Wushu and Kung Fu: Long lost brothers?
Original Poster: WushuPadawan001
Forum: Kung Fu Styles, Chinese Martial Arts
Posted On: 07-09-2005, 18:06
Orginal Post: WushuPadawan001: I?ve noticed that in many posts when the phrase ?Wushu? comes into play it is often met with hostility. Before any confusion comes about, I mean flowery, pretty to look at, high jumps, and unnecessary spins Wushu. Now then, since I am temporarily unable to practice, I am going to go on a rant about why Wushu should be accepted and practiced by the traditional Kung Fu student. If you?re already sighing out of disbelief and thinking that I?m some ignorant martial arts punk then by all means READ ON. Oh and be sure to post some replies, you guys seem to know your stuff. Now let?s begin.
Ah hell with it, I don?t want to write an essay (get enough of that s&^t at school) so here?s a list.
1. Wushu builds great basics.
a. People who practice Wushu have phenomenal stances and kicks. In many cases (as I have observed from competition) Wushu students have far better and more stable stances than Kung Fu or Taiji practitioners.
2. Wushu builds strength and speed.
a. Wushu stances training build incredible strength. Indeed a person who has mastered Wushu has mastered his/her body weight.
b. Wushu instructors teach their students to move with quickness instead of speed. What I mean by this is that a person who trains in Wushu shoots his feet to the next postures instead of dragging them like I see many Kung Fu students (in fact my Kung Fu teacher, he?ll remain nameless but believe me he?s the real deal, told me that by practicing in Wushu I would be able to gain a kind of quickness that is often sought in Kung Fu but rarely fully realized).
3. Wushu builds rooting coordination
a. Wushu students don?t move so fast because they have high twitch muscle reflexes or crap like that. They move like that because their body movement in all coordinated. In other words they push off their foot, twist the waist, and all that just like any Kung Fu or Taiji student.
b. Sigh, if only Wushu students would add some rooting to this then they (or rather we) would be back on track to traditional Kung Fu.
So that?s my big three. Before I close let me make one thing clear: In no way am I trying to say that Wushu is better or worse than Kung Fu or Taiji. In fact, I like to think of Wushu as just another style of Kung Fu, but instead of stressing combat it is concerned with form, fluidity, and?..her it is?.air time . If any of this sounds unclear please put up a post and I?ll try to get a reply in.
Please tell me what you think!
Our school has traditionally offerred their ‘homegrown’ version of Wing-Tsun as the standard training (2 times a week). We are allowed to attend seperate classes in TaiChi and Tiger(only after a few months of standard classes). I know that other animal forms are available to the senior students…not sure if it’s seperate classes or part of the standard.
my point of the above is to show that we are a traditional CMA school.
With the possibility of Wushu in the Olympics, our school is definitely changing. We now practice Wushu forms in the standard classes. Aside from the constants (warmup, strenght, fitness training) we spend about the same amount of time practising Wushu, WingTsun, weapons.
I love the variety that it brings to class. I’ve always been terribly jealous of ppl who can do handstands/cartwheels/flips/… and I will soon be one of them:-) You can imagine the class with ppl from late-teens to early forties trying to do cartwheels the length of the kwoon 😉 It was painfully hilarious…I had the bruises to prove it.
with regards to the benifits you’ve mentioned. All our forms concentrate on the same things: i.e.
basics : blocks/kicks/punches/sweeps/…
speed/strength : We vary our forms i.e. one lesson is dedicated to speed(a form 3 times in a row at full speed is a killer!), another class might be slow and strong
rooting: stances…every form trains the stances according to the style, even my karate from waaay back when. HOWEVER, our wushu forms seem to try and attain rooting in some unsteady/flashy stances…this has been good for my balance.
speed and mastering Body weight: I 100% agree with that point! traditional CMA does not teach us to leave the ground. I have a very strong volleyball background and can truly say that Wushu is helping me master my actions in the air.
The important thing is to be honest. I’ve seen my share of con-artists(as opposed to Martial artists). Wushu under the right instructor is honest.
Xcal I’m totally with you bud :)>
An excellent argument. Just a couple of comments. Remember, thanks to Mao and the Cultural revolution, though the fighting aspects may have been expunged, most of the other traditions were not. In fact, all of the stuff you mentioned is present in traditional and taiji and shaolin, all the predecessors and creators of all things currant wushu. In other words, everything you mentioned is present in traditional but has not been taught. As an example, Ying Jow eagle claw has flips, cartwheels, and other gymnastics embedded in its traditional forms as do most Northern styles. The southern styles usually do not. As far as Shaolin, it is the originator of most of what you describe placed in an animal form context.
Taiji, by its nature, along with Ba Qua and Hsing I, are not going to leave the ground that much for that would displace the fa jing, silk reeling, and especially the rooting that all of it emanates from.
My objection is placing wushu with kung fu in a competition as the goals are different. However, the greatest wushu artist of all, Jet Li, and his teacher Wu Bin, can fight. I have never seen Kenny Perez, Anthony Chan, Gary Toy, or any other great wushu artist with the ability to actully apply their wushu techniques with the exception of Keith Hirabayshi (I may have butchered his name, sorry!!). On the other hand, I have seen plenty of good kung fu artists do so.
Lastly, when I was younger I could do all that you describe but like muy thai boxing, and external Shaolin training, wushu is for the young. Once you get to be over 35-40, all of that jumping around becomes an extraneous bit of expulsion of chi. It does continue to provide good stance background, continuity, spirit, and especially balance!!!
In other words, wushu is a beautiful art, not martial, that can be used as a basis for exploring the more traditional arts later on. For that, I give it much credence.
My two cents worth.>