The Impact of Modern Wushu on Traditional Martial Arts

Damien

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So I was thinking recently about the impact that modern wushu has had on people's practice and perception of martial arts. A few things stick out to me within kung fu practice specifically; a reduction in focus on application, a change in limb alignment e.g. more straight arms, and lower and longer stances. The latter two are directly related to the first, you get movements being made to look more aesthetic, rather than being functional. I've seen this proliferate into traditional practitioners too, which is a real shame. All of this was inspired by seeing a bunch of videos on Instagram of Shaolin people doing a super long gong bu. It annoyed me, so I made a short video about it!

I was talking to a kung fu friend of mine who practices a very different style, and he said they always trained the standard high kicks in their basics and warm up drills, even though those movements never actually appear in their style.

Then of course there's the ever present forms are just a dance idea.

What other effects do you think modern wushu has had? Does this extend outside of kung fu to other traditional martial arts like karate? Or have things like acrobatic performance karate had effects on traditional styles?
 

Xue Sheng

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Can't answer outside of CMA, but it has affected virtually all CMA styles to varying degrees, mostly in high kicks and acrobatics. But there are some styles that keep more to their traditional roots. But even in many of those, the old school style training has faded a bit due to experience, lack of patience and money.
 

Flying Crane

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I suspect the biggest impact is on the perception by the uneducated public who sees Modern Wushu and believes that is what kung fu really is. It permeates things like movies, and influences beliefs such as that kung fu is full of fancy, useless stuff, or fantasies that encourage the belief in nonsensical mysticism and whatnot.

For those who practice traditional methods, I havent seen MW actually affect how they train. I suspect the biggest issue is simple annoyance with the general public because of the issues above.
 

JowGaWolf

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The biggest impact is just the confusion of it all. Many people don't know what applicable kung fu looks like. This is mostly caused by kung fu practioners not using what they train and not sharing their sparring sessions with the public. The practice of modern wushu is the least of the problems. Kung fu in general greastest harm are the Demos and walk through by people who have never applied the technique against another system in sparring.

Less demos more actual use.
 
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Damien

Damien

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The biggest impact is just the confusion of it all. Many people don't know what applicable kung fu looks like. This is mostly caused by kung fu practioners not using what they train and not sharing their sparring sessions with the public. The practice of modern wushu is the least of the problems. Kung fu in general greastest harm are the Demos and walk through by people who have never applied the technique against another system in sparring.

Less demos more actual use.
True, this is very common. We seem to have developed a cycle of instructors and students (and then future instructors) that don't fight and train in the same way.

I think this may be an impact of the modern systemisation of kung fu into wushu and sanda too. People started to treat drills and forms as separate from fighting. I know my first teacher separated out sanda from everything else. He still taught application of traditional moves and we practiced them, but it was definitely taught as a separate branch. When you don't try to link the two together you end up being a sanda fighter that spent lots of time doing something else that hasn't helped beyond body attributes (e.g. strength, coordination etc.)
 
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