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Thread: Getting Current: Wu Shu

  1. #1
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    Question Getting Current: Wu Shu

    Folks please forgive me. 33 years ago, wu shu was a term that had tradition, honor and power. It was the combat of the kung fu.

    I am a monk and I have been living in the forest here since 1999. It has certainly been much longer since I have known anything about the public arena or had a copy of Kung Fu magazine (which was some pretty neat stuff in the '70's)

    First, a thread "ground rule" - I am asking so it is OK to say things more plainly. If you think you might hurt feelings or what you have to say too strong you could send me a message - so here goes:

    What is the deal with the mockery of the term Wu Shu these days? I came here because of some changes we are making and wanted to tap the community and get current.
    I find that something has happened over these last couple of decades and what was once a powerful art is now a joke that tradition must be embarassed of.

    I do get that there has been a % of people who "think the word is neat" and think that by doing all these really powerless, "flippy/swirly" (you can not even call it "stylized") pseudo-katas that they are "Wu Shu!" (mysterious and powerful dood!) and most of you think "Fools!"
    I get that. I have seen some of it here (like that girl USSD or whatever)

    What I am asking those who have been in touch and in the "fray" is....

    1) When did this begin? I expect it started in California or other large populace area

    2) Who are these people ie is it more like a fad and everyone is "Wu Shu" sexy? Or was there some movement or school that turned the word into a "artistic performance" thing that largely says "Anybody could rape me"

    3) Is there actually regard for this in the "business" part of MA, where anyone with $100 can be a member etc. (5th Dan Blackbelt! $500)

    Or is it just a total fad thing?

    I have no problem with some soul feeling the joy of whirling. It is not that. There is joy in it and someone's spirit may thereby be lifted. It is the missapropriation of the word. It is both false and wrong but sometimes fads are, ya?

    So I suppose what I am hoping for is that there is still some viability and validity to the term and it is not altogether lost.
    But it seems like it is (I have only been looking at this for a couple days though. When I wanted to know about the current state of public MA, I came here and joined)

    But it has been bugging me immensely so I thought if I opened this thread all kinds of observations, opinions and such would come out. I feel I need info here to better understand.

    I live on top of a mountain in the forest and the entire county here has about 5,000 in it, so it is not like I can just easily "go out in the street" or visit dojo's to try and "fast forward 30 years" - you guys are currently what I got for reference.

    As far as I can make out of a lot of what I have seen in public MA in my short 2 days?
    5,000 ancient styles, bashing, a lot of "non shaolin like" people and things calling themselves "monks" and "shaolin" with no real inner and a strange outer. faction after faction, all "disgruntled" but doing the very same things they are disgruntled about. - has anybody seen that movie "Idiocracy"?

    "It's Wu Shu MMA! It has electrolytes!"

    and I am not trying to be daft or provocative on purpose. I am just trying to get as big and clear a picture as I can because I am beginning to think I should not have even looked! Lol!

    It would also be interesting to me to find or hear of others and schools who are still teaching ALL the parts of kung fu by older ways. I know we live in a different world now, but kung fu and the world have not changed. Just people.

    I expect I am a little overwhelmed by the masses of craziness (to me) that have seemingly all but taken over.
    Thanks for your patience and understanding as well as your observations.

    PS - I have seen interesting and good things too. It's not that.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  2. #2
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    When you take your clothes off and stand in front of a mirror, if you can fall in love with the guy in that mirror, you know that you can be a perfect modern Wu Shu guy. In that world, you use your body to please the judges and audience. The reward will be high score and applaud.

  3. #3
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    Talking

    Eureka!
    Then this is something that is considered a performance that the performer designs? (as opposed to a kata one learns to perform for grade advancement)

    That's what it means? "Look at what I can do" (Stewart)

    The score card - they compete against each other for the best dance <or> for a grade of some kind?

    Thanks! Score card and applause - pieces 1 & 2 of the puzzle....

    We never used the word at school. It was just one of the words that described what the school offered and it certainly did not mean ANYTHING like that! Lol!

    It literally just meant the combat part of the Kung Fu - it did not describe any style and was not one. It did not describe kata either.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  4. #4
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    Kung Fu magazine (which was some pretty neat stuff in the '70's)

    Our magazine Kung Fu Tai Chi has only been around since 1992. If you're speaking of IKF, well, take that to their forum please.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Our magazine Kung Fu Tai Chi has only been around since 1992. If you're speaking of IKF, well, take that to their forum please.
    What do you mean and what is IKF? ....and Kung Fu magazine was around but I thoght that the current magazine was it's evolution?

