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Do you know Bruce Lee, Jet Li or Jackie Chan, all famous Chinese film stars adept in Wushu? Wow, how magic and terrific! Anyone who has seen classical Chinese Kung Fu movies will be deeply impressed by the Chinese Wushu, which is called Kung Fu or Chinese martial arts in the west. This year's hottest Kung Fu movie is the Hollywood box office hit, Chow Yun-Fat's CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, another martial arts epic.

Wushu (also known as kung-fu or martial arts) is one of the typical demonstrations of traditional Chinese culture. It is a sport which utilizes both brawn and brain.

The theory of Wushu is based upon classical Chinese philosophy, while the skills of Wushu consist of various forms of fighting: fist fights, weapon fights, and other fighting routines (including such offence and defence acts as kicking, hitting, throwing, holding, chopping and thrusting) and unarmed combats.

Wushu is not only a sporting exercise but also an artistic form. It is used to cure illness as well as for self-defence and is a comprehensive form of culture of the human body.

Literally, wu means military while shu means art, thus Wushu the art of fighting or martial arts. Wushu is an important and unique component of Chinese cultural heritage with centuries of cultural history attached. Wushu not only includes physical exercise but also Chinese philosophy, meditation and aesthetics.

Wushu enjoys a long history and great popularity in China. Thanks to its uniqueness and charisma originating from traditional oriental culture, Wushu is captivating the attention of more and more people in other nations.

In the past, Wushu was developed for the sake of military prowess and physical well being. Wushu was seen as crucial to a soldier's survival in the time of hand -to -hand combat. Today, military function has faded and it has been organized and systematized into a formal branch of study in the performance arts by the Chinese, while it's physical welfare and athletic functions become dominant. Hence Wushu is popular among the whole nation of China, practiced by men and women, young and old alike. Today many people practice Wushu to pursue health, defense skills, mental discipline, entertainment and competition.

Wushu can be practiced solo, paired or as a group, barehanded or armed with ancient Chinese weapons. In centuries past, Wushu developed into many systems and styles. The most famous systems include Shaolin Temple system and Mt. Wudang System. Only the Shaolin system has hundreds of styles. Among the many styles are Chang quan (long fist), Nan quan (southern fist), Taiji quan (shadow boxing or supreme ultimate fist), Xingyi quan (mind fist), Baqua quan (eight directions fist). The former two belong to the external style which emphasizes physical strength and abilities while the latter three belong to the internal style that depends upon internal power-qi. The ancient weaponry of Chinese Wushu consists of many represented by 18 named weapons.

Recently, Chinese Wushu has been modernized. Training and competing standard systems have been set up. Continuing its fighting function, Wushu becomes a more athletic and aesthetic performance and competitive sport. More and more foreigners come to learn the mysterious Wushu. In order to promote Wushu internationally, China Zhengzhou International Shaolin Wushu Festival will be held twice annually.

Wushu is now to be a sport of the Olympic Games soon.

Chinese Kungfu Characteristics

As one of the earliest and long-lasting sports, Wushu has developed its own characteristics over time. Major characteristics are listed below:

1. A fight stressing the use of legs
Because of its long history incorporating differences in culture, ideology, region and usages, Wushu has developed into a great variety of schools and styles. While some schools emphasize the use of fists and hand technique, others emphasize leg technique and footwork ( Fig . left ) Some take interest in the variation of acts whereas others prefer simplicity. Some focus on keeping opponents at arm's and leg's length while others like to fight in close contact. The assortment of schools and styles displays the colorful features of Wushu and gratifies the various needs of people.

2. Wushu includes the use of many weapons.
Chinese ancients named the Wushu arsenal the "Eighteen Arms," but there are many more in use. Almost all fights are accompanied by weapon usage of one kind or another. The combination of fist fights and weapon usage allows for a fuller and more efficient application of Wushu skills while sh-arpening the insight of combat and control and enriching the program of Wushu exercise.

3. The combination of offence and defence is the essence of Wushu.
Implications of offence and de-fence permeate the complete gamut of Wushu exercise. They are fully demonstrated in both practice and real combat. Even a solo practice implies the atmosphere of offence and defence against an imaginary opponent in time and space. Wushu masters have systematically summed up the con-tradictions of offence and defence and established a set of theories and techniques on combat.

