A typical wushu competition, here represented by the 10th All-China Games.
|Also known as||Kung fu, Gong fu, CMA, WS|
|Focus||Striking, Grappling, Throwing, Performance Martial Art|
|Country of origin||China|
|Famous practitioners||Jet Li, Wu Bin, Ray Park, Jon Foo, Wu Jing, Donnie Yen, Yuan Wen Qing, Cung Le, Alfred Hsing, Vincent Zhao, Dennis To, Liu Hailong|
|Literal meaning||martial arts|
|Part of a series on|
|Chinese martial arts (Wushu)|
|List of Chinese martial arts|
|Wushu in the world|
Wushu (simplified Chinese: 武术; traditional Chinese: 武術) is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was developed in China after 1949, in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts, although attempts to structure the various decentralized martial arts traditions date back earlier, when the Central Guoshu Institute was established at Nanking in 1928. The term wushu is Chinese for "martial arts" (武 "Wu" = military or martial, 术 "Shu" = art). In contemporary times, wushu has become an 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 Yuan Wen Qing.
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 of traditional Chinese martial art styles 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 some external styles to over five minutes for internal styles. Modern wushu competitors are increasingly training in aerial techniques such as 540-, 720-, and even 900-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 jiao and other Chinese grappling techniques such as Chin 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.
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. This new system seeks to incorporate common elements from all styles and forms as well as the general ideas associated with Chinese martial arts. Stylistic concepts such as hard, soft, internal, external, as well as classifications based on schools such as Shaolin, Taiji, Wudang and others were all integrated into one system. Wushu became the government sponsored standard for the training in martial arts in China. The push for standardization continued leading to wide spread adaptation. In 1979, the State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports created a special task force to teaching and practice of Wushu. In 1986, the Chinese National Research Institute of Wushu was established as the central authority for the research and administration of Wushu activities in 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 International Wushu Federation.
Wushu 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 beforehand. 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 Macau it was decided to opt for individual routines in international competition with nandu (难度; difficulty movements) integrating a maximum 2 point nandu score into the overall maximum score of 10.
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.
Changquan (長拳 or Long Fist) 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 practiced from a young age.
Nanquan (南拳 or Southern Fist) refers to wushu styles originating in south China (i.e., south of the Yangtze River, including Hongjiaquan (Hung Gar) (洪家拳), Cailifoquan (Choy Li Fut) (蔡李佛拳), and Yongchunquan (Wing Chun) (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 (太極拳, T'ai chi ch'uan) is a wushu style famous for slow, relaxed movements, often seen as an exercise method for the elderly, and sometimes known as "T'ai chi" in Western countries to those otherwise unfamiliar with wushu. 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.
Nandao (南刀 or Southern Style knife) refers a form performed with a curved, one sided sword/blade based on the techniques of Nanquan. The weapon and techniques appears to be based on the butterfly swords of Yongchunquan, a well known Southern style. In the Wushu form, the blade has been lengthened and changed so that only one is used (as opposed to a pair). This event was created in 1992.
Gun (棍 or staff) refers to a long staff (shaped from white wax wood) 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 white wax wood staff.
