Wushu is dying?

Taiji_Mantis

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In the recent issue of Kungfu Magazine, there is a large article on how Modern Wushu is dying.

Three of my children have just begun to take instruction in modern Wushu. This wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear (or read in this case) as my hopes of living vicariously through them would be dying with the art. I mean a lot of that flashy flippy stuff is useless--but come on! That ***** is cool! A lot of us will never be able to do a lot of those things! Even though I am settling more and more into the MMA camp, Modern Wushu is an exceptional art/sport and I for one am glad to have my kids participating.

Show your wushu support!
 

Xue Sheng

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I doubt it is dying; it may just be enrollment is down in the west.

But not having read the article I could be wrong. And I will admit it is pretty cool to watch and it does require some pretty amazing skill. My only real issue with it is that the PRC is currently taking it to limits beyond Human endurance for competition and a lot of those Wushu people are getting pretty bad injuries.

Oh and just as long as people do not judge ALL CMA by what they see in a Wushu forms competetion
 

theletch1

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I doubt it is dying; it may just be enrollment is down in the west.

But not having read the article I could be wrong. And I will admit it is pretty cool to watch and it does require some pretty amazing skill. My only real issue with it is that the PRC is currently taking it to limits beyond Human endurance for competition and a lot of those Wushu people are getting pretty bad injuries.

Oh and just as long as people do not judge ALL CMA by what they see in a Wushu forms competetion
You mean everyone that does chinese martial arts can't do a spinning, backflip, jump, cartwheel while flipping a broadsword around?:jaw-dropping: It's the flashy stuff that makes for an exciting demo or tv/movie so that's (unfortunately) how most folks see all MA.

As for modern wushu dying, I have to agree with Xue (that seems to happen alot) that without reading the article it's hard to really agree or disagree with what's in it. I will say this, I've noticed some serious doom and gloom feelings in all aspects of life here in the US lately. Perhaps this article was just another instance of "the sky is falling" getting into the press. I don't think the PRC pushing things to (and past) the limit will kill wushu...it may well kill some of the practitioners... but I can see where it could cause fewer people to want to get involved in the art.
 

theletch1

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Well no... I mean I do... That's how I get out of bed every morning... but sadly.. most don't :D
Must be all the tree whacking.:banghead:

When I decided it was time to leave my kempo school I visited probably a dozen local schools from different styles. One was a shaolin kung fu school under a guy named White. The biggest reason I didn't join his school was that his wushu team was awesome. Crazy? Not really. He made it clear that his main focus was on the wushu team and the trophies that they brought in as opposed to the traditional kung fu. Sad, really, that an art as rich in history seems to be falling prey to the flash of "modern" wushu.
 

grydth

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I have seen speculation in that magazine and others to the effect that Wushu was in decline... it was said it had become stale and unimaginative....that nobody watched it anymore.... that the Olympic failure was a fatal blow.

My guess is that reports of Wushu's demise 'are premature'. China has staked a great deal upon it, invested a great deal into it. I credit them with being able to see the danger signs and adapt appropriately. We'll see.
 

Xue Sheng

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Must be all the tree whacking.:banghead:

When I decided it was time to leave my kempo school I visited probably a dozen local schools from different styles. One was a shaolin kung fu school under a guy named White. The biggest reason I didn't join his school was that his wushu team was awesome. Crazy? Not really. He made it clear that his main focus was on the wushu team and the trophies that they brought in as opposed to the traditional kung fu. Sad, really, that an art as rich in history seems to be falling prey to the flash of "modern" wushu.

mmmmmmmm could be :)

One of the reasons (there were others) I left my first sifu was that he was strictly Modern Wushu. And to be completely honest the reason I stopped training long fist with him was a one handed and then no handed cartwheel while flipping a broadsword around.

I agree and the sad part is he still has the most students of any CMA school in the area. And there is a Wing Chun School with a student of Ip Ching near by and a Chen Group the trains with Chen Zhenglei and a bit further away a student of William CC Chen and he still has more students by far as well as a booming DVD business.
 

