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Thread: 16th World Wushu Championships

  1. #1
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    16th World Wushu Championships

    I was beginning to wonder if we'd see any press on this...

    Feature: Wushu's growing popularity in U.S.
    Source: XinhuaEditor: huaxia2023-11-16 10:39:16


    This photo taken on May 6, 2023 shows Claire Chevalier performing at the AsiaFest festival in Plano, Texas, the United States.(Photo by Tian Dan/Xinhua)
    by Zhou Yilan
    FORT WORTH, United States, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- "Go strong! Go strong!" called out Wang Tao, a master coach and owner of a Kung Fu studio in Plano, Texas, to a group of learners who were kicking, punching, jumping and turning against a full wall.
    Wushu (Martial arts) studios have become a growth industry in the United States, mainly comprising small operators serving local residents, like Wang's studio located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.
    "You won't be surprised if you find you are surrounded by a diversity of martial arts studios in the United States. Everywhere you go, you will see either a Kung Fu institute or a Wushu studio," said Allen Riley of Wylie, Texas.
    According to Bookee, a platform for fitness entrepreneurs, there are more than 3.9 million Wushu participants in the United States, with 15,900 Wushu schools helping them perfect their craft.
    "Martial arts is spreading like an umbrella throughout the west, not only due to entertainment, but also for keeping fit and being healthy," said Krist Caldwell, an attorney and a Wushu practitioner of more than 20 years.
    Asked to describe Wushu, fellow practitioner Claire Chevalier of Plano shared her thoughts.
    "The beauty of Tai Chi, [for example] I would say it's very elegant. It's a little bit like a dance, but it has something else on top of it. It's a little bit like a drama or something added to it, like the passion of Kung Fu in the skills," she said.
    Chevalier has been practicing Kung Fu for seven years, and traveled to China in 2019. "You can tell that you work not only on the muscle, but you also work on the tendons, which is very specific to Tai Chi. You feel like you also work on your internal organs when you practice the routine. So it has a lot of pluses," she added.
    Various research indicates that the popularity of Wushu has steadily increased in the United States in recent years. According to Statista, between 2010 and 2021, the total number of people practicing the sport went up by nearly 23 percent to reach around 6.2 million. The latest IBISWorld data estimated that the revenue of Wushu studios in the United States will reach 16.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2023.
    "Martial arts is generations old in the United States," Riley said.
    Through practicing Wushu, American practitioners have also become exposed to Chinese history and culture.
    "In [Chinese] Kung Fu, what we call the master is "Shifu". And it's my understanding that this comes from two words: One is master or teacher, the other one is father. So it shows that [in] martial arts, you have a special relationship with your teacher, but I also think in Chinese culture it stresses the importance of family and the group. So that's one very specific thing I've learned about the culture from martial arts," said Krist.
    "Training Wushu has certainly been a good introduction to Chinese culture. It sparked the interest in Chinese customs, language, cuisine and travel," said Angela Saucedo Warren, a 37-year-old mother of two from Fort Worth. "Wushu is powerful, acrobatic, and beautiful."
    "I think there's a great market for martial arts in the United States and we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. But beneath it is a very large iceberg under the water and it will continue to grow," Caldwell said.
    The 16th World Wushu Championships (WWC), which begins on Thursday in Fort Worth, is expected to bring the world's top Wushu athletes to the United States and set up a platform of showcasing China's cultural legacy to the world.
    It will be the second time for the United States to host the tournament after the third WWC was held in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1995. ■

    This photo taken on May 6, 2023 shows enthusiasts from Wang Tao Kung Fu studio performing at the AsiaFest festival in Plano, Texas, the United States.(Photo by Tian Dan/Xinhua)
    For the record:
    15 WWC
    14 WWC
    13 WWC
    12 WWC
    11 WWC
    10 WWC
    8 WWG
    6 WWG
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Here's more...

    ... I just needed to search 'wushu', which I only search occasionally on slow news days...

    Wushu championships return to US
    By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-11-08 14:13

    More than 500 martial arts athletes and 900 international delegates from about 75 countries and regions will gather in Fort Worth, Texas, next week to compete in the HYX 16th World Wushu Championships (WWC), marking the return of the event to the United States after almost 30 years.

    The event is scheduled for Nov 16-20, said Anthony Goh, chairman of 16th WWC Organizing Committee, at a virtual news briefing on Monday.

    Hosted by the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) and organized by the United States of American Wushu-Kungfu Federation (USAWKF), the championships were last held in Baltimore in 1995.

    IWUF was established in 1990 and has held the biennial in various countries around the world since it was first held in Beijing in 1991. Goh said there are 158 member countries/regions in the federation, and about half will make it to this year's championships after the 2021 championships was interrupted by the pandemic.

    "The scale of this year's competition is not the largest nor the smallest. The biggest challenges we have faced are the difficulties of obtaining visa to the US. In addition, due to the war between Russia and Ukraine and the recent violent conflict in Mideast, some are unable to leave their countries," Goh said.

