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Wushu

Wushu (武術 in Chinese) means any type of Chinese martial arts, the widely accepted idea about the number of distinct styles of Wushu in China is that there are currently more than 1000 styles.

A common mistake about Wushu is that many people regard Kung Fu as another name of Wushu. In fact, while Wushu means any type of Chinese martial arts, Kung Fu means a specific high level of Wushu. For example, a person is learning a type of Wushu. We can say he learns Wushu but we cannot say he has Kung Fu until he achieves a specific high level.

Although it is originally a term used solely in reference to Chinese martial arts, now in many languages it is excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor. Thus, a cook, woodworker, martial artist, or any other person may exhibit Kung Fu in their activities.

Nowadays, more in non-Chinese environs, Kung Fu refers generally to Chinese martial arts. A more precise term solely for describing the vast variety of Chinese martial art would be the term Wushu, which simply translates into "martial arts" and is commonly used throughout China. However, many Western people misunderstand that Wushu is only the 'modernified' government sanctioned martial forms which are more recently standardized for competition and demonstration. In fact, Wushu refers to any type of Chinese martial arts.

The instructor of Wushu is called Shi Fu[?].

Wushu are very diverse. Seemingly, in terms of the approach of training, it can be classified as either External and Internal. One of the typical internal style is the Tai Ji, and the typical example of external styles are Shao Lin Quan, one of whose branches is Yong Chun Quan. Because Yong Chun Quan is widely distributed in Guangdong and Hong Kong and many people living in those areas moved to North America, now Yong Chun Quan is famous in North America.

However, essentially, either External or Internal has the same purpose which is the mixture of stiffness and softness. It is the ultimate purpose of all Chinese Wushu. Thus, the difference between them is only the difference between the training approach. Shao Lin Quan emphasizes on the softness later and Tai Ji Quan emphasizes on the power later.

Some great difference between Wushu and any other martial arts is as follows:

1. The purpose of Wushu is not to knock out others. Instead, its primary purpose is for the health and the justice. The secondary aim is the self defense, though the defense of this kind is awesome and powerful.

2. Because the health is the primary purpose of Wushu, it does not ask people to do some exercises or actions which have powerful attacking but are bad to the health. For instance, some actions are powerful, but the exercises will hurt the body so much so that people exercising some martial arts cannot live very long (for example less than 60 years old). There is no action of this kind in Wushu.

3. Wushu asks people to know much about Chinese medicine. A Wushu saying is "Wushu and Chinese medicine are one family". Thus, the Wushu experts are normally Chinese medicine experts.

4. Wushu emphasizes the use of the Nei Jin, which is the internal power and has nothing to do with the muscles. That is why Wushu can let a slim girl or senior beat a strong man. During the process of time, the power of muscles decreases but the power of Nei Jin increases.

5. Wushu can let a person has the long time of combat and normally elder people are more powerful than younger people. That is why the awesome experts are seniors though their muscles are much weaker than before. This is the normal case instead of exceptional case. Only Wushu can achieve this magic goal.

More or less, many martial arts originally stemed from Shao Lin Temple, located in the Henan province nearby the city of Deng Feng[?]. It is one of the largest gathering of Wushu in China, with hundreds of schools and over 20,000 practicioners. Much has happened at Shao Lin as of late, and the tourism has changed it forever. It has definitely contributed to the popularity of Wushu, but many dislike its current state, saying that it's not what it used to be. No one can argue against that, but the fact remains that it is a place that gives many people a chance to devote their lives to Wushu, and a place where tourists can go watch them train, or pay to train themselves for a short period of time, for the better or the worse.

In modern times Wushu has spawned a popular genre of films. The films of Bruce Lee were instrumental for the initial burst of the martial art's popularity in the West, and lately, actors such as Li Lian Jie (Jet Li) and Chen Long (Jackie Chan) have appeared in many Western films. This type of martial art films are often referred to as Wushu movies (see Martial arts film, Wu Xia film). A cult television series of the early 1970s by that name which starred David Carradine[?] also popularized the martial art on television.



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