also to Korea they become several "different" things.

[P0M:] I just checked. In Ki in Daily Life, Koichi Tohei's translator does not capitalize, and in Budo Training in Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba's tranlator does capitalize. Is that perhaps because Mr. Tohei set off on his own? It's also not capitalized in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, which is published by Tuttle and so must have had pretty good editorial work done on it.

[P0M:] If you don't mind, I think I will stick with "aikido" for the time being, but along with the other organizing I'm going to have to do I will try to find some principled way of deciding the issue.

Greetings Patrick,

"Karate" definitely has a generic feel to it for me, at least in English. It (and perhaps judo) was practically synonymous with all Asian martial arts for most Westerners from WWII until very recently.

It doesn't surprise me that Ueshiba's translator uses a capital A. Probably the most scholarly Western writer on T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Douglas Wile, does not capitalise "t'ai chi ch'uan" routinely but practically everyone else does. You may bet that I'll be paying a lot more attention to who does and who doesn't from now on!

Chinese martial arts are such a complicated subject, you have the (never easy) English/Mandarin divide, as well as English/Cantonese, Cantonese/Mandarin and then you have similar terms in common usage from the Japanese and Korean languages to consider...

Cheers, Fire Star 21:23, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

removed from the article (please amend if necessary):

this is a wikipedia stub. Any one know the official wushu as promoted by China please add. For example, what are the main competitions, when did China start to promote wushu, is it being introdoced into Olympics, exactly what type of competitions are there in wushu, does wushu actually have fighting competitions like boxing or takendo or is it just coreographed fight? ...

I've done some major updates of totally rewritten articles. Please see Chinese martial arts and its talk page for further details.

- Wintran 00:15, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The meaning of 武 is often repeated as written in this article, but I don't think it is correct - the reason being that although the character is made up of 止 and 戈, 止 used to mean 趾 (Chinese characters do evolve through time). The latter character means foot, or toes, or perhaps to walk.

Also, 戈 is a special weapon that looks like a medium-length stick with a dagger stuck on the end (at a right angle). It is not very much like a halberd. The weapon was very common in ancient China, but was phased out, because it was less effective than later swords and spears.

Edededed 04:03, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hi. Even though I know some about Chinese martial arts I do not know Chinese very well. The way the translation was done in this article was that I combined what I've read and heard in other contexts. Because of this I cannot guarantee that it is all correct, even though I've done my best to find reliable sources. Please feel free to change whatever you see fit.
- Wintran 11:50, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

武 means martial, or related to the military, in an actual Chinese dictionary (I'm using a Taiwanese mandarin dictionary). I don't know what's up with all this "stop war" business. You are misusing the etymology of a character to derive the meaning. The definition of the character, in every context know, pertains to martial, or having to do with war. (talk) 21:23, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Hello. I know a bit of Chinese, but I am no native speaker, either. In any case, even native speakers normally do not know the original meanings of Chinese characters, because they only know the characters they see - you have to look at older, archaic versions of characters to see the original meanings, or you have to know the old meanings of the characters (Sinologists are the most familiar with this).

Anyway, I would have to look up the precise definition in a book somewhere before I can edit this section of this article (if I do). In the meantime, I have added a large new section on modern wushu.

I am not entirely sure on several things:

  • Is Taijijian a common event? I think it is, but I don't remember so clearly...
  • I don't remember the 'open' event names very well, so I left them out.

Edededed 03:01, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Great to see a well-written text about contemporary wushu! My only concern is where we should place it. The idea I had when I made my major updates was to put the meaning of the terms "kung fu" and "wushu" in separate articles, and use Chinese martial arts to describe common attributes of Chinese martial arts, while linking to articles with more detailed descriptions of individual styles. However, modern wushu is a bit more complex, as it's not a style itself but rather a compilation of styles adapted for competition. I'm not sure if it would fit in Chinese martial arts, if it should remain here in wushu or if we should make a new article for modern wushu. What are your opinions in this matter? I'm leaning towards option number 3, to create a new article that is entirely devoted to modern wushu, but I'm not certain. Also, do any of you know if there's an official name for modern/contemporary wushu, and what name is used in China?
About your questions, I'm not sure either, but I'll help you look these things up. I think Taijijian is a fairly common event like you said, at least in major competitions such as those held in China.
- Wintran 15:06, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I am glad that you like the article! Yes, I am not so sure where this article belongs, since in many ways people don't agree with the meaning of the name. I think that the official name of this sport is 'wushu', which would support keeping this article here, but there are also many who say that wushu is a blanket-term for martial arts, and people who like to call this modern wushu or contemporary wushu. 'Kung fu' is also a word that people don't really agree with, either (however, I have fallen to using this word when describing Chinese martial arts to most people, because it is what they understand).

I think that one problem may be that people might see 'Wushu in the Olympics' or some other phrase on the web and try searching for it - then this article would seem to belong here, although contemporary wushu is only half of the picture. Perhaps the wushu article should be only a short article describing briefly traditional wushu and modern wushu - and then have links to those respective articles?

I think that they also just say 'wushu' in China, but I would like to know myself how they refer to modern/traditional wushu, and when they use words like wugong, wuyi, etc. (It appears to me that Wushu and Chuantong Wushu are commonly used - did Google phrase searches and got wushu: 219,000 hits, chuantong wushu: 5,300 hits, xiandai wushu: 451 hits, wugong: 337,000 hits, wuyi 67,100 hits (wugong can have a different meaning from wushu).)

