Wushu (Kung Fu)
Today it’s hard to find someone who has not heard at least once about what Wushu or Kung Fu are. Most people who heard this word immediately recall the famous action movies with nimble and invincible Chinese actors. But it turns out kung fu is not only a great art of combat.
If we literally translate the hieroglyphics from which the word “kung fu” is composed, then we get the following: “kung” is work, and “fu” is time. You can understand it this way – “work on yourself.” And this, first of all, tells us that Wushu (kung fu) is a whole way of life that has its own philosophy. It can also be understood as the ability to work on one’s personality, while being perfected endlessly and bringing any movement, feelings and thoughts to the highest degree of mastery.
Kung fu (in Chinese correctly sounds like gongfu) – is a synonym for the word “skill”, while it may be completely unrelated to martial arts and even sports. If we talk about martial arts, then in China, any fighting technique is aimed directly at healing and strengthening the harmony between body and spirit.
The word “kung fu” in China is used to mean wushu. It is “wushu” (when translated from Chinese) that means “military, martial art”. And the word “Wushu”, if you look, you can call any martial arts that exist in China. And kung fu is no exception.
In general, wushu and kung fu are very similar concepts, since the true art of combat (wushu) should be real mastery (kung fu), and without careful work on yourself it will be simply impossible.
And in kung fu, without self-improvement and long work on yourself, becoming a master is simply not possible. All the wise men of China, like no one else know that perfection is impossible to achieve, there is only a way to it. And this way is all life.
Such concepts as Wushu and Kung Fu are part of ancient philosophy and special attitudes, the important elements of which are a sense of time, motivation and self-discipline.
Kung fu promotes the development of the spirit through the improvement of the body, which, in turn, has simply tremendous opportunities. All kung fu styles teach where to find and how to properly use a person’s vital energy to significantly increase speed and strength. But the main task of kung fu is not the development of combat abilities, but namely the improvement of the body as a whole. This is achieved directly through the spine, which is the main axis of the body. By developing the energy of the body, a person also “speeds up” his mind, thoughts become more flexible and in this case it is much easier to control your emotions. Kung fu is not only sparring and exercise, it is also meditation and lifestyle. And such a lifestyle gives a person the opportunity to cope with everyday tasks and unforeseen situations much faster.
Today, there are a lot of Wushu styles. The following types of classification have long existed:
Classification “North-South”. There is an opinion that the northern styles of Wushu are characterized by a large number of kicks, high positions, numerous movements, while the southern styles are characterized by inactivity, low positions and striking by hands. Although in fact, that in the north of China, in the south, there are styles that do not fit this description.
Classification by place of origin of styles (“Shaolin, Wudang, Emei”). There is a claim that all Wushu styles were founded in places such as the Shaolin Temple, Taoist temples in the Wudang Mountains and monasteries in the Emei Mountains. However, this statement does not fit in any way those numerous styles whose origin is not connected with the listed places.
Dependence on the length of rivers (“Yellow River, Pearl River, Yangtze”). This classification was founded in 1909 in Shanghai. The creator of this classification was the Jingu Association, which for the first time decided to scientifically systematize the study of Wushu. However, this systematization does not include styles that are common in those places where not one of these rivers flows. And the very classification of styles in these groups looks rather artificial.
There is also a classification according to the distance of the battle. The long distance is Changquan, the short distance is Duanda. But even such a classification does not fit many styles where both short and long distances are simultaneously used.
In addition, it is customary to divide Wushu into two areas – sports and traditional. Many methods of the traditional combat direction are difficult to attribute to any one Wushu category. So, for example, a kick in the opponent’s stomach can be the beginning of an opponent’s throw with his further falling on his back, etc. Sports Wushu is considered more common today, namely such areas as: Wushu-taolu and Wushu Sanda (sanshaw).
Wushu Taolu is such a sport. Participants compete with each other in performing a set of movements made up of acrobatic elements and some movements from different styles of Wushu.