Wushu (sport)

Last updated

Wushu
10th all china games floor.jpg
A typical wushu taolu competition at the 2005 National Games of China
Highest governing body International Wushu Federation
First playedChina
Characteristics
ContactDependent on type of Wushu
Team membersIndividuals or Team
Mixed gender Yes
TypeMartial art
VenueTaolu Carpet or Lei Tai (fighting arena)
Presence
Country or regionWorldwide, Asia primarily
Olympic (Unofficial Sport) 2008
World Championships 1991
World Games (Invitational Sport) 2009, 2013, 2022
Wushu
Also known asKung fu, CMA, WS
Focus Striking, Grappling, Throwing, Performance Martial Art
Country of origin China
Famous practitionersSee: Category:Wushu practitioners
Wushu
Traditional Chinese 武術
Simplified Chinese 武术
Literal meaning"Martial arts"

Wushu ( /ˌwˈʃ/ ), or Chinese Kungfu , is a hard and soft and complete martial art, as well as a full-contact sport. [1] [2] It has a long history in reference to Chinese martial arts. It was developed in 1949 in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts, [3] yet attempts to structure the various decentralized martial arts traditions date back earlier, when the Central Guoshu Institute was established at Nanking in 1928.

Contents

"Wushu" is the Chinese term for "martial arts" (武 "Wu" = military or martial, 術 "Shu" = art). In contemporary times, Wushu has become an international sport under the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every two years as well as other. Wushu has become an official event at the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, and the World Combat Games among other multi-sport events.

Competitive Wushu is composed of two disciplines: taolu (套路; forms) and sanda (散打; sparring). But it has other disciplines, like self defense, breaking hard objects, and other related practices, that are not performed in competitions.

Taolu involves martial art patterns, acrobatic movements and techniques 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.

Sanda (sometimes called sanshou) is a modern fighting method and a full contact sport. Sanda contains boxing, kicks (kickboxing), and wrestling. It has all the combat aspects of wushu. Sanda appears much like kickboxing, boxing or Muay Thai, but includes many more grappling techniques. Sanda fighting competitions are often held alongside taolu.

History

In 1958, the government established the 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. [4] The push for standardization continued leading to widespread 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. [5]

Changing government policies and attitudes towards sports in general led 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. [6] 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. [7]

Contemporary taolu events

A Jian dual event (choreographed) 10th all china games Jian pair 406 cropped.jpg
A Jian dual event (choreographed)

Wushu events are performed using compulsory or individual routines in competition. Throughout the 1990s until 2005 for international competitions, athletes had to compete with routines choreographed by IWUF assigned coaches or athletes. In the November of 2003, a major revision took place regarding the taolu competition rules where the deduction content was standardized, judges roles were organized and expanded, and the degree of difficulty component, also known as nandu (難度; difficulty movements), was added. This category is worth 2.00 points of the 10.000 total. The quality of movements category is worth 5.00 points, and the overall performance category is worth 3.000 points. These changes were first implemented at the 2005 World Wushu Championships, and individual routines have become standard where an athlete creates a routine with the aid of his/her coach, while following certain rules for difficulty and technical requirements. [8] Only the age group C and B athletes at the World Junior Wushu Championships still compete with compulsory routines at an international level. All junior events including group A athletes (which compete with individual routines), all traditional events, and all non-standard taolu events (ie. shuangdao, baguazhang etc.), are judged without the degree of difficulty component.

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. The group event, also known as jiti (集體), 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. The 2019 World Wushu Championships was the first international wushu competition to feature such an event.

Barehanded

Chángquán (長拳 or Long Fist) refers to long-range extended wushu styles like Chāquán (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 mistakenly 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 (42 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. Competitive contemporary taiji is distinct from the traditional first form for styles it draws from, in that it typically involves difficult holds, balances, jumps and jump kicks. Modern competitive taiji requires good balance, flexibility and strength. The traditional second forms however like cannon fist, are more difficult than the modern forms, but are less known and usually taught to advanced students.

Short weapons

A dao Wushu dao.jpg
A dao

Dao (刀 or broadsword) 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). The dao is event is known as daoshu (刀术).

Nandao (南刀 or southern broadsword) refers to 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.

Jian (劍 or sword, but commonly known as straightsword) refers to any double-edged straight sword/blade, but this wushu form is a Changquan method of using the jian. The Jian event is known as jianshu (剑术).

Taijijian (太極劍 or Taiji sword) is an event using the jian based on traditional Taijiquan jian methods.

Long weapons

Gun (棍 or cudgel) refers to a long staff (shaped from white wax wood) as tall as the person standing upright, but this wushu form is a Changquan method of using the white wax wood staff. The gun event is known as gunshu.

Nangun (南棍 or southern cudgel) is a Nanquan method of using the staff. This event was created in 1992. A Nangun should be as tall as a person holding a fist above his head. There are several basic steps and techniques that must be included in an Optional Southern cudgel event. The basic steps are bow stance, empty stance, dragon riding stance (弓步、虛步、騎龍步). [9] The basic techniques in Southern Cudgel are cleft stick, collapse stick, twisted stick, roll press stick, defend stick, hit stick, uphold stick, throw stick (劈棍、崩棍、絞棍、滾壓棍、格 棍、擊棍、頂棍、拋棍). [10]

Qiang (槍 or spear) 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. The qiang event is known as qiangshu.

