The literal meaning of Wushu is Martial arts. Historically Wushu was called “Wu-Yi” which also means martial arts. Wushu Martial art originated China; fairly recently the Chinese government changed its name to “Guoshu” which means national method. In northern America, the art form is popularly known as “Kung-fu” which means an individual’s ability in a skill. The term “Wushu” is also known and accepted and Wushu martial art classes are one of the highest forms of competitive sport activity in the world today.
Classification of Wushu
There are different kinds and styles of Chinese Wushu, so it is very difficult to classify the number of styles. The three kinds of methods, which distinguish the Chinese martial arts, are –
Internal and External styles
The difference of external and internal styles depends on the usage of strength; whether the strength is used from torso and legs or derived from arm and leg muscle. An internal form of martial art style is a more pliable form of fighting.
Northern and Southern Style
This form of style is derived based on origin. There is a fine distinction between the two schools of martial art.
This classification is based on competing group performances.
- Empty hand form
- Weapon form
- Choreographed Routines
- Group Practice
- Sparring Competition
- Qigong Power demonstrations
Wushu’s origin began in China nearly 2500 year ago. The history onsets from the Spring and Autumn and Warring States period in 700-221BC. A method, called Daoyin, was introduced to promote good health.
In 206BC-24AD, a silk scroll was found in Changsha in Hunan Province, which had figures depicting different postures like mediation, bending or squatting. At the end of Eastern Han Dynasty a medical doctor HuaTuo developed Wuqinxi style of exercising in 25-220AD. This exercise involved the mimicry of movements of animals. One of Hua’s disciples Wu Pu had acute hearing and sight tendency. Along with HuaTuo’s and Wu Pu’s inventive work, Chinese Wushu came into origin.
Later, during the Song Dynasty in 960-1279 and Ming Dynasty in 1368-1644, many forms of excercises were introduced -like Baduanjin, which is an eight parts exercise, Yijinjing -a muscular exercise, Taijiquan -a Chinese shadow boxing and Qigong -a breathing exercise.
All over the world, people are fascinated by Chinese Wushu Martial arts. Apart from being a strong defence mechanism, it is said to cure and prevent many body ailments like eyestrain and indigestion.
Difference between various martial arts
There are different kinds of styles in Martial arts. Many kinds of styles are similar to each another and some have striking differences. A punch is not a simple punch in Martial arts. There can be many forms to it.
However, the different kinds of Martial arts are broadly classified as hard acts and soft acts. Hard acts involve physical reaction, which is preceded by mental reaction. Secondly, opponent’s forces have to be dealt with an equal and opposite force. In soft arts, first the mind dictates and then, the opponents force is utilized as a weapon to defeat him or her.
Different kinds of martial arts, which have evolved over the years, are:
This is a kind of soft art, which is Japanese in origin. It does not involve offensive movements. It is used as a defence mechanism against opponent. The movements are performed in circular motions.
This kind of martial arts involves less of kicks and more of punches. Karate in itself means ‘art of empty hand’. There are various sub-styles under Karate.
It is a kind of force-soft art. It is an aggressive kind of Aikido. It is very flexible and involves getting closer to your opponent and then grappling him or her.
This style involves more of kicks rather than grappling and punches.
This is a fine soft art, which can be practiced alone. It is a king of exercise for health and longevity.
Wushu martial art helps you to achieve a conscious mind along with a fit body. When you have an aware body it means you can consciously control your movements.
If children practice Wushu martial arts right from an early stage, they develop great coordination between their physical body and mental state. Apart from many health benefits, we must not forget that Wushu is an ancient martial art.
It is a legacy to be promoted and carried forward to next generation. Wushu martial art classes not only make a person physically strong for defence but also enable a sound mind and body.