    I am trying to understand if what is being called Wu Shu is actually a organized school of some kind somewhere, a loose term being used by many or more of a gymnastics type of thing as perceived in the current public arena.
    Last edited by curenado; 12-17-2010 at 10:52 AM.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  6. #6
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    Kung Fu Tai Chi evolved from Kung Fu Wushu

    Wushu Kungfu was founded in 1992. IKF is a completely different magazine.

    Here's an archived e-zine article on wushu nomenclature - Wushu Needs Name Rectification by An Tianrong
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks Gene! That article was pretty much exactly what I was looking for and saves members a lot of typing!
    I feel like I am building a foundation of definitions and nomenclature so that I can interpret what else may come by something.

    Which is funny, because I thought the word simply meant combat and even though no one ever defined it this way, in Master Don's school (at 12) I generally thought it meant "When you get to do weapons too." and the half-definition I had was far from complete
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  8. #8
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    The 1st time that I have heard the word Wushu was from a red guard poster 武术新花向陽紅 (the new Wushu flower is facing the red sun) during the culture revolution period of time. Before that all I had heard was Goushu.

  9. #9
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    Todays definition of Wushu and Kung Fu is movie martial arts. Big, over exaggerated, fancy movements that anyone can do with wire work and CGI. They are viewed as ineffective and have no place in combat.

  10. #10
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    but if we say this is wrong we are belittled.

    Also! I remembered yesterday that the old magazine was called "Inside Kung Fu" - not Kung Fu Magazine.
    That is why I was confused...

    I have been very happy to find this forum and especially that the old way is still taught. This new "flash and crash" way and stylish forms makes me feel like it is more important now to keep teaching.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Wushu Kungfu was founded in 1992. IKF is a completely different magazine.

    Here's an archived e-zine article on wushu nomenclature - Wushu Needs Name Rectification by An Tianrong

    I doubt the Maxists in the PRC were thinking of "Confucius's concept of "name rectification"" when they were re-defining, 'wushu'. Their intentions were more inline with George Orwell's "Newspeak".
    r.
    Last edited by r.(shaolin); 12-21-2010 at 12:13 PM.

  12. #12
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    Perhaps Orwell got newspeak from Confucius name rectification

    double plus good!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #13
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    It's all wushu to me

    The article by An Tianrong was spot on, in my opinion. Just plain truth. I was always taught that the apparent split between "traditional kung fu" & "modern wushu" was a misconception brought about by lack of thorough knowledge of what constitutes Chinese wushu. "Wushu" is, and has long been, the proper and literal name for Chinese martial arts, as well as, to some degree, the other terms mentioned in the article.
    The words "wu shu" have become preeminent for a reason, you know, and it's not because of a communist plot to eradicate "real kung fu". That is kinda laughable and becoming lame to me. It's like a cop-out for not being current or not being able to keep up. The game has elevated in regards to competitive performance of taolu just like the set shot is not seen much in basketball today. That's just the nature of athletics - the envelope tends to get pushed. And one cannot deny, whether traditionalist or not, that what we do as martial artists in general is not athletics. It's a very precise and specialized form of athletics.
    One more thing as food for thought: when I was coming up as a young buck training with my shifu, no matter if we were training an "old school" taolu or a "modern" chang quan,etc., we were expected to perform them with "wushu" - like exuberance. Unless of course that wasn't the way a particular style was done, but I hope you get my meaning. Too much of what I see as "traditional kung fu" out here is not too good. You still have to hit those stances & flow smoothly & powerfully like any good compulsory chang quan, in my opinion. We also trained to fight with the techniques regardless. it was an integrated approach at all times with free sparring a mainstay. That is lacking to some degree in today's taolu training, but I think many of these so-called "modern" wushu practitioners are no slouches in any aspect of wushu. i wouldn't want to really mess with people like Zhao changjun, Jiang bangjun, even Wu Di, etc. Don't think that there aren't people who can use all types of crazy techniques in an actual fight. There's nothing really new to that either. That is "traditional" as well.

  14. #14
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    Oh, by the way, curenado, I believe the term ( well, one of them anyway) for "combat" is actually "ge(2nd tone) dou(4th tone)" - "gedou".

  15. #15
    Must have been really hard carrying that computer to the top of the mountain.

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