I will try to look up the names of the extra events and check other things about wushu, as well as fix up links later on.

Edededed 08:18, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

[P0M:] I am a teacher of Chinese language and culture, as well as a martial arts practitioner, so I can probably be trusted to give fairly accurate information. Wu shu appears in dictionary entries in dictionaries as complete and as authoritative as the OED. The "original meaning" of Chinese characters has been extremely stable since around 200 B.C., so, for instance, a modern reader can look at something like the Dao De Jing (attributed to Lao Zi) and not find more than a handful of characters that would be new (either in form or meaning) to a reader familiar with the vocabulary of college level texts. Wu3 means "military" and shu4 means "techniques." "Wu3 shu4" read in Japanese is pronounced "budo". I should probably reproduce the dictionary definition in the article. Basically, it the what one would naturally expect from the English words "martial arts" except that it does not refer to what we would call military strategy or military tactics -- things that involve not individuals but squads, regiments, armies, etc. P0M 06:15, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)b

Wushu is Bujutsu in Japanese, not Budo (Budo is Wudao in Chinese). Thank you for the clarification in the meaning of Wu3 and Shu4.

Edededed 08:18, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Forgive my ignorance of Chinese, but why is the title of the Chinese translation of this article (中文) different from either of the Chinese translations given (武術 or 武术)? --Andrew 04:07, Apr 19, 2004 (UTC)

This one is easy to misunderstand. 中文 translates into "Chinese" and just means that an article about wushu also exists in the Chinese version of Wikipedia. If you follow the link you will be sent to the Chinese article, and there they seem to use 武术 for "wushu", judging by the title. / Wintran 09:43, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

What was I thinking? All the other languages list the language name... I feel like an illiterate. Thanks for pointing that out! --Andrew 10:13, Apr 19, 2004 (UTC)

Contemporary wushu[edit]

Hello, I am a martial arts student studying Shaolin (K/G)ung fu, and I have come into contact with a number of Wushu and traditional Kung-fu students. Just to complicate the issues you underlined above, there is a bit of a debate in the martial arts community over if wushu should be grouped with traditional fighting styles. It seems to be a sport first, that has martial roots, where the main focus isn't fighting proficiency. This is the kind of topic you bring up in the martial arts world if you are itching to start an debate. Keeping them as seperate articles is probably a good idea, but with cross linking and some sort of statement on how they differ.

tiggerthemad 04:45, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree. I think the wushu article should be as neutral as possible in this subject and explain the many ways this term is used today. Thus it should not take for granted that people want to directly associate wushu with contemporary wushu, as the latter could be considered more of a style or system within wushu (as is Shaolinquan, which has its separate article). Feel free to move the current section about contemporary wushu into either contemporary wushu or modern wushu. / Wintran 10:35, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Wushu=martial arts[edit]

On Chinese language, Wushu(武术) = martial arts = kung Fu, or Wushu Special Chinese martial arts--Shizhao 15:55, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC) wushu can mean martial discipline or martial arts, kung fu or gong fu means human effort

武術=國術 wushu = guoshu[edit]

From my understanding the term Wushu 武術 refers to any martial art, although usually implying Chinese in origin since it is a Chinese word. Sometime in the mid 1900's, in a surge of nationalism, the nationalist Chinese government decided to call it Guoshu 國術, meaning national/country art. When the communists took over mainland china, the term was reverted back to wushu. The old nationalist government fled to Taiwan, where the term Guoshu is still widely used.

It seems that in the US, wushu implies contemporary while gongfu implies traditional. However, this distinction seems to only be a pecularity of american popular culture. While training in taiwan, the terms wushu/guoshu were used interchangeably and implied the traditional martial arts, not contemporary. Instead, the terms chuantong, xiandai, or xin 新(new) had to be used to denote contemporary since very few people practice contemporary in taiwan.

I don't know that I've heard gongfu used to denote martial arts in Chinese, but I have heard the phrase "da gongfu", used to mean practice martial arts, used quite frequently. which is strange because people don't understand you when you just say gongfu. hmmmm.

The use of the term "wushu" in the U.S. to refer to some contemporary styles of mainland martial arts probably stems from the current fad for something that I regard as a kind of "performance art" in China, the kind of martial arts that seems to be designed for operatic productions, etc. Many people in the U.S. had never heard the term "wushu" until they saw the lustrous silken garments, the high production values, etc., etc., and that kind of performance was described as "wu shu." The classical meaning of wu shu is broad enough to include all martial arts, but, in practice, books in Chinese about wu shu tend to confine themselves to the martial arts known in China before there was much cross-cultural transmission of fighting arts.

The term "gongfu", as used in Taiwan, is not generally regarded as a formally correct term with a strict definition. It gets used casually in many different senses, but I suspect that if someone ever tried to pin a speaker down on just what s/he meant by gongfu, an alternate term with a clearer definition would be offered. "Tade gongfu hen hao," "Ta hen hui da gongfu," "Ta gen mou mou laoshi xue gongful," etc., etc. all seem possible to me. The Guo yu ci dian published in the early years of the Republic, has no definition of "gongfu" that pertains directly to martial arts. Neither does the Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language, published around 1970.

