Chinese martial arts (武术; Wǔshù) is the treasure of Chinese traditional cultures. It has rich connation, also can be performed in varies styles. Wǔshù has now become a multi-societal-functional sport that has its own system. Nevertheless, Wǔshù is the diamond of the Oriental cultures, shinning all over the world. Wǔshù did not only been globally spread, it is also known as an important part of constructing the world’s sport cultures.
Type of Wǔshù
Wǔshù has several hundred fighting styles that have developed over centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" (家; jiā), "sects" (派; pài) or "schools" (门; mén) of martial arts. These forms of different styles are usually combines by series of predetermined movements, which called “Tàolù” (套路). Tàolù are mainly formed by kick (踢; tī), punch (打;dǎ ), throw (摔; shuāi), seize (拿; ná), hit (击; jī) and stab (刺;cì ). These kinds of powerful attacks are one of the biggest features in Wǔshù, they are also the most attractive point of playing this type of sport.
Wǔshù are generally divided into Chinese boxing and armed boxing.
Chinese boxing is playing with free-hand, it is the foundation of Wushu. There are different Tàolù in Chinese boxing, including Long Fist (长拳; Chángquán), Southern Fist (南拳;nánquán), Tàijíquán (太极拳), Shǎolínquán (少林拳) , imitative-styles (象形拳 ; xiàngxíngquán) and etc.
Long Fist (长拳) is also called as Northern Fist, as it was invented by the northern people. The forms of the Long Fist style emphasize fully extended kicks and striking techniques, and by appearance would be considered as a long-range fighting system. Long Fist requires great speed, power, accuracy, flexibility and athleticism, so it is often practiced from a young age.
Southern Fist (南拳) is popular around the southern provinces, it emphasises on "short hitting" on the arms movement predominantly. It also features vigorous, athletic movements with very stable, low stances, extensive hand techniques and a vocal articulation called "release shout" (发声; fāshēng). There are a saying in China, ‘southern hand and northern leg’ (南拳北腿; nánquánběituǐ), which is describing the differences of features in Long Fist and Southern Fist.
Tàijíquán (太极拳) is practiced for both its defensive training and its health benefits. The term Taiji (太极) refers to a philosophy of the forces of yin and yang, related to the moves. It is performing in slow pace, relaxing the human body, so it is popular in elderly and sick people.
Shǎolínquán (少林拳) is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous form of Wǔshù, its movements are fast, bold and powerful. There are famous sayings, "All martial arts under heaven originated from Shǎolín" and "Shǎolínquán is the best under heaven."
Imitative-styles (象形拳) is a form of Wǔshù that imitate the movements of different animals, or the movements and expressions of drunk people. It is an interesting style of Wǔshù, people often found it funny to perform with, and yet it is still a very powerful form of Wǔshù, so it is quite popular among people who love Chinese martial arts.
Most Wǔshù styles also make use of performing in the broad arsenal of Chinese weapons for conditioning the body as well as coordination and strategy drills. There are three types of weapons: long weapon (长兵器; chángbīngqì), short weapon (短兵器; duǎnbīngqì), and soft weapon (软兵器; ruǎnbīngqì). Long weapons included spear (枪; qiāng), Rod (棍; gùn), Knife (刀; dāo) etc; short weapons included double-edged sword (剑; jiàn) and etc; soft weapons included nine-section whip (九节鞭; jiǔjiébiān), three section cudgel (三节棍; sānjiégùn), bola (流星锤; liúxīngchuí) etc.
Armed boxing (器械术; qìxièshù) are generally carried out after people who are proficient in the basics, forms and applications training. The basic theory for armed boxing is to consider the weapon as an extension of the body. The process of armed boxing proceeds with forms, forms with partners and then applications.
Chinese Wǔshù has lay their root in the soil of the profound Chinese traditional culture, as mentioned before, this tradition has been developingceaselessly throughout the long-stand Chinese history. Even in this new era, Chinese Wǔshù will never get old and outdated, it will evolves with time, combining with new things, and go abroad the world.