Wushu, also known as Kung-fu or martial arts is one of the most typical examples of traditional Chinese culture. Wushu was historically termed “Wu-Yi” or martial arts. Literally, wu means military while shu means art, thus Wushu the art of fighting or maritial arts. Fairly recently, the Chinese government changed the term to “Guoshu” or “national method”. It is an important and unique component of Chinese heritage. It is a sport which utilizes both mind and body.
The theory of Wushu is based on classical Chinese philosophy, while the skills of Wushu consist of various froms of fighting: fist fights, weapon fights and other fighting routines. It is used to cure illness as well as for self-defense. Wushu enjoys a long history and great popularity in China.
At its early stage of development, it was practiced primarily for self-defense and the acquirement of the means of subsistence. Today many people practice Wushu to pursue health, defense skills, mental discipline, entertainment and competition.
Classifications of Chinese Martial Arts (Wushu)
Traditionally, Chinese martial arts are classified by one of the three methods.
– Internal or External styles
– Southern or Northern styles
– As “Shaolin” or “Wudang” or “Ermei”
Roughly speaking, the difference between internal and external styles can refer to whether the strength is from the torso and legs (internal) or whether the strength is derived from training of the more specific arm and leg muscles (external). The word “internal” often connotes a more pliable martial style.
Southern or Northern styles naturally refer to the general origin, but finer distinctions are often made about style differences of these two schools. Shaoling boxing styles are generally said to be derived from the form of fighting practiced at the Shaoling Temple in Henan province.
Similarly, Wudang is the name of a mountain used by Daoists in Hubei province and Ermei is a significant religious mountain in Sichuan Province. In many Chinese novels, there are magnificent description about the three styles and the complicated stories among them.
If you want to study Chinese in China and learn the martial arts, Keats School is for you. We have various learning programs with a great combination of Chinese learning and martial arts, such as Taiji and Kung Fu to help you get the most out of your stay in China.