When I was in Taiwan in the 60s and 70s, "gongfu" was used informally, "guoshu" was much more formal, and some people who worked in a store at Ximending that sold martial arts supplies were insulted when I pointed at a white karate outfit and said that I wanted to buy a "guoshu" uniform. If one wanted to be more specific than "gongfu" or "guoshu," one spoke of, e.g., "shaolin quan," "xingyi quan," tanglang quan." Those were the names of real "things," whereas "gongfu" was much more vague. P0M 01:32, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:List_of_Wikipedians_by_martial_art add yourself![edit]


Why isn't Bruce Lee mentioned?

Because, unless Wikipedia exists in the afterlife, Bruce Lee is not a Wikipedian. (Sorry, couldn't resist) Shawnc 13:20, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Historical mistakes[edit]

I just went over this stuff once, in regard to the article on gongfu. Somebody has copied historical misinformation from one place to the other. Start with "Huang Di". He was not a Zhou ruler. See Zhou_kings. Please take a look at the Kung_fu article and its talk page. I'll change things after I give whoever wrote the original stuff a chance to clarify what s/he intended to say.P0M 23:27, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have removed the legends about an "emperor" who lived a thousand years before the first historical or quasi-historical dynasty (we hardly have even archaeological information to establish that a dynasty existed) and who were capable of writing sophisticated martial arts texts -- when over a thousand years later the Oracle Bone texts of the Shang dynasty were much less complex in syntax and vocabulary. Real books didn't get written until the succeeding Zhou dynasty.

If somebody wants to qualify the removed stuff as legends and then establish citations for the records that tell us of these legends, please do so. P0M 00:05, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Merging of wushu, kung fu and Chinese martial arts articles[edit]

Hello, all. New to the game. I've been lurking for a while in areas that interest me, and have found that there's a fair amount of wrangling going on re: Kung Fu versus Wushu, etc. I would not presume to just start editing, but I thought instead to join in here in order to clarify a few points.

First, Kung Fu (more properly, Kung Fu Wu Su) and Wushu are not the same thing, and, therefore, a merging of these topics areas would be in error. Kung Fu Wu Su translates to "the disciplined techniques of the arts martial" - a reference to both armed and unarmed combat, strategy, the movements of a single man, or an entire force. Contemporary Wushu is a performance art that teaches technique, but not application. As Ai Ping Sifu -- a 3 time World Wushu Champion -- would say, "I do not teach the 'chi' ('ki', J.; 'prana', I.).

Secondly, the reference to martial technique as 'Kung Fu' was a misinterpretation on the part of Christian missionaries. When these individuals saw people practicing Tai Ch'i and Chi Kung in the parks, they asked, "What is that?" and the reply came, "Hard work." -- the response was intended as a joke, but it's subtlety was lost and, hence, the nominclature was born.

Also, all due respect to Kennethtennyson -- he speaks of the legend of Bodhidharma and the origin of hand-to-hand combat in India, both. These two topics are intertwined... Martial arts as a discipline was likely first codified under Hu'ang Ti, the Yellow Emporer, and this was, again, likely, the Mongolian Wrestling known as Shan Sou (Three Throws) and what is now referred to as Spring Leg or Muslim Kung Fu Wu Su -- the art of the guards of the Forbidden City.

The Shaolin Temple was ordered constructed in 496. Records (specifically, 'The Lives of Venerable Saints' scroll) show that Bodhidharma arrived in the North around 490. It is likely he gained entrance into the Temple as a teacher around 480.

Shaolin was a refuge for brigands and former military, as well as a place of worship. It is likely that what Bodhidharma brought to Shaolin was Hatha Yoga (the discpline of breath and body) and an Indian martial art called Kaliripyattu (When The Body Becomes All Eyes -- a reference to the Goddess Kali), as well as his particular form of Buddhist practice (Ch'an, C.; Zen, J.). The Muscle Changing Classic attributed to Bodhidharma is clearly a dynamic version of Yoga asana (postures), and the Marrow Washing Classic derives, also quite clearly, from Kriya Yoga practice. The 18 Lohan Ch'uan (18 Hands of the Enlightened Ones) is likely a derivative of Kaliripyattu, if not a foundation form. Kaliripyattu has its roots in Yoga.

Finally, all this confusion over soft arts, hard arts, animal forms, martial forms... There is no difference between hard/soft/internal/external, as is professed in the West. All arts, traditionally taught, start hard and end soft; start external and end internal...this is a gauge of progress and proficiency, not a classification system. Animal and Nature styles are generally Taoist in origin. Combat styles (like Chin N'a) have a specific application/intention (e.g., close quarters). Displine techniques (Iron Robe, Iron Fist, Copper Palm, etc.) also have a specific intention.

Just my 2 cents...

mjformica 0830 EST 05 Dec 2005

Hi everyone. I have some new ideas (again :) of how to improve the wushu, kung fu and Chinese martial arts articles. As you all can see they've become quite a mess, with very similar information but still independent articles.

Here are the changes I propose:

  1. Kung fu becomes a disambiguation page, with a link to the main article (see below) and to Kung Fu (TV series) and Kung Fu (video game) etc.
  2. The main article becomes either Chinese martial arts or wushu with the other one redirecting to the main article. The main article will contain all the general information about Chinese martial arts and shorter explanations of common terms (such as wushu and kung fu). If the article grows too large, more in-depth information about a subject or a term can be placed in their own articles, such as History of Chinese martial arts or kung fu (term) with links from the main article.

