Wushu (also known as Kungfu or Chinese Martial Arts) has developed and enriched itself through the life practice of the Chinese people during the long history of social development in early China. As early as clan communes in primitive society, there appeared forms of wrestling and dances with axe and shield. Through the centuries, Wushuhas developed into a great variety of styles, which are rich in content and diversified in form. Wu Shu routines incorporate kicking, beating, throwing, seizing, striking and thrusting into set routine exercise using various combinations of attack and defense, advance and retreat, dynamic and static states, quickness and slowness, toughness and solidity.
Benefits of Practising Kungfu Wushu
Research shows that regular exercise with Wushu can improve the function of the cardiovascular system, enhance the aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, stimulate respiration and increase one's vitality. It is a complete system for developing strength, flexibility and agility. With graceful movements of the body revealed during exercises, the charm of Wu Shu provides an impressive and artistic delight, whilst sharpening ones' combat and control skills.
Kungfu Wushu Areas of Study
Due to the long & complicated history of Chinese martial arts, KungFu Wushu is commonly recognised as consisting of 2 main areas:
1) Traditional Wushu (includes "Pre-2005 Rules" Wushu Taolu/Routines & Internal KungFu styles)
This area is often defined as having more traditional martial roots. In terms of competition, this area of Wushu simply does not involve what is known as "degree of difficulty".
2) Standardised "New Rules" Wushu
The standardised system of Wushu consists of 2 areas - Taolu (Routines) & Sanda (Combat)
Students choose to specialise in 1 area, and train accordingly. In Taolu competition, judging involves consideration of what's known as "degree of difficulty", largely based on the complexity of acrobatic movements.
Taolu is the most popular area of Wushu, as it is safe (non-combat), and accomoodates a wide range of interests with a huge array of weapons & barehand forms to study. The foundation of Taolu training is Changquan (Longfist) or Nanquan (Southern Fist), followed by the four major weapons - Straight Sword, Broadsword, Spear & Cudgel.
Click the links below to see videos of the different areas of study:
- Kungfu Wushu Basic Training
- Changquan (Long fist)
- Shaolin Straight Sword
- Shaolin Pole
- Shaolin Broad Sword
- Shaolin Spear
- Tong Bei quan system
- Fan Zi quan system
- Baji quan system
- Double Broad Sword
- Guan Dao
- Drunken Sword/Pole
- Monkey Pole
- Three Section Staff
- Nine Section Whip
- Qin Na (Joint Control, Locking and Unlocking)
- Chinese Fast Wrestling
- San Shou-Free Hands Sparing
Study includes contemporary and traditional styles
Fanzi Quan (also known as Fanzi boxing, Tumbling Boxing, or eight-flash boxing) is so called because of its movements which are executed as fast as lightning and thunderclaps. The movements are varied and continuous.
Earlier mentions of Fanzi Quan appeared in a New Essay on Wushu Arts written by anti-Japanese general Qi Jiguang of the Ming Dynasty. From Qi’s account, Fanzi Quan was already a comparatively complete and perfect style of fist style in the Ming Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty Fanzi Quan was popular in North China.
Fanzi Quan stresses the use of hands and body techniques such as side move. Leaning back and turning over, as if a dragon whirling in the clouds, the movements are quick and forceful, attacking and defending in short distance.
Fanzi Quan also stresses the combination of external and internal strengths and energies. Fanzi boxers take root in the legs while emphasizing hand tricks and movements.
The tumbling exercises are categorised into:
Major moves – jabbing, axing, elbowing, jamming, wrestling, rubbing and holding
Minor moves – rolling, lifting, turning, penetrating, slipping, hammering, provoking and flicking.
The routines are rhythmic, containing slow and fast movements, continuous and intermittent actions. The routines are also short and terse, with agile and quick movements arranged in compact patterns.
Fanzi boxers prefer to fight in a straightforward way, freely changing from hardness to softness and vice versa. When the hands strike, the feet follow with a quick step. The body clutches together whilst moving around fast. The fist never strikes aimlessly nor does the hand retreat without trying to attack on its way back.
When practicing, the footwork is steady, posture upright and square, and actions are versatile. One moment the two fists hit straight and the next they are rounded for their attacks. Various tricks and moves are like whirl-winds and the entire routine is completed as if in one breath. The fist hits of Fanzi Quan are described as “dense as rain drops and as fast as a burning string of small firecrackers”. Movements are crisp, fast, hard and resilient.
Baji Quan (also known as eight extremes boxing, open-door eight extremes boxing) is one of the traditional Chinese boxing schools. Baji Quan is known for its forcefulness, simplicity and combative techniques. According to Wushu proverbs: “For ministers, Taiji Quan is for running the country and for generals, Baji Quan is for defending the country.”. From this it can be seen that Baji Quan held a significant position amongst various Chinese boxing schools. This was a fighting style used by imperial guards. The Meng village of Hebei Province is the birth place of Baji Quan. Whilst it is mainly practised in north China, it is also found in some places in the south.
Baji Quan is simple and plain. It consists of short and menacing moves which are forceful, powerful and abrupt and demands hard play in both attack and defence. Elbows are often used in straightforward ways. The explosive power generated are stimulated through breathing which is articulated by the two sounds of “Heng” & “Ha”. Powertful blows are delivered from elbows and shoulders in close combat against the opponent.
Tongbei Quan or back-through boxing, (also called Tongbi Quan or arm-through boxing) is one of the schools popular in north China. Due to its long history, it boasts various names in different places, such as Wuxing (five elements – metal, wood, fire, water, earth), siz combinations, five-monkey, axe hitch and the Shaolin. Although there are different names, the different styles of Tongbei Quan are all based on the same boxing theory and have the same origin.
Originally Tongbei referred to a way of exercise – Tong meaning through & bei meaning back; ie- through the human back. When the exercises are done, power is generated from the back pass through the shoulders and then reach the arms. In this way, heavy blows can be delivered at the arms length to control the opponent. Tongbei emphasises the combination of inner core and outward application. It takes the five elements as its core and back through as its application.
Tongbei takes the five elements of the traditional Chinese philosophy as its basic theory. The five elements of the heaven are metal, wood, earth, water and fire; while those of the human being are the heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney. The five elements of boxing are wrestling, battling, piercing, axing and boring. The Chinese boxing philosophy believes that everything in the world finds its roots in the five elements while all boxing schools are also based on its five elements.
Tongbei boxing is characterised by movements based on birds and animals – monkeys, eagles, cranes & cats.