Who's who of Wushu

Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2013-9-5 14:00:00

        Editor's Note

"Kung fu: hard work over time to accomplish skill. Learn the form, but seek the formless."
"Hear the soundless. Learn it all, then forget it all. Learn the way, then find your own way.
But do not name it, my friend, for it is like water."
"Nothing is softer than water…yet it can overcome rock. It does not fight. It flows around the opponent."
"Formless, nameless… the true master dwells. Only you can free him."

-Quotes from the film The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li

        Latest News

Martial arts festival held in NW China
A martial arts festival was held at the Tianshan Mountain scenic area in Fukang city, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on August 7, 2013.



Wushu vs kung fu
Wushu, with its long history of development in China, refers to the Chinese martial arts executed through the body or weapons, such as swords, sabers and spears. Kung fu, on the other hand, is a term that came into use during the Qing Dynasty to not only refer to martial arts, but also the endurance and longevity of Chinese culture and spirit.

American Heritage Dictionary
“the Chinese martial arts”
Random House Word Menu
“Chinese philosophical teachings that form the basis of certain martial arts”
Kung fu Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
“A Chinese martial art that is simultaneously a spiritual and a physical discipline. Its prescribed stances and actions are based on keen observations of human skeletal and muscular anatomy and physiology, and many of its movements are imitations of the fighting styles of animals.”
Oxford Dictionary
 “In Chinese, a general term for spiritual discipline. While many in the West use the term to refer to a particular form of martial arts, the word actually means any discipline that one undertakes as a vehicle for spiritual development. Thus, besides martial arts, other arts such as dancing, flower arranging, calligraphy, or painting can be considered one’s ‘kung fu’.”


   Major wushu sects

∮ Shaolin Sect
Shaolin wushu refers to the traditional cultural system that has formed in the particular Buddhist cultural environment in Shaolin Temple of Songshan Mountain. It is based on a belief in the supernatural power of Buddhism and fully reflects the wisdom of Chan Buddhism. The martial arts practiced by monks in the Shaolin Temple are its major form of expression.
According to the kung fu guidebooks handed down in the Shaolin Temple, Shaolin kung fu has 708 series of movements, including 552 series of quan and weapons techniques, along with another 156 series including 72 unique skills, qi gong, grappling, wrestling, and attacking vital body points. There are a total 545 series of movements, including 178 quan series, 193 weapons series, 59 combat series as well as 115 others.

∮ Wudang Sect
Named after the Wudang Mountain in Central China’s Hubei Province, Wudang has roots in Chinese Taoism, which emphasizes spiritual cultivation and physical regimens aiming to unveil the ‘way’ to longevity. Wudang kung fu is the result of channels an individual’s inherent yet static qigong into defensive skills.

∮ Emei Sect

Emei wushu developed in the Emei Mountain in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province and incorporates the local Bashu Culture into its style. Traditional Emei wushu is both Buddhist and Taoist in nature as well as a mixture of internal and external martial arts. Many of the arts are a mix of training methods, sparring techniques, hand forms and weapon forms from both Buddhist and Taoist styles.

∮ Kongtong Sect
Fei Hongzi, a sword master, founded his style of martial arts during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), naming it in honor of the sacred Kongtong Mountain located in Northwest China’s Gansu Province. Sharing roots in Taoism, Kongtong wushu bears resemblance to Wudang and Kunlun wushu, but its main focus lies in improving physical fitness and increasing energy. There are six major styles of Kongtong wushu, with Flower Form ranking the highest level. Practitioners of Kongtong use unique and exquisite weapons, which unlike swords and sabers, are easy to carry.

Wushu sects  Shaolin Wudang
 Founder  Bodhidharma  Zhang Sanfeng Situ Xuankong  Fei Hongzi
Present head
Shi Yongxin You Xuande  Wu Xinliang Bai Yihai
 Famed style
Quan techniques  Tai chi  Emei Jiulong Baguazhang  Flower Form
 Source  Shaolin.org.cn  Chinawudang.com  ems517.com  kongtongws.com

 Modern Development

● Popularizing

New standards boost age-old martial art
According to a development report released by the Chinese Wushu Association on August 6, 257,137 domestic exercisers and 3,409 overseas practitioners from 69 countries and regions have obtained classifications in the Duanwei System, a hierarchical system that evaluates wushu practitioners' qualifications.

● Medicinal use
Health value of Qigong secures more theoretical support from scholars
The health value of Qigong has gained more theoretical support from scholars who gathered on August 18 at the first International Health Qigong Forum.

Tai chi may improve quality of life in chronic heart failure patients: study

Tai chi exercise appears to be associated with improved quality of life, mood and exercise self-efficacy in patients with chronic heart failure, according to a report published on April 25, 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

● Olympic event
In 2008, wushu, was accepted as a special event in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
As a formal competitive event, the Chinese wushu Duan System, implemented by the Chinese Wushu Association, was introduced to evaluate wushu practitioners.
There are four levels of Duan
1. Qualification
2. Elementary: Levels 1-3
3. Intermediate: Levels 4-6
4. Advanced: Levels 7-9

Source: Chinese Wushu Association

Wushu festivals
More than 10 wushu sects gathered together at the Tianshan event, which was held in the Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on August 8, displaying their skills and exchanging ideas of practicing wushu.