Regarding change number two, a big question is: Should we use Chinese martial arts or wushu as the main article? After reading through some interesting articles such as this one I'm actually leaning towards wushu, even though I was the one who started the Chinese martial arts article. Mainly because I'm getting the feel that wushu is becoming the umbrella term for Chinese martial arts that we're looking for, similar to what budo is for Japanese martial arts.

The whole idea is to merge as much as possible into the same article, so we don't get the duplication problem we're having now.

What's your thoughts on this?

- Wintran 23:17, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Basically, I think that is a very good idea. I would like to go one step farther to frame the discussion properly:

Create two main articles. One would be on warfare and would lead to strategy (Sun Zi Bing Fa, etc.) and military technology (maps, weapons, etc.) The other would be on one-to-one combat. That article would have its own fan-out, to articles on qin-na, quan-fa, swordsmanship, bowmanship, etc. I have a rather nice book with "wu-shu" in the title that handles the second subject. I'll dig it out and post its author and title here. I think it would be a good reference book for those of us who can read Chinese. It would definitely help to have an authoritative source we could cite, even if it might have lapses. (I haven't noticed any.) I think I would favor Bing Fa and Wu Shu as the titles for the two main airticles, with the equivalent English titles for re-directs.

It would be really neat if we could create an outline in Chinese, followed by English translation, and put it on Wikipedia Commons. That way people writing in other languages might have the advantage of knowing how the subject is approached by people from within the tradition. One of the problems I have seen is that people who come from outside will often get a one-sided view from something one of their teachers said in passing, and that kind of a view can distort their vision of the whole. Just knowing, for instance, that there are things in Zhuang Zi that clearly reflect an awareness of the "mental game" aspect of martial arts, and that the terra-cotta figures in tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi look like they are taking martial arts stances (whereas Robin Hood presumably shots his arrows while standing with two locked knees or at least standing straight up with equal weight on both legs), will help people be a little sceptical about the idea that all hand-to-hand fighting teaching were originated in India. P0M 00:41, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

If you decide on disambiguating all the articles to wushu, you should use the history that is present in the kung fu article itself, as opposed to the wushu article history section, as the history in the kung fu article is more accurate. The problem with the current wushu history is that someone seems to be extending the definition to include sun tzu's art of war. it should not - sun tzu's art of war is a book on the martial arts as it relates to warfare not "martial arts" which in english means self defense and person to person combat. Further, The bodhidharma reference is just a legend as the earliest text that ever mentions bodhidharma with shaolin kung fu dates to the Ming dynasty (1600's).Kennethtennyson 04:56, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Maybe I can try to disambugiate this sadden affair.:P Kung or Gong Fu means hard work literally in Chinese and it means martial arts wherever it originates from. But the moment Wu Shu or Guo Shu is mentioned, it means Chinese martial arts or martial arts of Chinese origin. Gammadion

What is your authority for that statement? P0M 17:51, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Coming late to this discussion - here goes anyway - Wushu and Chinese Martial Arts are clearly not synoymous. In practical everyday use Chinese Martial Arts is the Broader Term, because Wushu constitutes a type of martial art (albeit in a more performance-related sense). While I agree there should be a disambiguation page for Kung Fu, I think the main article for Kung Fu should remain discrete and focus on the 'skill required through hard work' aspect and point to Chinese Martial Arts for the fighting aspect (it pretty much does this already). None of these three articles should be merged -that would make no sense whatsoever! NickW 11:52, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
"Wushu" is not literally equivalent to "Chinese martial art" in Chinese. You are thinking about Wushu (sport) or Guoshu. See my reply dated 09:35, 13 December 2005 in a section below, or just check the Chinese Wikipedia for many examples[1] (eg. Capoeira = "Baxi Wushu", Tai Chi Chuan = "Zhongguo Wushu", Taekwondo = "Hanguo Wushu", etc.) "Wushu" = "martial art" literally. If anyone doesn't accept this, this was posted in the zh:Wushu discussion page: "中文所稱的武術包括所有的格鬥技巧,更接近於英文的en:martial arts,問題出在中文里武術=格鬥藝術。英文版的文章是有問題" Shawnc 14:46, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I asked Gammadion to substantiate his statement. NickW's understanding of the meaning of "wushu" is one that applies only to "theatrical" wushu. Regarding the terms wushu and gongfu:

  • 武術and武藝 are synonyms. The Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language uses wǔ yì as the main entry, and wǔ shù is a secondary entry. Common usage favors the term wǔ shù, but it has been taken over by theatrical martial arts, so the term wǔ yì is not only preferable from a historical standpoint but also from the standpoint of avoiding present-day use of the other term.
  • A book on wǔ shù in Chinese by Lei Xiao-tian, uses the term gōngfu 工夫. Other writers use the term gōngfu 功夫.Liang Shi-qiu's New Practical Chinese-EnglishDictionary defines the first term as:
(1)time; leisure (2) efforts put into a piece of work; labor (3) skill

It defines the second term as:

(1) time (to do something) (2) effort (devoted to a task) (3) accomplishment

The book mentioned above, 中國武術學概要,雷嘯天 著, uses gongfu to refer to techniques for tempering body and mind.

