Wushu

7starmantis

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Lately this "style" called Modern Wushu has been getting a bad rap. It’s been criticized for not containing true self defense, being to "flashy", and even been called the opposite of true kung fu. What do you guys think of modern wushu? Do you think it contains the self defense properties that other CMA hold? Do you think it is street credible for self defense? Anyone here practice "modern wushu"? I'm curious as to the view of other CMAist about this "style".


7sm
 
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j_m

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7starmantis said:
Lately this "style" called Modern Wushu has been getting a bad rap. It’s been criticized for not containing true self defense, being to "flashy", and even been called the opposite of true kung fu.


7sm
That is my general take on it.

It may be good (and probably is) for a lot of things... but self defense (or fighting) is not one of them. This, of course, makes sense since it is primarily taught as a performance oriented art. Not a martial oriented art. So the more performance oriented it becomes the less martially "enabled" it becomes. Many of the best modern wushu demontrations are devoid of most major kung fu principles. How then could it possible be used for the true intended purpose of kung fu?




jm
 

clfsean

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7starmantis said:
Lately this "style" called Modern Wushu has been getting a bad rap. It’s been criticized for not containing true self defense, being to "flashy", and even been called the opposite of true kung fu. What do you guys think of modern wushu? Do you think it contains the self defense properties that other CMA hold? Do you think it is street credible for self defense? Anyone here practice "modern wushu"? I'm curious as to the view of other CMAist about this "style".


7sm
Here's a can of worms, but hey... I'll jump.

First off... the people that practice modern wushu are incredible athletes of the highest caliber. To make the "A" team of the provencial teams in China, you literally have to be bordering on otherworldly with performance & skills. Those people do things that even in my heyday I could only dream of doing & they make it look easy.

My personal opinion is the majority of wushu isn't worth much. It may be based on traditional systems or have even supplanted some traditional styles by being the only outlet to find "it" with a certain name. If you watch most modern wushu (MWS) players, they have no idea of what's up. A punch will be thrown without the body connected or root established. A kick happens for no reason. It's like they run a bit, stop, pose. Repeat. That's another... what's with the running? I can understand needing a bit of steam for some of the jumping they do, but damn... a 30 yard dash??? C'mon...

I'm biased since I do practice a TCMA that isn't all the flashy & is excessively practical while maintaining a certain aesthetic value, but I really do consider MWS a "martial art". It maybe could be better described as "martial based performance" or "gymnastics with a kick" (no pun intended). I don't knock the MWS players abilities or skills with their performance sets, but I do question the sets themselves what a MWS player considers for application & fighting.
 

Eldritch Knight

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Having talked to some Modern Wushu players, including a guy who switched from TCMA to Wushu, I would generally agree with the above. However, there are some people, who with the proper background, can translate Modern Wushu into an effective fighting art. Most practitioners are, like clfsean said, just martial gymnasts, but there are certainly a few in there who know what they're doing and can actually make something of it.
 
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7starmantis

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But that would mean that the system or "art" is martial in nature or "fighting" in its focus. If a few can do it, why can't the majority?

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clfsean

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7starmantis said:
But that would mean that the system or "art" is martial in nature or "fighting" in its focus. If a few can do it, why can't the majority?

7sm
It doesn't mean it's martial in nature or has a fighting focus. It means that it is based on those concepts, but focuses on atheletic ability, showmanship & performance. Look at the SCA... those guys work on European fighting with armour & weapons. It doesn't mean they're trying to resurrect the Medieval times... just that's what they do & it's based on that time period.

It's basic PE in China. I believe everybody learns Chang Quan in PE. The ones that excel, go on for more training. There are schools all over. I've been to Zhao Chang jun's school in Xian. It has dormatory facilities just like the big schools in Dengfeng around Shaolin. Those are for the kids that are good & have money as well or for foreign students.

The provencial teams take the cream of the crop. Just like any professional sports team takes the cream of the crop. Just because I play pick up basketball or the ocassional softball doesn't mean I'm NBA quality or ready for the Major Leagues.
 

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I trained in wushu for a few years.I was competing here in Japan, and I spent a short period training in China.
Whether you call it a MA or not, is really up to what your deffinition of what a MA is. But its deffinately not self defence.
My basic understanding of it is this:
When Mao took over China he banned all martial arts training. He beleived Chinese comrades had no business learning how to fight each other. But later he realised the valuable health benifits of MA training, so he got together some reknown masters and had them put together the best of their styles, but with an emphasis on form, not practicality.Thus wushu was born.
I think traditional Chinese Opera also had a big influence in it
It is a performance art BASED on martial techniques.Most wushu practitioners understand this.They do not have any interest in fighting. They are athletes.Tremendous ones at that.
Unfortunately the general public doesn't realise that.They see wushu champs like Jet Li and either think," wow what a great fighter!" lol!
OR "whats he doing! That would never work in a real fight!"
Both opinions are misled views of what wushu is about.
In China young MAtists choose between a curricculum of pure form based performance MA, (wushu) or sport fighting MA (sanshou).
The 2 are rarely mixed.As for real TCMA, well good luck in finding it!
Alot of traditional MAtists trash wushu, which is understandable. It distorts the public view of real Kung FU and is a flashy watered down version of the real thing.Its also taking the Chinese MA world by storm.I think some of this could be solved by using a different term for such performance oriented MA, so that the 2 could be seen as very different disciplins with different goals and objectives.
 