    Wushu is the encompassing term for all martial arts styles originating in China and known more colloquially as Kungfu. Many former wushu competitors have gone on to Hollywood careers as actors, stuntpersons, and fight coordinators.

    While wushu varies widely in styles and forms, it has been standardized into two categories of taolu (choreographed routines) and sanda (full-contact fighting) for competition purposes.

    According to Goh, wushu is most popular in Asian countries and some of the best athletes are from there. Outside of Asia, since the US is the No. 1 destination for Chinese wushu talents to immigrate to, it has benefited from the talent pool and the USAWKF was established as early as in 1993.

    "The United States has the greatest number of wushu talents outside of China. Many are teaching martial arts here and they have helped to develop wushu here," said Goh, who is also the president of USAWKF Board of Directors.

    Take San Francisco as example, said Goh. Starting from around year 2000, more and more wushu talents settled down here from China. Some started to call San Francisco the Kungfu city as a result.

    Since most wushu talents chose to settle down in American cities where there are large populations of Chinese immigrants, and many young people with Chinese heritage are more interested in their own culture compared to other ethnic groups, there tends to be more wushu students of Chinese descent in the US, said Goh.

    "A country with a larger number of Chinese immigrants tends to have better wushu talents because this is a sport that requires coaching. This is especially true with taolu. Sanda is easier to learn through video, therefore, we also see strong sanda players from Iran and some North African countries," said Goh.

    Wushu has always attracted many non-Asians, said Goh. "You don't need language skill to learn wushu. It can be a life-long practice because it also helps promote good health," he said.

    Goh said a new category "creative event" was recently added to the competition to make wushu more eye-catching and appealing to the general population. It combines top skills and creativity to showcase the best aspects of wushu. Not yet an official category in the championships, winners will be rewarded with a certificate instead of a medal.

    The opening ceremony will be a feast to behold, said Goh. Champions from past competitions will display their mastery of martial arts. A professional martial arts team from Yunnan province will perform wushu in "creative event" style. Taiji will be performed by about 150 people. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube.

    In welcome letters to the championships, Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote that martial arts, deeply rooted in the tradition of antiquity, "remain a powerful means of personal growth, social connection, and physical fitness in modern times".

    Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker acknowledged the "profound history and values" of wushu that embodying "physical prowess and the ideals of peace and virtue".
    U.S. denies visa to Iranís wushu team
    Sports
    November 14, 2023 - 12:32



    TEHRAN - Iranís Wushu Federation announced that the United States did not issue visas for the national team members.

    More than 500 martial arts athletes and 900 international delegates from about 75 countries and regions will gather in Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the HYX 16th World Wushu Championships (WWC), marking the return of the event to the United States after almost 30 years.

    The event is scheduled for Nov. 16-20.

    Hosted by the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) and organized by the United States of American Wushu-Kungfu Federation (USAWKF), the championships were last held in Baltimore in 1995.

    Wushu is the encompassing term for all martial arts styles originating in China and known more colloquially as Kungfu.
    Here's the official site: 16thwwc.org
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    World Wushu Championships come back to the U.S.

    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    I heard the US team got on the podium once but I haven't followed up.

    China's national Wushu team performs exhibition in U.S.
    Source: Xinhua| 2023-11-23 16:46:30|Editor:


    Local Wushu enthusiasts perform during a martial arts cultural exchange event in Houston, Texas, the United States, on Nov. 22, 2023. A Wushu team from China performed martial arts in Houston following the 16th World Wushu Championships. (Photo by Chen Chen/Xinhua)

    HOUSTON, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Two days after grabbing 15 gold medals at the 16th World Wushu Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, China's national team laid on a martial arts exhibition in Houston on Wednesday.
    Al Green, a U.S. congressman representing the 9th Congressional District of Texas, came on stage at the end of the performance.
    "I really enjoyed tonight's performance," he said, asking the audience, "Do you want to see them (Chinese athletes) again? Do you want them to come back?", to which the crowd responded enthusiastically.
    Prior to the show, the Chinese team also practiced Wushu with local fans, described by one of them, Mohammad Ullah, as "a brief training seminar".
    Ullah, a Houston lawyer who started learning Wushu nine years ago, told Xinhua that the athletes "showed us what specific things each individual person can work on, not just what we as general practice can learn."
    "They will tell you exactly what you need to do to make it better. They can communicate that very clearly," said Ullah.
    "We hope that this visit will showcase traditional Chinese culture to the American people," said Li Yongqiang, leader of China's national Wushu team.
    Wushu studios have become a growth industry in the United States, mainly comprising small operators serving local residents.
    Various research indicates that the popularity of Wushu has steadily increased in the United States in recent years. According to Statista, between 2010 and 2021, the total number of people practicing the sport went up by nearly 23 percent to reach around 6.2 million.
    The latest IBISWorld data estimated that the revenue of Wushu studios in the United States will reach 16.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. ■


    A Wushu practicer from China performs during a martial arts cultural exchange event in Houston, Texas, the United States, on Nov. 22, 2023. A Wushu team from China performed martial arts in Houston following the 16th World Wushu Championships. (Photo by Chen Chen/Xinhua)


    A Wushu practicer from China performs during a martial arts cultural exchange event in Houston, Texas, the United States, on Nov. 22, 2023. A Wushu team from China performed martial arts in Houston following the 16th World Wushu Championships. (Photo by Chen Chen/Xinhua)
    'the revenue of Wushu studios in the United States will reach 16.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2023' srsly?
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    'the revenue of Wushu studios in the United States will reach 16.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2023' srsly?
    Maybe it was lost-revenue! That, or some parallel universe where they are fronts for some other kind of business like karaoke bars, haha

  6. #6
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    Wushu Karaoke might just work...