4. The movement of the human body is only the external display of Wushu.
Wushu is by no means limited to the external movement, but also emphasizes the full display of the internal temperament, mental attitude and potential of the human being. The practice of Wushu not only strengthens the bones and muscles but also the internal organs and intelligence. Coordination and cooperation are called for with each and every movement of the hand, eye, body, foot and form of movement. Wushu stresses that the mind directs the circulation of air flow within the body and that the inner circulation of air generates the external strength, so demonstrating the combination of external and internal forces. Cultivating air flows inside the body in order to improve the basic structures inside the body is an important purpose of Wushu exercises .

5. Ingenious applications of substantial and insubstantial blows are incorporated in the movements and forces of Wushu. Motion and stillness alternate with each other, while hardness and softness su-pplement one another, greatly enhancing the artistic expression and the practicality of Wushu, and de-monstrating its inclusive and equilibristic nature. Once in action, the movements can be as fast and forceful as a gust of wind, while being still, the body looks as steady as a mountain. Hard blows are like lightning and thunderclaps, whereas soft punches are like breezes delicately caressing willow twigs. Human feelings and abilities are clearly demonstrated through the rhythmic movements of opening and closing, and the emotions excited in doing exercises.

Chinese Kungfu Functions

Wushu boasts versatile functions, of which the most outstanding are:

(1) Moral Cultivation
As a human practice which stresses cultivation of moral characters and demon-stration of spirit and temperament, Wushu is conducive to developing good manners and con-duct. It also helps adjust one's psychology. The moral characters and etiquette are held in esteem by all schools of Wushu masters.

(2) offence and Defence
Wushu practitioners can master various offence and defence techniques of armed and unarmed combat for self defence through a great number of training exercises. Many of the Wushu techniques can also be utilized in military and police training programs.

(3) Curative Effect
Tai Chi Quan, one of the traditional schools of Chinese shadow Chuan, and the various still standing exercises emphasize the adjustment of one's breathing, thinking and psychology. These exercises have been proven to have good curative and re-habilitative effects on sufferers of chronic diseases of many kinds. As these exercises help strengthen the coordination of the human body and its immunity, they are ideal for preventing and curing diseases.

(4) Health Improvement
The practice of the basic exercises and routines of Wushu are effective methods for improving the pliability of the joints and the suppleness of the back and legs. The generation of energy, the jumping and leaping and the changes from one stance to another, all help enhance human strength and speed of movement. Wushu, therefore, can be taken as the basic exercise for other sporting activities.

(5) Artistic Effect
The graceful movement of the body, especially the typical oriental charm revealed during exercises and practice of Wushu, has an impressive artistic effect and provides visual delight. People can benefit mentally as well as physically from the display of the Wushu offence and defence skills and the exertion of forces through the display (Figs. below).
A graceful Wushu stance A broadsword practising stance

(6) Intelligence
While stressing the development of physical prowess, Wushu also emphasizes the ex-ercise of thinking. By adjusting various human functions, Wushu also helps im-prove the nervous system and is therefore good for intellectual development.