Wǔ shù is broader than any of the styles of fighting that use only or use primarily empty-hand techniques. It is also broader than just Chinese Martial Arts because Chinese are not so narrow-minded as to exclude non-Chinese styles. See the Chinese-language article on wǔ shù. Gongfu is narrower than "empty-hand fighting." But the several Wikipedia articles have used these terms according to the personal preferences and preconceptions of those contributing to Wikipedia on these subjects.

In very brief outline form: wǔ yì / wǔ shù Martial Arts

Armed Styles
Swords and knives
Staffs and clubs
Unarmed Styles
Styles that concentrate on punching, striking, kicking
Performance "wushu"
Shao Lin fist
Styles that concentrate on joint locks and other such controls
Styles that concentrate on taking opponent to the ground
Techniques applicable acros the board
Tempering body and mind (gongfu)
Nutrition and health
First aid and other treatment options

That's just a rough draft. One problem is that some Americans (and some Chinese speakers when not trying to be careful with language) use "Kung Fu" to apply to any of the unarmed styles. P0M 00:58, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems that there is no clear case either way on the basis of dictionary definitions then. But Wikipedia isn't a dictionary - so we have more freedom in how we name, categorise and classify our articles. I think practical everyday use of these terms should be considered here - bearing in mind the semantic ambiguity. For me, wushu is not the broader term in a practical sense - I don't consider myself as a wushu practioner, and no-one else I know who studies anything other than 'wushu' (as it is taught under that name) does either. I do Wing Chun which is a Chinese Martial Art. Maybe in China Wushu is now used as the umbrella term. Given the lack of consensus so far I suggest we stick to the terms most commonly used in the West, i.e. 'Martial Arts' as the top class, and then further subdivision by geography. NickW 10:33, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree that Martial Arts should be the top class. We can use the "senior synonym" wǔ yì as the Chinese equivalent, and just note the dual use of wushu. I think, however, that creating subdivisions by geography would not be the best way to go. Doing so would put qin na as a subcategory of the Chinese region and aikido as a subcategory of the Japanese region when, in fact, they share many techniques.
With two hanzi versions, so many spellings, and so many definitions applying to "gōngfu" we need some way of getting the person who looks up one of the spellings to the information that s/he associates with the word. Many people will follow the informal Chinese usage and need to be directed to Chinese Martial Arts, and within that to the section that deals with empty-handed techniques. But other people will actually be looking for the "work done in pursuit of a capability" idea.
The geographical split can be interesting in another way. For instance, there is Shaolin quan in China, and there is Shorinji kempo in Japan. The Japanese style presents itself as a continuation of the Chinese style (Tang shou), but there are differences in emphasis. There is Karatedo as a kind of blanket term in Okinawa, i.e., the "Chinese hand" stuff, karatedo as practiced in Japan, which is divided into several ryu, and Tangsoodo (= Tang shou dao in Chinese, not sure how to spell the Korean reading) in Korea, which may have sources in Chinese, Okinawan, and Japanese styles. To his credit, Funakoshi was up-front in relating his Okinawan tradition to what he called Shorinji and Shorei styles from China. The actual locations where these developments occurred are not as significant as the transmission and development of the teachings.

Rather than simply merging the existing wushu, kung fu, and Chinese martial arts articles, I think it would be better to so pretty much as NickW suggests, but maybe we need a super-category called Martial Arts, then weapons, empty-handed (frequently called gongfu),etc. on the next level, and (performance) wushu either on that same level or under the empty-handed heading. P0M 19:27, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Maybe the way forward here is to adopt a plural approach in the way these articles are linked rather than just trying to shoehorn our diversity of opinion into one path. This could be achieved by creating different category groups. After all, the strength of the electronic environment - and especially wikis - for any classification is that your document (in our case articles) don't have to live in just one place (i.e. alternative taxonomies needn't be mutually exclusive). There's no reason we couldn't classify the martial arts by geography, philosophy, practical aspects etc... at the same time (in some ways that's happened already).NickW 22:27, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
In my opinion, Chinese Martial Arts and Wu Shu can be merged because they are just basically the same thing about the art. However, the topic of Kung Fu is a little bigger, IMHO. One part of Kung Fu is the same as Wu Shu, the other part of Kung Fu is the cultural phenomonon that started when the term "Kung Fu" entered the English language in the 60's and 70's. I would suggest that there should be two articles. One on the art (Wu Shu, Chinese Martial Arts), the other on the culture on how it swept the Western world etc. The Kung Fu article should focus on the culture and cross reference to the "art" article. Kowloonese 03:15, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I like the ideas of tying the articles together in various ways with different systems of categories. Probably the way to outline the whole set of articles is according to the organic development of the schools. I don't know anything about the history of qin na, nor do I know anything about the history of aikido. Despite there being techniques that are exactly the same in both schools, it is possible that they were both well developed before any cross-pollenization occurred. So going by the historical route there would be no reason to have their paths cross. But in terms of the circumstances under which the techniques are used, the goals for which they are particularly well suited to attain, the reader would clearly be benefitted if they both were categorized under something like "Opponent control--joing twisting". That same category would also apply to some of the slenderest branches of our tree, such as the Shotokan karate kata that include qin na or aikido techniques. (Yes, they are there, although most people would not see them for what they are without having them pointed out.)
I also like the idea of having something on the "Kung fu phenomenon" in the West. Of course people were aware of karate, judo, etc. in the mid 50s in a sleepy little town in the Midwest part of the USA, and military training books that reflected some knowledge of these techniques were even available in the libraries. And just to broaden the discussion even more, if you go back to the early decades of the twentieth century people like Albert Schweitzer and Hermann Hesse were introducing things like Buddhism to the average Westerners. It has taken a long time, but the efforts of people like Thomas Merton have brought Eastern ideas into Western theology. I am not aware that anybody we could cite has done a study of how the East has impacted and broadened the Western discourses, so dealing with these issues in Wikipedia articles would have to be done carefully to avoid having our efforts deleted as being original research. P0M 05:03, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Hi all! I'm very glad to see this discussion evolving. Just to contribute with something, here's a new proposal inspired by some of the comments that have appeared in this discussion.

