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wushu

Wushu (武術) translates as "martial art" and is the correct term for all Chinese martial arts; therefore, kung fu and wushu were originally the same. During the last thirty years, though, wushu in Mainland China was modernized so that there could be a universal standard for training and competing. In essence, much emphasis has been placed on speed, difficulty, and presentation. Consequently, wushu has become an athletic and aesthetic performance and competitive sport, while "kung fu" or traditional wushu remains the traditional fighting practice.

Today, wushu has been organized and systematized into a formal branch of study in the performance arts by the Chinese. It reigns as the most popular national sport in the country of 1.1 billion people, practiced by the young and old alike. It's emphasis has shifted from combat to performance, and it is practiced for its method of achieving heath, mental discipline, recreational pursuit, and competition.

The wealth of wushu's content, the beauty of wushu movents, the difficulty factor, and the scientific training methods are the song of the elements that set wushu apart from martial arts. Routines are performed solo, paired or in groups, either barehanded or armed with traditional Chinese weaponry.

Although still in budding stages in many countries, wushu is an established international sport. In 1990, wushu was inducted as an official medal event in the Asian Games. Since then World Championships have taken place with 56 nations participating.

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