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Solo Practice of Kungfu
Solo practice is the basis of Wushu. This includes exercises for basic movements and skills and various still standing exercises. Some are aimed at developing the physique of Wushu practitioners, while others are aimed at strengthening the circulation of air flow inside the body so as to keep the practitioners in good health. Still others stress improving their standard of fighting skills.
Routines of Kungfu
The bare-handed fighting routines take such fighting skills as kicking, hitting, wrestling and holding as basic offence and defence techniques. They are then organized in line with the needs of the physical exercis es for different parts of the human body into different routines for offence and defence, incorporating actions and stills, substantial and insubstantial blows, charge and retreat, fast and slow movements. The shadow Chuan routines have a long history and are seen in urban and rural China in various forms, such as Tctiji Quan, Xingyi Quan, Bagua Zhang, Shaolin Quan, Nan Quan, Chuqjiao, Xiangxing Quan, etc.
Group Practice of Kungfu
Group practice is a collective event in which a group of people practise together bare handed or with weapons.
Weapon of Kungfu
The weapons used in Wushu originate mainly from ancient military weapons. Wushu weapons are the products of wars and they have been improved and modified according to the need of wars and with the development of sciences.
Sparring of Kungfu
Sparring is one participated in by two or more Wushu practitioners either unarmed or armed.
Duel is the essence of Chinese Wushu. The categories of duel now in practice are Sanshou (free sparring), and weapon fighting.
Ethics & Etiquette of Kungfu
Chinese Wushu embodies a profound philosophy and a sense of human life and social values (some people therefore call it "philosophic Chuan").
History of Kungfu
Physical fitness exercises have been practised in China for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese were well aware of the importance of physical fitness and continuously sought ways for its improvement.
Introduction of Chinese Kungfu
Wushu (also known as kung-fu or martial arts) is one of the typical demonstrations of traditional Ch-inese culture. It is a sport which utilizes both brawn and brain.
Neigong is classified as inner exercises and falls into two categories.
Traditional Breath Energy Exercises
The Chinese word qiliterally means air or breath. In traditional Chinese medicine the meaning broadened to refer to a person's vital energy (yuan qi, which includes, but is not limited to , the air one breathes in.
Taiji Qigong
Taiji qigongis a simple series of exercises which combines the methods and benefits of taijiquan and qigong. Regular practice can contribute to relieving the symptoms of, and curing disease of the digestive, respiratory and nervous systems, as well as heart disease, hypertension, rheumatism and arthritis.
Qigong Therapy: Simple Methods
Before exercising, sit down quietly for a few minutes and clear your mind of all thoughts.
New Developments in Qigong Therapy
In recent years the curative properties of Qigong have attracted increasing interest among medical personnel and patients of cancer and chronic diseases.
Baduan literally means "eight sections" and jin, "brocade". In the course of its development, baduanjin has appeared in a number of different versions.
Bagua Zhang (Eight-diagram Palm)
Bagua Zhang or the eight-diagram palm is one of the most popular schools in China. It is also called Youshen Bagua (roving eight-diagram), Longxing Bagua (dragon-shaped eight-diagram), Xingyi Bagua (Xingyi eight-diagram Chuan), Yinyang Bapan Zhang (positive-negative eight-plate palm), etc.
Baji Quan (Eight Extremes Chuan)
Baji Quan or the eight extremes Chuan is also known as the open-door eight extremes Chuan, which is one of the traditional Chinese Chuan schools.
Cha Quan
The Cha-style Chuan or body posture Chuan has 10 routines. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1736-1795), the Cha-style Chuan divided into three technical schools at Guanxian County and Rencheng County in Shandong Province.
Chang Quan (Long-style Chuan)
Chang Quan or the long-style Chinese Chuan is the general term for a dozen schools of Chuan. These include Cha Quan (Cha-family Chuan), flower-style Chuan, China-style Chuan, Paochui (cannon Chuan), Hong-family Chuan, red-style Chuan, Shaolin Chuan, Fanzi Quan (tumbling Chuan), etc.
Changjia Quan (Chang-family Chuan)
Changjia Quan or the Chang-family Chuan was created by Chang Naizhou (1724-1783) during the Qing Dynasty. Chang Naizhou was a scholar but when he was not reading, he practised fist and cudgel plays. He traveled far and wide to learn from Wushu masters.
Chuojiao (Feet Poking Chuan)
Chuojiao or feet poking is one of the oldest Chuan styles practised in north China. It is known for its range of feet and leg plays. Most of the Chuan styles of the north feature these, so their style is called "Northern Feet." Chuan proverbs about this school say: "Fist plays account for 30 percent whereas feet plays for 70 percent"; "The hands are used as doors for protection but it is always the feet used for attack.".
Ditang Quan (Ground Tumbling Chuan)
Ditang Quan or the ground tumbling Chuan is also called ground skill Chuan. It is said to have originated in the Southern Song Dynasty (1129-1279) and was first practised in Shandong Province from where it spread to other parts of the country. After the founding of People's Republic of China, it was included in the martial arts competition programs.
Duan Quan (Short-range Chuan)
Duan Quan or the short-range Chuan is also called the "short-style fight," which is an age-old style of fist play. Mianzhang style of short fighting and Mianzhang Chuan were recorded in Tang Shunzhi's On Martial Arts, Qi Jiguang's A New Essay on Wushu Arts and He Liangchen's Chronicles of Chen, all of which are more than 400 years old.
Fanzi Quan (Tumbling Chuan)
Fanzi Quan or tumbling Chuan is also known as Bashanfan (eight-flash Chuan). It is so called because of its eight major flashing movements, which are executed as fast as lightning and thunderclaps. The movements in tumbling Chuan are varied and continuous.
He Quan (Crane Chuan)
He Quan or crane Chuan is the general name for five styles of crane-imitating Chuan. The five styles are jumping crane Chuan, flying crane Chuan, crying crane Chuan, sleeping crane Chuan and eating crane Chuan, all of which have a history of some 300 years. The five crane Chuans formed their respective styles by the end of the Qing Dynasty. All the five styles are practised in the south of China.
Hong Quan (Hong-clan Chuan)
The Hong clan, named after Hongwu, the title of the reign of the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, was one of the secret associations in the Qing Dynasty. It is believed to have been set up in the 13th year of Emperor Kangxi's reign (1674).
Hua Quan (China-style Chuan)
Hua Quan or the China-style Chuan originated in Jining of Shandong Province (ancient Rencheng). It is said that during the Kaiyuan reign of the Tang Dynasty (713-741), a Mount Hua knight named Cai Mao killed his enemy of a noble family of Chang'an, and went to hide in Rencheng.
Hua Quan (Flower-style Chuan)
Hua Quan or the flower-style Chuan is a close-range fist play which is said to have been taught by Gan Fengchi of Nanjing in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces during the early Qing Dynasty (1662-1735).
Lanshou Men (Blocking-hand Chuan)
Lanshou Men or the blocking-hand Chuan is said to be popular in the areas along both sides of the Yangtze River.
Liuhe Quan (Six-combinations Chuan)
Liuhe Quan or the six-combination Chuan is combat orientated. It is believed to be a derivative of Shaolin Quan and to have been passed on from an old boxer named Cao who lived at Botou in Hebei Province during Emperor Daoguang's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1821-1850).
Luohan Quan (Arhat Chuan)