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:
- Baguazhang (八卦掌) – Eight-Trigrams Palm
- Bajiquan (八極拳) – Eight Extremes Fist/Boxing
- Chaquan (查拳) – Cha Fist/Boxing
- Changquan (长拳) – Long fist
- Chuojiao (戳腳) – Poking Feet
- Ditangquan (地躺拳) – Ground-Prone Fist/Boxing
- Fanziquan (翻子拳) – Tumbling Fist/Boxing
- Houquan (猴拳) – Monkey Fist/Boxing
- Huaquan (華拳) – Hua Fist/Boxing
- Nanquan (南拳) – Southern Fist
- Paochui (炮捶) – Cannon Punch
- Piguaquan (劈掛拳) – Chop-Hitch Fist/Boxing
- Shequan (蛇拳) – Snake Fist/Boxing
- Tantui (弹腿) – Spring Leg
- Tanglanquan (螳螂拳) – Praying Mantis Fist/Boxing
- Tongbeiquan (通背拳) – Through-the-Back Fist/Boxing
- Wing Chun (Yongchunquan) – Eternal Spring
- Xingyiquan (形意拳) – Shape-Intent Fist/Boxing
- Yingzhuaquan (鷹爪拳) – Eagle Claw Fist/Boxing
- Zuiquan (醉酒拳) – Drunken Fist/Boxing
Traditional weapons routines
There is also a traditional weapons category, which often includes the following:
- Changsuijian (長穗劍) – Long-Tasseled Sword
- Shuangshoujian (雙手劍) – Two-Handed Sword
- Jiujiebian (九節鞭) – Nine Section Whip
- Sanjiegun (三節棍) – Three Section Staff
- Shengbiao (繩鏢) – Rope Dart
- Dadao (大刀) – Great Sword
- Pudao (撲刀) – Horse Knife
- Emeici (峨嵋刺) – Emei Daggers
- Shuangdao (雙刀) – Double Broadsword
- Shuangjian (雙劍) – Double Straight-Sword
- Shuangbian (雙鞭) – Double Nine Section Whips
- Shuanggou (雙鈎) – Double Hook-sword
List of major international and regional competitions featuring wushu:
- World Wushu Championships
- World Junior Wushu Championships
- World Games
- World Combat Games
- Asian Games
- East Asian Games
- Southeast Asian Games
- European Wushu Championships, organised by the European Wushu Federation
- National Games of the People's Republic of China
- South Asian Games
- Mediterranean Games
- Lusofonia Games
- Christopher Pei (裴康凯) – Christopher Pei is the President of the United States Wushu Academy (USWA) . Coach Pei was Team Leader of the U.S. Wushu Team and has represented the U.S. in competitions and demonstrations worldwide. Coach Pei studied with Master Yang Zhen Duo (3rd son of Yang Cheng Fu and 19th generation Chen style successor, Chen Xiao Wang. Currently, Coach Pei is studying with Yang Zhen Ji (2nd son of Yang Cheng Fu), the oldest living Yang family member, and Grand Master Chen Zheng Lei, 19th generation Chen style successor. Coach Pei has published articles and been written about in such publications as Kung Fu Magazine, Tai Chi and Qi Magazines in the U.S and the United Kingdom.
- Zhang, Guifeng (张桂凤) – Jet Li Teammates, Coach Zhang Guifeng was born and raised in Beijing. At the age of nine, she was selected to begin Wushu training with the prestigious Beijing Wushu Team under the guidance of Coach Wu Bin, well known for his outstanding training methods that brought worldwide fame to Chinese Wushu competitors. After successfully completing her one-year probation with the team, Zhang Guifeng proceeded to secure her place in Wushu history. Her speed allowed her to become the first woman to perform alongside the men on the team. At the age of 14, she defeated a 30-year-old champion
- An Tian Rong (安天荣) – having graduated from Changchun Physical Education and Sports College, An Tian Rong is a former national (China) champion and wushu pioneer. He was approved as a national (China) and international level judge in 1980, has taught at numerous universities throughout China, and authored more than 50 books on internal and external martial arts. Among the national/international champions he's coached, while on Wu Bin's coaching staff for the Beijing Wushu Team, he provided guidance to the international celebrity, Jet Li and his student, Jinzhao Au, won the Japanese national champion title in 1986.
- Steve Coleman – Longest running Great Britain Wushu champion 2002–present, Captain GB Wushu Team, starred as Shane Powers in film On the Ropes (2011 film).
- Jon Foo – Learned Kung Fu when he was 8 years old, but didn't begin serious training in Wu Shu until he was 15. Starred as Jin Kazama in the film adaptation of Tekken.
- Jiang Bang Jun (江邦軍) – 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).
- 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.
- Jade Xu (徐慧慧) is a martial arts actress and multiple World Wushu Champion. She won the World Championships three times in a row and the first (gun/staff) and second (dao/broadsword) place in the Olympic Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 and became one of the most famous female Wushu athletes in the world. Soon after her athletic career, Jade Xu received offers to star in various international Film and TV productions, such as Tai Chi 0, Tai Chi Hero, The Legend of Wing Chun and Michael Jackson: One, and successfully launched her second career, as an actress.