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7starmantis

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clfsean said:
It doesn't mean it's martial in nature or has a fighting focus. It means that it is based on those concepts, but focuses on atheletic ability, showmanship & performance. Look at the SCA... those guys work on European fighting with armour & weapons. It doesn't mean they're trying to resurrect the Medieval times... just that's what they do & it's based on that time period.
Your missing my point. I'm not saying they are trying to be fighters, I'm just saying that if it has fighting capabilities, it wouldn't be only a select few that could use them, everyone would be able to use it for fighting.

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j_m

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Eldritch Knight said:
Having talked to some Modern Wushu players, including a guy who switched from TCMA to Wushu, I would generally agree with the above. However, there are some people, who with the proper background, can translate Modern Wushu into an effective fighting art. Most practitioners are, like clfsean said, just martial gymnasts, but there are certainly a few in there who know what they're doing and can actually make something of it.

Heh... I could watch ballet and find some ways to use what they do to fight or "defend myself". But that doesn't make ballet a martial art.



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clfsean

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7starmantis said:
Your missing my point. I'm not saying they are trying to be fighters, I'm just saying that if it has fighting capabilities, it wouldn't be only a select few that could use them, everyone would be able to use it for fighting.

7sm
Maybe... but you said it in when you said "... if it has...". I don't believe it does.

I know a guy in Hangzhou that teaches MWS. But when fights or teaches fighting, he uses traditional Southern Lohan or Xingyi. Why is that?? MWS is for show... nothing else.

It's not even that a few that get that training. It's anybody he teaches. He teaches them one set of forms because he's paid to, but then he teaches them traditional, old styles to defend themselves because that works, not MWS.
 
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7starmantis

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clfsean said:
Maybe... but you said it in when you said "... if it has...". I don't believe it does.
Exactly, and I agree with you. I was refering to the post by Eldritch Knight and saying that if there are some who can use it for fighting then they should all be able to. I dont believe its used for fighting, but like j_m said, even some ballet moves could be used to fight with.

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RHD

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7starmantis said:
Exactly, and I agree with you. I was refering to the post by Eldritch Knight and saying that if there are some who can use it for fighting then they should all be able to. I dont believe its used for fighting, but like j_m said, even some ballet moves could be used to fight with.

7sm

The athleticism and fitness of the wushu players is to be admired.

Otherwise I can't stand it. It's become quite an industry for China...Kind of like a Disneyland version of martial training.

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-I seem to recall an article in Inside Kung-Fu about a brother/sister pair who practice a form of wushu that retains the martial applications. According to the article, finding someone who teaches this form is difficult, since most modern wushu centers around athleticism and performance. Can we equate this to the topic of Tai Chi and Tai Cheese? For many, Tai Chi is focused on health aspects, but we all know there are martial applications to the moves, and it would do well for the practicitioners to understand them. Then again, it all may come down to how you define a "martial art". I don't see why MWS should get the bad rap. If a person needs to defend themselves on the street, they'll either find a way to do it, or they won't. Running away is an option, hopefully. And if you practice MWS, you're probably in shape to run away.


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It all comes down to practical application. If you practice a martial art and do no sparring, there is no "martial" aspect to your art. You can't possibly know how to truly apply your skill to a truly resisting opponent.

I used to practice Wing-Chun, and got upset ever time I saw someone saying how ineffective it is in real life. After seeing many clips of the average Wing-Chun student I could see their point. However, if they came into my school with that attitude, they probably would leave hurt. The difference? We sparred constantly.

You can practice forms all the time, but unless you get used to someone kicking at your head all your forms and practice are wasted. If a MWS guy practed sparring with his forms, yes I am positive he would be very good.
 

lonecoyote

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I freely admit that I am ignorant about this subject, so I have a question. What has been taken out of Wushu so that it is no longer a martial art? Don't they still kick and punch? Practicing kicking and punching and strong stances leads to being able to kick and punch and have strong stances. I mean, isn't that also, from what I hear anyway, how wushu should be judged, not just jumping and what not but their forms also have to have not just kicks, punches, and stances, but focus, intent, smoothness and power. So what's wrong with that? and how could any of that make you a worse fighter? Are the applications in forms really that hidden that someone couldn't be shown useful applications out of say, the wushu long fist form?
 
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7starmantis

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lonecoyote said:
how could any of that make you a worse fighter? Are the applications in forms really that hidden that someone couldn't be shown useful applications out of say, the wushu long fist form?
Good points, but I think the idea is not that it makes you a worse fighter, but doesn't make you a good fighter. I dont think anyone is trying to lessen the abilities of wushu practitioners, or say that learning all that doesn't have some if not alot of martial application. What seems to be the problem is that wushu has removed deep core principels and training methods that are considered key to having good kung fu skill. Wushu seems to have dropped body conditioning, which is a must for a fighter, also they dropped applications and drills. I think the problem is that wush is considered a watered down version of kung fu, not that it has absolutely no kung fu in it at all.

Just my opinions,
7sm
 

lonecoyote

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Thank you, 7starmantis, great post that answered my question and shed some light on the whole issue for me. I understand your points, thanks again.
 
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