Formosa Neijia

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I have seen speculation in that magazine and others to the effect that Wushu was in decline... it was said it had become stale and unimaginative....that nobody watched it anymore.... that the Olympic failure was a fatal blow.

My guess is that reports of Wushu's demise 'are premature'. China has staked a great deal upon it, invested a great deal into it. I credit them with being able to see the danger signs and adapt appropriately. We'll see.

Yes. The recent inclusion of points for "nan de" (difficulty) means that most of the routines including taiji have to have jump kicks where you jump and then land on one foot, etc. It looks more like figure skating than wushu.

A lot of other Asian countries balked at this requirement. China to some extent killed wushu with this nan de idea. I think some people are coming around to accept it but the older form of wushu is still practiced outside of China.

Agreed that not getting accepted by the Olympics was a killer blow and the right call in my decision. That junk needs to be killed off.
 

tellner

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The modern competition Wushu I've seen shouldn't die. It should just be gently and discreetly moved out of the martial arts world and into its proper place in gymnastics.
 

Sukerkin

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Quite right, Todd.

None would deny the athletic prowess and dedication required in Wushu, it's just that it's ceased to be a martial art and has become, like Formosa said above, 'figure skating'.
 
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Taiji_Mantis

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1. Yes, Wushu's demise comes in the wake of the Olympic failure according to the article. Many of the sports top practitioners were commenting on how the sport failed. It was actually quite an interesting read.

2. As for Wushu being removed to the arena of gymnastics, I have to respectfully disagree. As a Northern Mantis practitioner of possibly the most traditional shifu on the planet, I used to feel that way. Even though it was far from the PRC's cumpulsory routines flips, our Mantis classes had required jumps, breakfalls, handsprings, and carp kicks. Remembering that Modern wushu has its routes in traditional kung fu, and that most of the original players in developing this sport were skilled practitioners in traditional martial arts. I believe the name says it all--arts. I believe that Taekwondo could also be marginalized like that if we let it.

Anyway its just one man's opinion. I still feel that it is an exceptional testing ground for my children. Especially when the emphasis is on form rather than fighting makes it perfect for the kids whose dad gets overwhelmed by his seven children beating the crap out of each other :)
 

tellner

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Modern Wushu may have been designed by martial artists. And some of the movements it uses are derived from ones that were once used in fighting systems. But it isn't one anymore. It was put together as an impressive gymnastic display of movements out of various Chinese traditions. It was not designed to be used to fight against another person in any criminal, military, sporting, police or self protection arena.

Your Mantis teacher required you to do similar moves. They were in your curriculum because someone believed that they were useful for fighting against some sort of opponent or built attributes and skills that were. MWS and XMA were created as entertaining movement routines. Their purpose is to show off their own difficulty impressive physical nature. The weapons are props that instill in the audience an appreciation for Chinese martial tradition. They are not there because the participants have learned how to stab or bludgeon one another.

MWS is more the child of Chinese Opera than of Chinese Boxing. The martial-derived movements were meant to evoke excitement and other feelings that represented the feelings one would feel on watching a fight.

Bring it a bit further into the modern world and consider WWE "wrestling". Yes, yes the steroid monkeys are big and strong and could hurt you. Some of the motions they use are derived from grappling and striking martial arts. Nobody with an IQ above comfortable room temperature believes that the participants are fighting or wrestling. It is a (melo)dramatic performance that uses some of the physical language of wrestling to manipulate the feelings of the audience. It is performance art, not martial art. Stage fencing, Chinese Opera and shadow puppet representations of the Ramayana are all the same thing.

Martial arts is an old linguistic distraction. In that sense "art" means "skill". Hence, martial arts are the arts of Mars, Greco-Roman diety of war. The performing arts are the skills of performance for the entertainment of an audience. Extreme Martial Arts and Modern Wu Shu clearly fall into the second category. It's time to recognize the fact and reclassify them.
 

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