  1. Chinese martial arts becomes the general article for all styles of Chinese martial arts. It should use the term martial arts as defined in martial arts, which means that information such as training in more modern type weapons and military warfare should not be included in this article. It can use specific styles as examples and mention the vast variety of them, but shouldn't present them all or describe any in detail. My wish is that not only the general martial aspects are described but also the health, aesthetical and philosophical aspects which are present in so many styles. We already have much information in the current articles, but it needs to be collected into one article, sorted out and arranged. If there is a wish to go further in-depth in some aspects, we can just divide the corresponding headlines into subarticles, which is a common sight in other large Wikipedia articles. More specific description of styles or comparitions between them should be placed in their own articles, like it is now.
  2. Kung fu becomes a disambiguation page with links to the following articles as a list of interpretations and associations with the term:
  3. Wushu becomes a disambiguation page with links to the following articles as a list of interpretations and associations with the term:

My hope is to be as fair as possible to all types of Chinese martial arts, and show all variations the same respect, while keeping a clear sorting and honest descriptions to avoid misunderstandings. I also wish to be as fair to all important terms as possible, by both presenting their original Chinese meaning and also the way the terms have evolved in the English and Chinese language and are actually being used today. This is why I wish to disambiguate the kung fu and wushu articles. I'm not against also creating articles on guoshu and wuyi, and redirecting them to Chinese martial arts, but I'm skeptical about turning one of them into the main article, as those terms are mostly unknown to the general public from my experience.

My previous idea was to use wushu as the umbrella term for all Chinese martial arts, and make it the main article dealing with the general aspects. However, this is a sensitive subject as there are many styles that do not like to be associated with this term because it has also become the official name of the growing competative sport Wushu. I hope my new proposal takes this into better consideration.

The only practical problem I see by using Chinese martial arts as the general article is that the phrase "Chinese martial arts" is a bit long, making it a bit cumbersome to write. For example, it's much easier to write "wushu styles" than "Chinese martial art styles". But maybe this is something we'll just have to cope with. One solution could be to use the abbreviation CMA more often in the article text. - Wintran 20:24, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I like your ideas. I also like the idea of putting more emphasis on the "philosophy" side of things. I've been giving a course on the Dao of Martial Arts for freshmen (It's called a freshman seminar, and part of the intent of such courses is to try to get freshman students started right on doing research, scholarly papers, etc.) There is quite a bit of material in the Chuang_tzu and the {{Tao_Te_Ching]] that can be assembled for students without too much trouble, and a great deal of pre-assembled material in D.T. Suzuki's Zen Buddhism and Japanese Culture. I have tried to find equivalent materials from the Sufi tradition, but have not had much success. It may be because I've been looking in the wrong places. I've also added some thoughts from John_Boyd. Then there are excellent books like Niccol's Moving Zen that have relevant ideas. P0M 01:49, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Support. I was trying to put down some suggestions, only to read that Wintran had already written them. The approach I was thinking about is exactly the same as his, right down to Wushu (sport). If there are no objections, I suggest we merge the articles based on these guidelines. Shawnc 10:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Although, can Kung fu (term) be a part of kung fu? Shawnc 12:09, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Again, I have to plead for maintaining the existing plurality and instead suggest we work on facilitating navigation via different category taxonomies. So I vote against merging! NickW 12:28, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Please see below.

I've had a look at Dewey and Library of Congress classification and subject headings for some inspiration, but they're hopeless for martial arts... So I've had a look at the bigger picture on Wikipedia. Taking Martial arts as the starting point, then it's clear that one of the important classifications of the arts we've built on Wikipedia is 'geographical' classification. From Martial Arts you can follow a logical path to Martial Arts in Asia (list), and then on to Chinese Martial Arts. For this reason at least the article on Chinese Martial Arts should be kept in that form - it lends consistency to the overall navigation structure. So long as there's no significant duplication of content why not keep the three articles seperate? NickW 13:06, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

There was duplication of content across the articles, but we are keeping the articles separate, and "Chinese martial art" is the target (we're talking about Wintran's latest idea, yes?) Anyway, I've already made the basic edits, please take a look at the current version of the articles, it should be clearer that way. Shawnc 14:21, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Great to see some actions being taken! Looks much better already. I only have two worries about the way it looks now:

  1. From earlier experiences many people goes to kung fu expecting to find information about Chinese martial arts. When they find the current article, I'm afraid not all of them will understand or take notice of our arrangement with Chinese martial arts as the main article. What has happened before is that people assume that kung fu is supposed to contain information about Chinese martial arts, and they see the current article lacking in this, and start editing it, adding history etc about Chinese martial arts, which they refer to as kung fu. That's the reason why I proposed to make the main kung fu article look like kung fu (disambiguation), and put the current article into kung fu (term) (or something similar). Another way could be to redirect kung fu directly to Chinese martial arts, and put the kung fu term information there.
  2. I have the same worries with wushu, that some will assume that it should contain information about Chinese martial arts, and therefore starts expanding it because they don't notice the Chinese martial arts article. I see the same two options as kung fu, either fully disambiguating wushu or merging and redirecting it to Chinese martial arts.

