Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wushu, the Chinese word


Wushu, the Chinese word meaning "martial art", originated in China and is composed of two disciplines: taolu (routines) and sanshou (combat). The competitive routines are based on different styles of techniques and movements.

Performances include bare hands, sword and broadsword as short apparatus; spear and cudgel as long apparatus.

Both are characterised by deliberate and powerful movements (stances, kicks, punches, balances, jumps and sweeps) particular to the style.

Competitors are given points based on their wushu "taolu" or forms, which are martial art patterns and manoeuvres.


Wushu dates back to the Zhou dynasty (11th century BC to 256BC) in China. In legend, Wushu traces its origins back into antiquity, when Shaolin monks from Chinese Buddhist temples harboured retired soldiers who taught them self-defence techniques.

Around AD500, in an effort to protect themselves from bandits and criminals, the monks began to codify what they had learned into a "shaolin kung fu" style.

Wushu has developed over the centuries through the incorporation of various other martial art forms. It is now practiced in countries and regions around the world.

In 1990, the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) was established and it holds the World Championships of Wushu every two years. The first was held in Beijing, in 1991. In 2002, the IWUF was recognised by the IOC, and today it represents 97 federations from all continents.

Wushu was first introduced to the Asian Games in 1990, and later was a part of the programme for the 14th Asian Games in Busan. Korea in 2002.



Changquan (Long Fist): The most widely seen of the wushu forms, includes whirling, running, leaping and acrobatics.

Nanquan (Southern Fist): Originating in south China, it consists of vigorous, athletic movements with very stable, low stances and intricate hand movements. Nanquan typically requires less flexibility and has fewer acrobatics than changquan, but demands greater leg stability and considerable power generated through leg and hip coordination.

Taijiquan (Taiji Fist): Famous for slow, relaxed movements and is often used as an exercise method by the elderly.
Dao (single-edged sword) A changquan method using a medium-sized willow-leaf-shaped dao
Jian (double-edged sword) A changquan method of using the jian
Qiang A flexible spear with red hair attached to the spearhead
Taijijian An event using the jian based on traditional taijiquan jian methods
Nandao A weapon that appears to be based on the butterfly swords of yongchunquan, but has been lengthened and changed so that only one is used (as opposed to a pair). This event is a nanquan method and was created in 1992
Gun A long (usually bamboo) staff as tall as the wrist of a person standing
with his/her arms stretched upwards
Nangun A nanquan method of using the gun, created in 1992

The wushu competition will consist of the following events in the 15th Asian Games:

* Three events combined
* Changquan (no weapons)
* Daoshu (short weapon)
* Gunshu (long weapon)


* Two events combined
* Taijiquan (no weapons)
* Taijijian (short weapon)


* Three events combined
* Nanquan (no weapon)
* Nandao (short weapon)
* Nangun (long weapon


* Five weight categories
* Sanshou -52kg
* Sanshou -56kg
* Sanshou -60kg
* Sanshou -65kg
* Sanshou -70kg


* Three events combined:
* Qangquan (no weapons)
* Jianshu (short weapon)
* Qiangshu (long weapon)


* Two events combined
* Taijiquan (no weapons)
* Taijijian (short weapon)


* Three events combined
* Nanquan (no weapon)
* Nandao (short weapon)
* Nangun (long weapon)


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