Dynamic Martial Arts

The Art of Wushu

Wu Shu, pronounced woo shoo, is the Chinese term for martial arts. The correct interpretation is war-art. Most Americans are familiar with the terms Kung Fu or Gung Fu. Other terms include Chuan-Fa, Chuan-Shu, Wu-Gung and sometimes Wu-Tao.

Wu Shu has been around for thousands of years in China, with a recorded history dating as far back as 11th Century B.C. though, in all reality Wu Shu has existed ever since the first man picked up a stick and made it a club.

Today self defense has evolved to include tear gas, stun guns as well as knives and guns; and as a tool of warfare Wu Shu has been surpassed by modern technology. Yet in ancient time when hand to hand combat was frequent, Wu Shu was the only means of self-protection. So for this reason warriors and armies had to develop and constantly improve on their skills and methods.

Progressive Wu Shu, of the Peoples Republic of China, as it stands today calls on an ideology based on non-violence, so almost gone are some methods of training such as thrusting of the fingers into hot iron filings and the pounding of the body with steel wires.

In China, changes in ideals have resulted in changes in the role of the Sifu. No longer does the Sifu hold the status he once held. In the early days the Sifu was a warrior, teacher, law enforcer, doctor, a leader of the community and in some instances a revolutionary. Long time ago, the Shaolin temple was a haven for thinkers and revolutionaries which consequently lead to its destruction at the hands of the emperor's army. In other instance - the Boxer rebellion, many Sifu tried to fight the foreign invading armies which carried guns, this action proved fatal to some masters of old.

During the communist take over the government redefined the roll of the traditional Sifu and re-evaluated Wu Shu and its status in society. The government put a ban on the arts and sciences during the chaotic "Cultural Revolution" Wu Shu was re-established. Through a policy of "weeding through the old and bring forth the new", disregarding what is not useful or deemed unhealthful, Wu Shu has evolved into a highly refined and complex martial art and performing art. Combining aspects of ballet, tumbling and opera with traditional Gung-Fu. Resulting in a modern sport and exercise that can be beneficial to a modern society. With the opening of this new "door" Wu Shu has a new life-line in which to expand, even non-practitioners can see and enjoy this artistic side of martial arts.