I'm not saying that disambiguating or redirecting are the best or the only solutions, but do you see my worries? - Wintran 17:12, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I share the same concerns. Currently I linked "kung fu" directly to the disambiguation page for a few reasons: 1) Forwarding to "Chinese martial arts" implies that we should to also link to "kung fu (disambiguation)" from that page, but the term "Chinese martial arts" does not contain the term "kung fu" so it's slightly less intuitive to put it at the top of that page ("kung fu (disambiguation)" can still be found in the "See also" section of "Chinese martial arts"). 2) The term is admittedly quite ambiguous, a fact which is helped by direct disambiguation. 3) This is consistent with Chinese Wikipedia. I've done the same for wushu. Shawnc 22:01, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for making these edits. However, User:DoctorW reverted your edit on kung fu with the following comment:
"The vast majority of people would be looking for the term and the martial art to which it refers, not other meanings like the TV show about Kung Fu. Don't make them go through an ADDITIONAL extra page"
I'll invite him to this discussion before making further edits of that kind, but he has a good point. I took some time to write a couple of sentences about kung fu and wushu in the introduction of Chinese martial arts, with links to kung fu (term) and wushu (term). I also tried redirected kung fu directly to Chinese martial arts. See what you think, and if this could work out. - Wintran 02:11, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't aware of the fact that there was a discussion somewhere about this. Though I studied Taekwondo and Tai Chi Chuan, I'm no expert; I'm a psychologist. A secondary area of expertise of mine is in issues related to the spelling of Korean words in English (using Roman characters), and I add related pages to my watch list as I encounter them; so far that's mainly Korean martial arts. What I saw (and perhaps I caught a responsible person in the middle of a process involving multiple pages) was that Kung fu was changed to forward to Kung fu (disambiguation), that many users would then click on Kung fu (term), and they would then discover that the "real" Kung fu information was on yet another page (Chinese martial arts). So I looked at "What links here" for Kung fu and saw that there was a very long list of pages that would be forwarded to Kung fu (disambiguation) and that almost all of them should have bypassed the disambiguation page. Not knowing that there was some larger plan in the works, it seemed irresponsible that someone had rerouted all these people without updating the forwards. I only had room in the edit summary to mention the problem I describe above for new visitors. Now that I see the end result, it looks like a good solution. (It seems far better to forward Kung fu directly to Chinese martial arts rather than through TWO intermediate pages; it avoids all the problems I describe here.) I have some ideas for minor edits I think would clarify the situation further for new visitors; if you will indulge me simply to make them rather than taking far more time to explain fully, I'd appreciate it. (Of course, anyone is welcome to revert my edits if they don't fit with the consensus.) -DoctorW 05:37, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I did not mean to discourage you to make further edits. My concern was mainly that Shawnc stated in his comment for the edit on kung fu that it was done according to these discussions, but I know those comments are easy to miss. Feel free to make any changes you like, just glad to see more people interested in helping out with these articles. - Wintran 15:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Wushu categorization[edit]

Please post some comments about the categorization of wushu articles at Category talk:Chinese martial arts. Shawnc 03:54, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

"gong fu" as a phrase[edit]

(moved to Talk:Kung Fu Shawnc 09:56, 18 November 2005 (UTC))

Wushu as an exibition sport[edit]

For obvious reasons, the International Wushu Federation has tried to get Wushu into the Olympics. Its unfair to merge this with "martial arts". The current brand of sport is still call wushu. Note that chinese martial arts can refer to almost anything, while Wushu does have its standards like Nan Du rules for competition judging, chinese martial arts is very vague.

