Well in my post I am always talking about Wushu these and Wushu that, but I haven’t really explained what I exactly Wushu is. This is just a really small summary, to give you a better idea what I am talking about.

To understand this we have to start with a bit of history.

Legends say, Wushu, or let’s say the Chinese Martial Arts, are over 4000 years old. The earliest records are found 500 BC. From that time on you will find different fighting styles mentioned in various records. Over the time many different styles emerged. Some still exist, others disappeared. They were often influenced by religion. F.e. Shaolin Wushu was in the beginning a gymnastic training for the monks, to improve their health, so that they were able to meditate longer. Another example is the concept of Yin and Yang, which is why most Wushu styles have hard and soft elements, a nice example are the Wudang styles.

Right now some say there are about 300 different styles listed(for more information) Some of the big schools are Shaolin, Wudang, Emei, Bagua, Qi Gong, Tai Chi. Each of these schools again can be divided into smaller families and styles. Some schools mix styles or integrated parts of other styles into their training. For example most styles use Qi Gong elements in their daily training regime.

You see the problem. Because there are so many different styles it is really hard to define what Wushu is. There was no set of rules which defined all of them.

Which leads to a rather current problem. At some point the political party stepped in and formed the term “modern wushu” which is a style mainly focused on acrobatics and body control, less on actual fighting and self-defense. Many traditional styles got banned. Luckily this changed over the past years and the International Wushu Confederation now supports traditional styles too.

So what exactly is Wushu?

Wushu, as I understand it, is the overall term for all Chinese Martial Arts. It is not a single martial art style, but many different ones.

Depending on the style Wushu can focus on health and inner energy, on self-defense, on using certain weapons, on the sports aspect or on maintaining traditional fighting skills.

I haven’t really decided yet which of these many styles I want to learn. I tried out Shaolin Wushu and Sanda(chinese kickboxing) and also Wudang and Bagua. I still have to figure out which one suits me the most. But I think I will focus on Shaolin.



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