Among China’s well kept secrets, one caught the imagination of Americans – Chinese Wu Shu Kung Fu. Wu shu History is an important component of the cultural heritage of China, with a rich content that has remained untarnished over the centuries. Literally translated, “wu” is military, “shu” is art. Wu Shu Kung Fu therefore means the art of fighting, or martial arts.
Previously, Wu Shu Kung Fu figured significantly in the simple matter of survival through China’s many wars and political upheaval. Today, Wu Shu Kung Fu has been organised and systematised 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 1.3 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, self-defense skills, mental discipline, recreational pursuit and competition.
To describe Wu Shu Kung Fu, it is best to understand the philosophy of its teaching. Every movement must exhibit sensible combat application and aestheticism. The wealth of Wu Shu Kung Fu content, the beauty of Wu Shu Kung Fu movements, the difficulty factor, and the scientific training methods are the song of the elements that set Wu Shu Kung Fu apart from martial arts. Routines are performed solo, paired or in groups, either barehanded or armed with traditional Chinese weaponry. In short, Wu Shu Kung Fu is the most exciting martial art to be seen, felt, and ultimately practiced.
How is Wu Shu Kung Fu related to kung fu and Tai Chi Chuan? “Wushu” is the correct term for all Chinese martial arts therefore kung fu and Wu Shu Kung Fu were originally the same. During the last thirty years, Wu Shu Kung Fu in Mainland China was modernised 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 Wu Shu Kung Fu remains the traditional fighting practice. Tai Chi Chuan is a major division of Wu Shu Kung Fu, utilising the bodies internal energy or “chi” and following the simple principle of “subduing the vigorous by the soft.”
Although still in budding stages in many countries, Wu Shu Kung Fu 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. Wushu is also vying for the Olympic games in the 21st century.
References for this Wu Shu History article