Please sign your posting.
I am not sure I understand what you are saying. There is, anyway, a big problem with conceptualization and naming when the umbrella (or maybe it is the tent) term for all of the martial arts is adopted for use by a splinter group. It's like motorized three-wheel vehicles taking over the term "vehicle" and calling motorized tricycle racing "Vehicle Racing". P0M 19:00, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Right, the problem here is that the term "wushu" does not only refer to the aforementioned exibition sport, but, semantically, all martial arts, or at least all Chinese martial arts. Even if the Wushu Federation has reinterpreted the meaning of term, its original meaning still remains. That broader meaning, in turn, is similar to the term kung fu or "Chinese martial arts", hence the issue of merging. Shawnc 22:18, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Wushu, in anywhere outside of China, is considered to be an exhibition sport derrived from Martial Arts, and it is debatable whether or not it is a Martial Art. In addition, it is also been held up as a bit of Chinese Communist Party revisionism with regards to the Martial Arts and in order to remove many "Martial" components (like actual fighting). As such, it cannot be considered to encompass all of the Chinese Martial Arts. Kung Fu is the better, and generally more accepted English language term for Chinese Martial Arts. --Phrost 15:24, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
As an encyclopedia we should strive for accuracy and not be bound by the view of the herd at any day or decade. There is no problem with giving "Kung fu" its due as the likely point of entry for many people searching for information and clarity, but we shouldn't tie ourselves into knots by using a term that has multiple meanings and the status of an informal term of reference in Chinese. P0M 20:35, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps we should have a separate page, say Wushu (sport) (or maybe "Wushu (the dance kind)"). In any case, unless the goal is to inject this article with a particular POV (IWF, I'm looking at you), wushu still literally means "martial art/technique". I just learned that the word is over 1500 years old![2] The "Wushu" category on Chinese Wikipedia[3] contains Muay Thai, BJJ, etc. as well as "Chinese Wushu". MMA (which I'm quite a fan of) is often called, aptly, "mixed wushu" in Chinese. By the way, the kanji word "jitsu" is exactly the same as "shu", the source of the word. Why doesn't the second big letter in this article look anything like "jitsu"? Because, again, the CCP has altered the Chinese language (it's ironic that Japan, a country China is not terribly fond of, uses traditional Chinese words that the CCP has abandoned. Ditto for Taiwan, Korea, etc, but I digress) Shawnc 09:35, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Wu3 Yi4 has "canonical" status as far as the encyclopedia-sized Zhongwen Da Cidiangoes, but it's not as well known as wu3 shu4, which indeed goes back very far as a compound (i.e., Chinese term that involves more than one character). Sticking to English for a moment, the overall article should be "Martial Art", below that "Asian martial art", below that "Chinese martial art", "Japanese martial art" etc. "Wushu (sport)" or "Wushu (performance art)" sounds about right to me, and it would fall in under the general "Chinese martial art" title is a list with a link to the appropriate article and maybe a few words about what it is. Regarding the Japanese use of the terms, they are similar to the Chinese but having developed in a different cultural context they would need to be explained appropriately. The Japanese use the "jutsu" (or "jitsu", which seems to be an Americanized alternative spelling) to refer to the very down-to-earth fighting techniques. Bujutsu includes some things that are Japanese in origin such as kenjutsu (swordsmanship), karate-jutsu (primarily empty-handed fighting techniques involving kicking, punching, striking, etc.), etc. Budo is the use of the martial arts as a way to achieve spiritual development, so kendo is a "sport" that is geared more to what we would call character building than kenjutsu would be, karate-do likewise puts the stress on what Funakoshi called "perfection of character," etc. Another way to look at things is that a student of aikido would always use take-downs that are designed not to break bones or tear ligaments, whereas a proponent of aikijutsu would willingly damage the arm of an opponent who attacked with a sword, and their training would gear them to use of actual combat situations where it would be a bit too idealistic to forego the opportunity to put an assailant out of commision for at least long enough to make one's escape.
I think that if we get clear on how all of these things go together first, and then worry about the best way to name them, we will probably be ahead in the long run. To go back to "Kung fu" for a moment, someone may encounter that term in a discussion on calligraphy, so that person should get some help finding the appropriate articles if s/he searches for the "kung fu" article. P0M 20:35, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

It has been pointed out that Sanshou is recognized by the IWUF as being a part of Wushu (sport): "As a sport, wushu is composed of two (2) disciplines: Taolu(routines) and Sanshou(fight)." My question is, are they also trying to get Sanshou featured in the Olympics, or just the non-combative variant?

who is a 'famous wushu practicioner'[edit]

It seems that some people are abusing the system by adding themselves or their coaches/associates for specific reasons, this misrepresents the importance of specific individuals at the expense of other, more qualified people who are not mentioned.

For example, the two corrections I made to the 'famous section' - Richard Brandon and Chen Aiping are selectively mentioned.

Richard Brandon is not six time world champion in any recognized wushu federation's competition. Even if he was, he is but one of hundreds of private wushu school owners, many with more respected accomplishments, in the US (thousands across the world). While he has a steady list of stunt work, he certainly IS NOT the most accomplished in this respect, nor anywhere near the level of Jet Li (whoever added the information about him has him listed amongst the biggest movie stars in all of Asia). Many others Americans (Donnie Yen (hello!?!?), Robin Shou, Tri Nguyen, Eric Chen, etc) deserve mentioning as much as Mr. Brandon, not to mention the hundreds of Actors and Actresses in Asia who have longer resumes in both Wushu and Film (former professional Wushu athletes such as Wu Jing, Li Fei, Angie Tsang, Hu Jiangchang, to name a few)

Furthermore Chen Aiping is indeed a 3 time champion of China, no doubting her credentials. But there are many, many other equally qualified wushu professionals (former all around champions of china, etc) now living in America (again, not even touching on the rest of the world, much less within China). Chen Daoyun, Bo Sim Mark, Hao Zhihua, Zhuang Hui, He Weiqi, Hu Jianchang, Zhang Lingmei... Why should you list just one. Either way, they do not belong in the 'famous' section, which is obviously meant to apply to 'mainstream' recognition, not simply achievement within wushu circles only.

There needs to be some clarity as to who is in this section and why. One of the big problems in the martial arts world is people BSing their achievements (eg - 6 time world champion when one has never even been to the IOC recognized World Wushu Games). Obviously Jet Li is world famous, Jackie Chan is world famous, Donnie Yen is famous. Beyond that it starts getting cloudy, and we should tred with care.


Removing external links[edit]

Inspired by Talk:Chinese martial arts#External links out of hand I find that the same applies to this article, so I'm removing the current external links section. If you don't agree, please object. Wintran 19:58, 15 May 2006 (UTC)