● Martial arts schools

Shaolin: Shaolin Tagou Martial Art Institute
Inaugurated in 1978, the Shaolin Tagou Martial Art Institute is a school dedicated to developing the legacy of Shaolin kung fu.

Source: Shaolin Temple

Shaolin Jianye International Football School

This soccer school, constructed in Dengfeng city of Henan Province, is located only miles away from the Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of kung fu. The school aims at helping Chinese soccer development through the ancient martial art. It is expected to recruit more than 10,000 students upon its completion in three years.

Source: Xinhua

Wudang martial art education focuses on individual needs in a larger school setting. From the fundamental theories of Wudang to execution, teachers and coaches provide a systemic and thorough education.

Source: chinawudang.com

The Kongtong School of Martial Arts, situated at the foot of Kongtong Mountain, has 260 students from across the country, who wake up at 5:30 am every day to practice martial arts skills.

Source: Xinhua

● Scandal
Qigong(Chinese breathing exercise), the ancient Chinese healing practice, has seen a recent revival in popularity, especially among celebrities. Although a number of pseudo-qigong masters have been revealed as frauds and have lost public credibility, their celebrity fan base has proven to be more loyal than most.

Fake master probed for fraud
Self-proclaimed qigong master to the stars Wang Lin was suspected of illegal medical practice, according to a report by the Beijing News on July 29.

Wushu madness
A Video clip demonstrating “magical” power has been circulating online, featuring a 58-year-old woman named Yan Fang, from Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. The video shows Yan, a self-proclaimed “Jingwu tai chi first heir,” demonstrating her “Pushing Hands” technique as she accepted new students in June.

     Overseas crush

Wushu, an epitome of Chinese cultural heritage, attracts millions of followers domestically and overseas. It provides a valuable bridge to understand Chinese culture and strengthen cultural exchange.

Shaolin’s enduring appeal
Shaolin Temple, believed to be the birthplace of kung fu, saw more than 250 students from the US pay homage to the Chinese martial art on July 3.

Chinese Shaolin monks rock New York train station with Kung Fu show
A group of Chinese Shaolin monks performed Chinese kung fu at New York City's Grand Central Terminal to promote a new circus show in 2012.

Medical middleman
Karim Nimri connects physicians from East and West at NexusChina.net, an intercultural exchange point for healthcare professionals. He also arranges tours for foreign tourists to go sightseeing, visit wushu masters or just see traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practiced up close.



Huo Yuanjia  (Jan 18, 1868 – Aug 9,1910)
Huo was a Chinese martial artist and a practitioner of Mizong Quan, a technique in Shaolin wushu. Huo is considered a hero in China for defeating foreign fighters in highly publicized matches at a time when Chinese sovereignty was being eroded by colonization, foreign concessions, and spheres of influence. Due to his heroic status, legends and myths about events in his life were made into films. 

Yip Man  (Oct 1, 1893 – Dec 2,1972)
Also known as Ip Man, Yip was a Chinese martial artist and grandmaster of Wing Chun Quan, a school of Shaolin wushu. He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee.

Wong Fei-hung  (Jul 9, 1847 – Mar 25, 1924)
Wong was a Chinese martial artist, physician, acupuncturist, and revolutionary who became a folk hero and the subject of numerous films and television series. He was considered an expert in the Shaolin wushu style of Hung Gar (Hong Quan).


Bruce Lee
Born on November 27, 1940 in San Francisco, Lee made his American debut in a groundbreaking role on the 1966-67 television series The Green Hornet. Eager to challenge Hollywood’s stereotypical images of Asian Americans, he returned to Hong Kong and ultimately developed his own style of kung fu. On the strength of his film, Enter the Dragon (1973), Lee returned to the attention of American audiences and posthumously ushered in a new era of cinematic art. Stars such as David Carradine, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, and fellow Hong Kong martial artist Jackie Chan would follow his example, making Lee the father of an enduring style of action hero. Lee tragically died on the set of a film on July 20, 1973 at the age of 32.

Jackie Chan
Born on 7 April, 1954, Chan is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer and martial artist. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons and innovative stunts. Chan, one of the few actors that perform all of his own stunts, has been acting since the 1960s and has appeared in over 150 films.

Jet Li
Born on 26 April, 1963, Beijing-born Li is a film actor, martial artist and wushu champion. Following in the footsteps of Jackie Chan, Li's lightning-fast moves, friendly sense of humor and genuine concern for his fans have endeared him to a generation of international action-film lovers as one of the most respected figures in martial arts cinema.

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Web editor: duliya@globaltimes.com.cn

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