Therapeutic Massage
Therapeutic massage in China has a very long history, and was described in huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor's Manual o fInternal Medicine), the ouldest extant medical treatise.
Exercises to Prevent Colds
Notes: Exercises are performed in time to multiples of a basic 8-beat count. Begin by marching in position for two 8-beat counts.
Rubbing the stomach
" Rubbing the stomach" is a simple form of self-massage which has a particularly beneficial effect on the nervous and digestive systems.
Massage therapy for Mentiere's Syndrome
To achieve better results , begin the massage at the first sign of illness. In more severe cases, take a sedative in the meantime.
Eye Exercises
According to traditional Chinese medicine, massaging certain acupuncture points on the face and the nape of the neck helps to improve the functioning of blood vessels and nerves and relieves strain on the eye muscles.
Mian Quan (Continuous Chuan)
Mian Quan or the continuous Chuan is a northern style of fist play, which is popular in central Hebei Province.
Nan Quan (Southern-style Chuan)
Nan Quan or the southern-style Chuan is widely practised in south China. It evolved during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and has many different styles.
Pigua Quan (Axe-hitch Chuan)
Pigua Quan or axe-hitch Chuan was known in ancient times as armor wearing Chuan. Ming Dynasty General Qi Jiguang included the move of putting on armours while fighting as laid out in his book, A New Essay on Wushu Arts.
Sanhuang Paochui (Three-emperor Cannon Chuan)
Sanhuang Paochui or the three-emperor cannon Chuan is also known as the cannon Chuan. It is said to have originated from the three legendary emperors of Fuxi, Shennong and Gonggong in prehistoric China.
Shaolin Quan
Shaolin Quan or Shaolin Chuan originated in the Shaolin Temple on Mount Songshan at Dengfeng in Henan Province. It was named after the temple.
Tai Chi Chuan history and styles
The word Tai Chi first appeared in Book of Changes of the Zhou Dynasty. The essay says: "Where there is Tai Chi, there is peace and harmony between the positive and the negative." Tai Chi means supremacy, absoluteness, extremity and uniqueness.
Tanglang Quan (Mantis Chuan)
Tanglang Quan or the mantis Chuan is also an animal-imitating style of fist play. It copies the form and actions of a mantis adding the attack and defence skills of the martial arts. This unique style of Chuan boasts an assortment of routines which generally fall into the northern and southern styles.
Tantui (Leg Flicking Chuan)
Tantui or leg flicking Chuan is also called pond legs. It has 10 routines and was therefore called 10-routine pond legs. When Shaolin monks added two more routines, it became the 12-routine pond legs. As many Moslems in China practise the Chuan, it is also called religious leg flicking Chuan.
Tongbei Quan (Back-through Chuan)
Tongbei Quan or back-through Chuan, also called Tongbi Quan or arm-through Chuan, is one of the schools popular in north China.
Wudang Martial Arts
A major aspect of Taoist influence on Chinese culture is its martial arts. Chinese martial arts of all sorts have a long history and a great diversity of methods and styles. Generally speaking, they are divided into two big schools: the south school and the north school.
Xiangxing Quan (Animal-imitating Chuan)
This school of Chuan imitates the forms and movements of animals with the stress on the hitting features of their movements and actions.
Xingyi Chuan (Form and Meaning Chuan)
Xingyi Quan or the form and meaning Chuan is also called Xinyi Quan (free-mind Chuan), Xinyi Liuhe Quan (free-mind six-combination Chuan) or liuhe Quan (six-combination Chuan).
Yingzhao Quan (Eagle Claw Chuan)
Yingzhao Quan or the eagle claw Chuan is a traditional animal-imitating style of fist play that in-corporates the movements, tricks and methods of the eagle. It is a mixture of the Yue-style Chuan and the school of tumbling Chuan.
Yi Quan (Mentality Chuan)
Yi Quan or the mentality Chuan, also called Da-cheng Quan, was created by Wang Xiangzhai during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty. Wang (1885-1963) was born in Shenxian County in Hebei Province.
Wing Chun Chuan (Ode To Spring Chuan)
Yongchun Quan or the Yongchun Chuan is said to have been created by Yan Yongchun of Liancheng County in Fujian Province.
Yuejia Quan (Yue-family Chuan)
There are many styles of Chuan named after General Yue Fei of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) . These include Yue-family Chuan of Hubei, Henan and Anhui provinces, Yue-school fist plays of Hunan and Sichuan provinces, Yue-family martial arts of Guangdong Province, Yue Fei Sanshau and Yue-style chain of fist plays.
Ziran Men (Nature Chuan)
Ziran Men (nature Chuan) was created by Dwarf Xu of Sichuan Province in the late years of the Qing Dynasty. Xu's style of Chuan was standardized by Du Xinwu of Cili County of Hunan Province. Du followed Xu for eight years to learn the nature Chuan and came to understand the essence and secrets of the martial arts.
Zui Quan (Drunkard Chuan)
In Zui Quan or the drunkard Chuan, boxers' falter, waddle, fall and sway just like drunkards.
Simplified Pictures of Tai Chi Chuan Movements 1