Other taolu 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. Many of these styles though are events in the World Kung Fu Championships, another IWUF-run event which is exclusively for traditional styles of wushu. The more commonly seen routines include:

Traditional weapons routines

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

Sanda (sparring)

The other major discipline of contemporary Chinese Wushu is 散打 Sǎndǎ, or 运动散打 (Yùndòng Sǎndǎ, Sport Free-Fighting), or 竞争散打 (Jìngzhēng Sàndǎ, Competitive Free-Fighting) meaning: A modern fighting method, sport, and applicable component of Wushu / Kung Fu influenced by traditional Chinese boxing, of which takedowns and throws are legal in competition, as well as all other sorts of striking (use of arms and legs). 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. Sanda represents the modern development of Lei Tai contests, but with rules in place to reduce the chance of serious injury. Many Chinese martial art schools teach or work within the rule sets of Sanda, working to incorporate the movements, characteristics, and theory of their style.

Chinese martial artists also compete in non-Chinese or mixed combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts. Sanda is practiced in tournaments and is normally held alongside taolu events in wushu competition. For safety reasons, some techniques from the self-defense form such as elbow strikes, chokes, and joint locks, are not allowed during tournaments. Competitors can win by knockout or points which are earned by landing strikes to the body or head, throwing an opponent, or when competition is held on a raised lei tai platform, pushing them off the platform. Fighters are only allowed to clinch for a few seconds. If the clinch is not broken by the fighters, and if neither succeeds in throwing his opponent within the time limit, the referee will break the clinch. In the U.S., competitions are held either in boxing rings or on the raised lei tai platform. Amateur fighters wear protective gear.

"Amateur Sanda" allows kicks, punches and throws. A competition held in China, called the "King of Sanda", is held in a ring similar to a boxing ring in design but larger in dimension. As professionals, they wear no protective gear except for gloves, cup, and mouthpiece, and "Professional Sanda" allows knee and elbow strikes (including to the head) as well as kicking, punching and throwing.

Some Sanda fighters have participated in fighting tournaments such as K-1, Muay Thai, boxing and Shoot Boxing. They have had some degree of success, especially in Shoot Boxing competitions, which is more similar to Sanda. Due to the rules of kickboxing competition, Sanda fighters are subjected to more limitations than usual. Also notable competitors in China's mainstream Mixed Martial Arts competitions, Art of War Fighting Championship and Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation are dominantly of wushu background. Sanda has been featured in many style-versus-style competitions. Muay Thai is frequently pitted against Sanda as is karate, kickboxing, and Tae Kwon Do. Although it is less common, some Sanda practitioners have also fought in the publicly viewed American Mixed Martial Arts competitions.

Competitions

Major international and regional competitions featuring wushu include:

Wushu is not a Summer Olympic sport; the IWUF has repeatedly backed proposals for Wushu to be added to the Olympic programme, most recently as one of eight sports proposed for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. However, it failed to reach the final shortlist, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ultimately voted for the re-inclusion of wrestling instead. Wushu was formally introduced into the Olympics as an exhibition sport in Berlin, in 1936, under Chancellor Hitler's request. In March 2015, IWUF executive vice president Anthony Goh stated that the Federation was planning to propose Wushu again for the 2024 Summer Olympics. [11] [12] [13] As part of new IOC rules allowing host committees to accept proposals for new sports to be added to the programme (allowing the addition of sports of local interest to the Olympic programme under an "event-based" model), in June 2015, Wushu was shortlisted again as part of eight sports proposed for inclusion in the 2020 Games in this manner. [14] However, it did not make the final shortlist of five. [15] On 8 January 2020, it was announced by the IOC that Wushu will be added to the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics (which have been rescheduled to 2026). [16]

Owing to its cultural significance in China, the IOC allowed the organizers of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to hold a Wushu tournament in parallel with the Games as a separate event the first time that the IOC has allowed such an event. [17] [18] [19]

Wushu was also a demonstration sport at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics at Nanjing, which featured events for Group A athletes who qualified at the World Junior Wushu Championships earlier that year. [20] Wushu was also part of the 2014 Nanjing Sports Lab along with skateboarding, roller skating, and sports climbing. [21]

Notable practitioners

Criticism

Wushu has faced criticism as a competitive sport. It has been criticized by some traditional martial artists for being too commercialized, losing many of its original values, and potentially threatening old styles of teaching. Such critics argue that contemporary wushu helped to create a dichotomy between form work and combat application. [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

See also

Related Research Articles

Tai chi Chinese martial art

Tai chi, short for T'ai chi ch'üan or Tàijí quán (太極拳), sometimes colloquially known as "Shadowboxing", is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for defense training, health benefits, and meditation. The term taiji is a Chinese cosmological concept for the flux of yin and yang, and 'quan' means fist. Etymologically, Taijiquan is a fist system based on the dynamic relationship between polarities. Developed as a martial art, it is practiced for other reasons: competitive wrestling in the format of pushing hands, demonstration competitions, and greater longevity. As a result, a multitude of traditional and modern training forms exist corresponding to those aims with differing emphasis. Some training forms of tai chi are practiced with extremely slow movements.

