By David C. Humphrey and Wang Ke
Wushu is a derivative of ancient Chinese martial arts also known as “guoshu” and “gongfu”. It is the famous sport of Jackie Chan and Jet Li.Modern Wushu is separated into two major disciplines: taolu and sanshou.
According to Chinese Wushu Association Wushu Taolu is “a set of connecting stylized movements choreographed according to certain laws, embodying the philosophical connotation of attack and defense.”
Wushu sanshou discipline represents “fighting movements between two people for both attack-defense exercises.” Wushu practice can take place in a gymnasium or in a park.
Traditional Wushu is carried out for health and self-defense benefits. It has a wide following within China. Athletic Wushu on the other hand is what will take place at the “2008 Beijing Olympic Games Wushu Tournament.”
Organized by the International Wushu Federation (IWF), the tournament will feature 128 players from 42 different countries. Officially recognized in 2002 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the IWF is technically not a participant in the 2008 Olympic Games.
The official number of sports is capped at 28 every four years with a chance for review at each IOC Session. However, Secretary-General of the IWF Wang Xiaolin still has great hopes for the upcoming tournament: “we hope that the exposure of the Wushu tournament will spread knowledge and understanding of the sport.”
(CIIC/China.org.cn July 11, 2008)