What is Wushu

Wushu, or more accurately “Modern Wushu”, is an exhibiton and contact sport form of contemporary Chinese martial arts that combines martial arts moves with elements of performance. Modern Wushu is a sport that developed in China around 1948 to help standardize Chinese Kung Fu. Some standardized forms or Tao Lu somewhat resemble movements one sees in Gymnastics, such as high jumps, long jumps, twists, turns, and flips. Many Wushu Schools, and Organizations are hoping to see Wushu in the 2020 olympics. In 2008 Wushu was a preliminary sport. Movements in wushu are executed with explosive power and speed punctuated with sudden stops. The wushu practitioner must combine all three elements of speed, flexibility and power with flawless technique, fierce intent and effortless execution.

Northern Wushu Long Fist (Chang Quan) is exactly what the name resembles. Long Fist, has many open hand, and long arm techniques. One will find that Long Fist requires a lot of speed, flexibility, acrobats, and stamina. Long Fist is a general term for external (as opposed to internal) Northern Wushu. It is one of the types of Wushu kung fu. The forms within the Long Fist style emphasize fully extended kicks and striking techniques, and by its appearance would be considered a long range fighting system. In some Long Fist styles the motto is that "the best defense is a strong offense," in which case the practitioner launches a pre-emptive attack so aggressive that the opponent doesn't have the opportunity to attack. Long Fist uses large, extended, circular movements to improve overall body mobility in the muscles, tendons, and joints. After advanced study, a Long Fist practitioner will find that its forms contain Qin Na joint-locking techniques, as well as Shuai Jiao throws and takedowns.The Long Fist style contains a good balance of hand and foot techniques, but in particular it is renowned for its impressive acrobatic kicks. Of contemporary wushu events, Long Fist techniques are most popular and memorable with its whirling, running, leaping, and acrobatics. Chang quan moves are difficult to perform, requiring great flexibility and athleticism comparable to gymnasts. Long Fist’s arsenal of kicks covers everything from a basic front toe-kick to a jumping back-kick, from a low sweep to a tornado-kick.

Southern Wushu Southern Fist (Nan Quan) is all about power. Nan Quan is also different from Long Fist in the fact that the attacks are mostly at a shorter distance meaning arms bent slightly kicks not fully extended, and attacks from different angles. Lower stances such as horse stance, and tiger stance are emphasized in Southern Fist to develop leg strength, and power. Southern Fist, (Nan Quan) is a modern style created in 1960 derived from martial arts in the Chinese provinces south of the Yangtze River and predominantly those styles popular in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Zhejiang. The basis of contemporary Nánquán hail primarily from traditional Cantonese family styles of Hong (Hung), Li (Lei), Liu (Lau), Mo (Mok) and Cai (Choi) along with their more contemporary Kung Fu variants of Choi Lei Fut and Hung Ga. Southern Fist shows a lot of both northern and southern tiger and crane techniques. Some gymnastic skills are required for Southern fist as well, but more is found in Long Fist.

As mentioned before Wushu is both exhibition and full contact sport. Aside from the graceful acrobats, mind blowing punches and kicks there is Sanda. 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. Sanda is basically like a UFC fight, but allowing pressure points, and not allowing ground and pound.