Simplified Pictures of Tai Chi Chuan Movements 2
Directions are given in terms of the 12 hours of the clovk. Begin by facing 12 o'clock , with 6 o'clock behind you, 9 o'clock at your left and 3 o'clock at your right. Thus a turn to 1 o'clock is one of 30o to the right and a turn to 1-2 o'clock is one of 45 du.
Simplified Pictures of Tai Chi Chuan Movements 3
Directions are given in terms of the 12 hours of the clovk. Begin by facing 12 o'clock , with 6 o'clock behind you, 9 o'clock at your left and 3 o'clock at your right. Thus a turn to 1 o'clock is one of 30o to the right and a turn to 1-2 o'clock is one of 45 du.
Simplified Pictures of Tai Chi Chuan Movements 4
Directions are given in terms of the 12 hours of the clovk. Begin by facing 12 o'clock , with 6 o'clock behind you, 9 o'clock at your left and 3 o'clock at your right. Thus a turn to 1 o'clock is one of 30o to the right and a turn to 1-2 o'clock is one of 45 du.
Simplified Pictures of Tai Chi Chuan Movements 5
Directions are given in terms of the 12 hours of the clovk. Begin by facing 12 o'clock , with 6 o'clock behind you, 9 o'clock at your left and 3 o'clock at your right. Thus a turn to 1 o'clock is one of 30o to the right and a turn to 1-2 o'clock is one of 45 du.
Simplified Pictures of Tai Chi Chuan Movements 6
Directions are given in terms of the 12 hours of the clovk. Begin by facing 12 o'clock , with 6 o'clock behind you, 9 o'clock at your left and 3 o'clock at your right. Thus a turn to 1 o'clock is one of 30o to the right and a turn to 1-2 o'clock is one of 45 du.

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