- Lu Xiaolin (呂小林) – won the 1985 National Martial Arts Open Championship in China. She also was the youngest to receive a seventh duan from the International Wushu Federation. She was a judge for the U.S. in the 1997 and 1999 World Wushu Championships. She is also the current Vice President of the United States of America Wushu Kungfu Federation.
- Liu Yu is an author, former Head Coach of the U.S. Wushu Team from 1997 to 1999. She is now teaching at the Wushu Taichi Center is located in San Luis Obispo, CA.
- 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: The Rise of Cobra, in which he portrayed the martial arts expert Snake Eyes.
- Wu Bin (吳彬) – Jet Li's coach in the Beijing Wushu Team, training more wushu champions than any other coach in China.
- 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 
- Donnie Yen (甄子丹) – Chinese martial artist and actor, trained with the Beijing Wushu Team.
- Yuan Wen Qing (原文庆) – One of the most famous, successful, and skilled wushu practitioners in the world who has won countless gold medals in Chinese, World, and Asian Championships. He is a former Shanxi wushu team athlete trained by the coaches Pang Lin Tai and Zhang Ling Mei. He is most famous for his ChangQuan, DaoShu, GunShu, ShuangDao, and DiTangQuan. A number of his routines (TaoLu) became the official standard competition routines (GuiDing) for a number of years until the new GuiDing TaoLu's were introduced.
- Zhao Qing Jian (赵庆建) – Started learning martial arts at the age of 7, and was a standout member of the Beijing Wushu Team. Retained his #1 ranking at the 2009 All China Games. Currently has retired from the professional circuit of competition.
- Zhao Changjun (赵长军) – One of the best classical contemporary wushu legends of the 20th Century. His rivalry with Jet li was legendary, losing first place in men's longfist at the 1978 Mens Longfist competition, legend says it was due to Zhao's pinkie being slightly off, resulting in a minuscule deduction that cost him gold. After Jet li left to become an actor, the playing field was set and for nearly an entire decade Mr. Zhao Changjun was left to dominate the scenes in national Wushu competitions in the 80's. It has been said that "the '70s belonged to Jet, but the '80s belonged to Zhao".Trained both in traditional and contemporary Wushu, Ditang Quan, Gunshu and Daoshu are known as "Zhao's Three Uniques". He was also trained in traditional Cha quan, a uniquely Muslim traditional wushu style. Retiring in 1987, he currently owns a Wushu school.
Wushu as an Olympic event
The IWUF placed a bid to the International Olympic Committee (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. Wushu was one of 8 sports that was considered for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics. On May 29, 2013, Wushu's bid was rejected.
Wushu, as a "competitive sport", has faced criticism. It has been criticized by some traditional martial artists for being too commercialized, losing much of its original values, and potentially threatening to old styles of teaching martial arts. Such critics argue that contemporary wushu helped to create a dichotomy between form work and combat application.
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- Mastering WUSHU by Jiang Bangjun and Emilio Alpanseque, ISBN 978-1-933901-31-2.
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- Chinese martial arts
- Beijing Wushu Team
- Eighteen Arms of Wushu
- List of Chinese martial arts
- Floor (gymnastics)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wushu (sport).|
- International Wushu Federation – Official Website
- The Web's Most Comprehensive Wushu Site. Covering the Beijing Wushu Team, US Wushu and Wushu in the Olympics. Contains pictures, videos, animation, articles and competition results and resources.
- US Wushu Academy. The best resource for Wushu and Taiji in the Nation's Capitol. Professionally Coaches by Zhang Guifeng, Former Beijing Wushu Team and US Wushu Team Coach.
- FM – Wushu – A list of Techniques and free animated tutorials for Contemporary Wushu Techniques
- What is Wushu – Contains information about the history of wushu
- http://www.nardis.com/~twchan/liang.html – Info about the history of wushu