Shaolin Kung Fu Martial arts, style of kung fu

Shaolin Kung Fu, also called Shaolin Wushu, or Shaolin quan, is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous styles of wushu, or kung fu. It combines Ch'an philosophy and martial arts and originated and was developed in the Shaolin temple in Henan province, China during its 1500-year history. Popular sayings in Chinese folklore related to this practice include "All martial arts under heaven originated from Shaolin" and "Shaolin kung fu is the best under heaven," indicating the influence of Shaolin kung fu among martial arts. The name Shaolin is also used as a brand for the so-called external styles of kung fu. Many styles in southern and northern China use the name Shaolin.

Hung Ga

Hung Ga (洪家), Hung Kuen (洪拳), or Hung Ga Kuen (洪家拳) is a southern Chinese martial art belonging to the southern shaolin styles. It is associated with the Cantonese folk hero Wong Fei Hung, a Hung Ga master.

Chinese martial arts Category of martial arts

Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella terms kung fu, kuoshu or wushu, are several hundred fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" of martial arts. Examples of such traits include Shaolinquan (少林拳) physical exercises involving Five Animals (五形) mimicry or training methods inspired by Old Chinese philosophies, religions and legends. Styles that focus on qi manipulation are called internal, while others that concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness are called external. Geographical association, as in northern and southern, is another popular classification method.

Sanda (sport) Chinese self-defense system and combat sport

Sanda, formerly Sanshou, also known as Chinese boxing or Chinese kickboxing, is the official Chinese full contact combat sport. Sanda is a fighting system which was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the study and practices of traditional Kung fu and modern combat fighting techniques; it combines full-contact kickboxing, which includes close range and rapid successive punches and kicks, with wrestling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, kick catches, and in some competitions, even elbow and knee strikes.

Changquan Martial arts styles

Chángquán refers to a family of external martial arts styles from northern China.

The International Wushu Federation (IWUF) is an international sport organization and is the governing body for wushu in all its forms worldwide. The IWUF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and is also a member of the ARISF, GAISF, FISU, and the ISF.

Nanquan (martial art)

Nanquan refers to a classification of Chinese martial arts that originated south of the Yangtze River of China around late Ming dynasty and early Qing dynasty.

Wushu at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games

Wushu at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games took place in the Emilio Aguinaldo College Gymnasium, in Ermita, Manila, Philippines.

Huaquan

Huaquan is a style of Long Fist Kung Fu (Changquan) which is believed to have originated in the Former Song Dynasty around the Hua Shan area of Shaanxi Province.

Meihuaquan

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The World Wushu Championships (WWC) is an international sports championship hosted by the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) for the sports of wushu taolu and sanda (sanshou). It has been held biennially since 1991 and is the pinnacle event of the IWUF. The World Wushu Championships also coincides with the IWUF Congress as well as with various committee meetings.

Ma Xianda

Ma Xianda, wushu Ninth Duan, was a prominent Chinese martial arts master known for championing the combat and fighting aspects of traditional Chinese martial arts and sanda, as opposed to the performance aspects of modern wushu. Ma was a leading practitioner of his family's martial arts system, Ma Style Tongbeiquan, which is composed of four traditional styles of wushu: Fanziquan, Piguaquan, Bajiquan, and Chuojiao. As of May 2002, when Kung Fu Magazine interviewed him around his 70th birthday, Ma was one of only four living masters to have achieved the highest level of wushu, Ninth Duan.

<i>Gun</i> (staff) Long staff weapon used in Chinese martial arts

A gun is a long Chinese staff weapon used in Chinese martial arts. It is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the qiang (spear), dao (sabre), and the jian. It is called, in this group, "The Grandfather of all Weapons". In Vietnam, the gun is known as Côn in Vietnamese martial arts.

South African Wushu Federation

The South African Wushu Federation (SAWF) is the national governing body for the development and promotion of the sport of wushu also known as kung fu in South Africa. The Federation was formed in 2002.

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The United States of America Wushu Kungfu Federation (USAWKF) is the governing body of wushu-kungfu in the United States. The USAWKF manages and selects the members of the US Wushu Team to compete in various international competitions including the World Wushu Championships, World Junior Wushu Championships, World Kungfu Championships, and the World Taijiquan Championships. The USAWKF also develops regional and national activities relating to Wushu, and has had great influence on how wushu taolu and sanda events are run in the United States. The USAWKF is a member of the Pan-American Wushu Federation (PAWF) and the International Wushu Federation (IWUF).

Taizuquan is a style of Chinese martial arts which name refers Emperor Taizu of Song, the founder of the Song dynasty.

Zhao Qingjian is a former competitive wushu taolu athlete from China. Through his numerous successes in national and international competitions, he established himself as one of the greatest wushu taolu athletes of the 2000s.

Daria Tarasova is a former competitive wushu taolu athlete and coach from Russia. She is one of the most renowned Russian wushu athletes of all time.

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Further reading