Maybe Chinese culture had been looked as backward since the late Ming dynasty compared with the western culture; it still owns its unique and splendid cultural legacy which will never lose its charm. Martial art (WuShu武术), also called Kung Fu, is part of the valuable cultural legacy. Wushu, one of the Chinese ancient traditional sports, is the most valuable Chinese cultural heritage. It has a long history. And its content is rich. Wushu has been developed and enjoyed by Chinese people for thousands of years, because it is of great importance in conditions and community where nature adapts things and only the fittest survives. Many Chinese people practice wushu for the purpose of health, physical training and self-defense. It is not only of skill but also a type of thoroughly tempered traditional Chinese culture. Since China has been flourishing both in culture and acrobatic skills, these two fields then gradually combined together to form the distinctive martial art. It is science and good sport. There will be full scope for Wushu's special character and benefits in the "All People's Health Plan of China". Wushu is more and more enjoyed by the World. Now Wushu is not only immensely popular in China but also arousing interest among foreigners and is taught in many countries throughout the world. That is the Chinese people's great contribution to the whole world for people's health and happiness.
Wushu is practiced in various types of set exercises, either barehanded or with weapons, based on movements employed in fighting, such as kicking, striking, throwing, catching, repelling and stabbing. Performers follow the laws of change from one to the other of two contradictory aspects: attack and defense, advance and retreat, action and inaction, acceleration and deceleration, strength and grace, false move and real move. In fact, Chinese wushu can employ a lot of articles as weapons. Wushu Weapons evolved from ancient Chinese military weapons. Besides frequently-used broad sword (刀), spear (枪), double-edged sword (剑), club (棍), nine-section whip (九节鞭) and plummet (锤), sabre, rapier and cudgel, there are bow, arrow, slingshot, Ge, halberd, hook, Guai, shield, dagger, whip, rapier, Biangan, Quan, meteor hammer, Dang, fork, Pa, hammer, Zhua, Emeici, axe, Yue, Shuo, spade and Jue in Wushu exercises. Sabre, spear, rapier and cudgel are the four main weapons in contemporary Wushu.
Sabre the most commonly-used weapon, is the first among the 18 Main Weapons. In practicing Sabre, the common techniques are: hacking, cutting, stirring, cloud sabre, stretching, trowel, lunging, hanging, springing, parrying, back chopping, hiding, intercepting, twisting, wrapping Guonao, sweeping, pressing, pushing, blocking, dividing, bringing and pointing. Sabre play has characteristics that are swift, overwhelming and powerful. Sabre play in its daily training can balance the development of the muscles and improve the health and ability of the organs.
Spear is one of the long weapons and the king of Wushu Weapons. Blocking, sweeping piercing, splitting, poking, lunging, hacking, circling and stirring are its characteristics.
Rapier, one of the short Wushu Weapons, is the father of the Wushu Weapons. In rapierplay, the common techniques are lunging, up-stirring, chopping, trowel, withdrawing, stirring, intercepting, pointing and so on. Rapier play's characteristics are light, swift, graceful and flexible.
Cudgel is a long weapon. There are many different cudgel routines and cudgel styles, but they have the same characteristics. These are chopping, splitting, circling, pointing, stirring, blocking, sweeping and so on. Playing cudgel requires familiarity with hand and arm forms. The body should be joined together with the cudgel in movement. Power is at the cudgel tip. Sweeping should be fierce. Cudgel play should be fierce, swift and powerful. There is a saying: Spear lunging a line, cudgel sweeping a space. All the above-mentioned weapon routines and styles are taught by famous masters and experts.
As a unique national sport, Wushu has advantages in many aspects. To begin with, it builds strong bodies, steels and will-power as well as giving training in fighting skills. On the other hand, as it contains many beautiful, graceful movements, it can be appreciated as a kind of body motion art and therefore it is not only used for fighting scenes in Chinese opera but employed in modern movies. In both the west and the east for the same function. Further more, since Wushu is merged with Chinese culture, a Wush training process is also a self-cultivating process. So people will raise their quality and spirits as well as their fighting skills as they are training.
Wushu pattern comprises fist pattern and weapon pattern. Fist pattern has been the main content of Wushu since ancient times. Fist pattern comprises schools of Shaolinquan, Taijiquan, Changquan, Nanquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang.
Shaolinquan consists of both quick and changing positions and solid and powerful movements. The characteristics of Taijiquan are subduing the active by the calm, subduing the vigorous by the soft, and avoiding the "solid" and attacking the "solid". The research of the school on Changquan, Chaquan, Huaquan, Paoquan, Hongquan, Fanziquan, Chuojue, Baji, Shuihuquan, 36 styles Songjiangquan, 72 styles Yanqing Wuxingquan, Sunbinguai and so on are very fruitful. The school also made great contributions to the development of them. Their stability in position and lightness and quickness in movement greatly impressed the World. All those patterns, routines and styles are taught by famous masters in Songjiang Wushu School.
Shaolin KongFu has originated in the particular Buddhist cultural environment in the Shaolin Temple of Mountain Songshan over a long history. It is one of the ways the monks in the Shaolin Temple practice the Chan Buddhism. The soul of the Shaolin KongFu is rooted in the wisdom of Chan Buddhism which reflects a thorough understanding of the life. Shaolin KongFu is the one school among a myriad of Chinese martial arts schools, which enjoys the longest history, the most complete and the largest system. The design and the arrangement of Shaolin KungFu movements are based on the medical knowledge of ancient China. Those movements fit the natural structure of the human body and give full play to the potential of the human body?
Being the outstanding example of ancient Chinese martial arts culture, Shaolin KongFu is very popular in many countries with different cultures. It is a vivid legend in the history of the civilization. Shaolin KongFu has already become the important spiritual asset of the Chinese people and the precious cultural inheritance owned by all the people in the world.
For more information about Shaolin and Shaolin Kungfu and the relevant pictures, please go to Shaolin Temple.
In the following，four major types of barehanded boxing sets of Wushu are introduced: Changquan boxing (长拳): This set is characterized by the smooth posture, strong, quick and flexible movements and strongly accented rhythms. It contains a series of moves spring up into the air, which are the most difficult. It is suitable for those who have thin and soft bodies to play this boxing.
Nanquan boxing (南拳): This set is prevailing in south China, especially in Guangdong and Fujian. It processes stable position, steady step, short compact and mighty, powerful moves. It emphasizes the fists strength but contains fewer legs motions. This set owns firm and vigorous momentum and is suitable for those who are short and strong.
Taijiquan boxing (太极拳): This type of boxing came into being in the 17th century when Ming Dynasty was being replaced by Manchurianand wars were frequent. In actual fighting, this form was able to overcome might through supple and clever moves. Its major characteristics are its gentle, relaxed and continuous movements and its requirement for serenity and concentration on mind.
Wudangquan boxing(武当拳): This set is originated fromWudang School in the Wuliang mountain of Yunnan province. It is quite similar to the Taijiquan, adopting many moves from Taijiquan and Changquan. Its motions couple hardness with softness. When playing it, all parts of the person抯 body acts as an organic whole, giving a unique style with force and suppleness.
Besides those mentioned above, there are a large number of other forms and sets that are too many to mention. In fact, the Chinese martial art is so rich, broad and profound that one might only learn a few of it. However, because of the same reason, it is very attractive and worthwhile for people to study.
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