    Wushu popularity spreads far and wide
    By May Zhou in Houston | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-29 10:02


    Wushu players from around the world perform at the closing ceremony of the 16th World Wushu Championships held on Nov 15-20 in Fort Worth, Texas. MAY ZHOU/CHINA DAILY

    Competitors from more than 50 countries and regions take part in world championships in US

    Editor's note: As the 16th World Wushu Championships concluded last week in Texas, China Daily reviews how this inspirational form of martial arts affects the lives of hundreds of competitors far beyond the arena.

    Love was in the air as hundreds of competitors from more than 50 countries and regions gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the 16th World Wushu Championships for about a week.

    It was the love for wushu shown by athletes at the championships in mid-November.

    Fran Kyis, a 22-year-old medical student from Croatia, was training in swimming and other sports when a coach asked him to try sanda (full-contact fighting like boxing) when he was 17.

    "I tried and fell in love with it," said Kyis who has won second place twice in European championships. "I like it because it's a dynamic sport. It's a great exercise to develop the entire body, all the muscle groups. It's very technical, you must be very intelligent to train and to be good at it."

    For Oryna Ivanova from Ukraine, her love for wushu was ignited by a flyer on campus when she was in elementary school at the age of 6.

    "Wushu inspires me, makes me strong, makes me happy, makes me stronger every day. This is not just a sport, it's also a philosophy as my coaches taught me," said the 16-year-old.

    Despite her young age, she has already competed in China twice in tai chi. "Wushu is popular in Ukraine, in every region there is a training center," Oryna said.

    Oliver Hassel, coach of the Switzerland team, first learned about wushu on the silver screen.

    "I saw martial arts in movies, and I had always wanted to do that," he said. People who have inspired him on the screen include Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Chuck Norris.

    Hassel said he has been fighting since he was 17 and competed in the 1995 championships held in Baltimore.

    Twenty-eight years later, he returned to the United States as a coach after retiring in 2015. Over the years, he has fought in various events in Harbin, Xi'an, Chongqing and Beijing.

    The wushu community in Switzerland is composed mostly of native residents, Hassel said.

    "Swiss people went to China and brought it back to Switzerland. Tai chi and qigong (a Chinese breathing exercise) community is quite big there," he said. "For us it's a hobby, but a beautiful hobby. We love it."


    Sanda (full-contact fighting) champions in the women's 52kg category (from left): Silver medalist Elisa Calanducci from Italy, gold medalist Chen Mengyue from China, bronze medalists Audrey Meeks from the United States and Nga Ngo Thi Phuong from Vietnam. MAY ZHOU/CHINA DAILY

    At the opening ceremony at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Nov 15, Katie Mendez's eyes were glued to the center stage where about 100 people, all dressed in white, were performing tai chi.

    She was focusing on one particular performer ó her son Miguel Mendez, a 10th grader from Allen, a small suburban city north of Dallas-Fort Worth.

    "My son has been practicing taekwondo since he was 5 years old. Two months ago, he was recruited to perform tai chi for this occasion," said Mendez.

    Miguel also practiced wing chun, a self-defense-based martial arts from southern China, for about a year and half.

    "After he watched those athletes practice, he told me he fell in love with wushu. Now he wants to learn as much wushu as he can, with weapons, without weapons. I will have to look for such a teacher in our area," Mendez said.

    Watching wushu in action was also exactly how Alan Huang, a member of the US team, was attracted to the sport.

    Huang said he saw a wushu performance for the first time when he was only 4 years old at a Chinese school. "I thought it was very cool, so I decided to join," said Huang, who is from Long Island, New York, and now a student at Harvard University pursuing a major in government studies.

    Huang said wushu has, to a great degree, shaped him into what he is today. His gains are beyond acquiring the perseverance and strength that are necessary for pursuing the sport and excelling in any other field.

    "I don't think I was a great kid in elementary school. I had a little 'everything revolving around me' attitude", he said.

    His first transformative experience with wushu came when in fifth grade he went to Beijing to train for a year. The training with Chinese wushu talent opened his eyes.

    "Being able to train (in) wushu, keeping grinding, and knowing that there will always be some people better than me, and there will always be something I am striving toward, having that kind of goal in my mind set me out of 'Oh, I am having fun here. I am better than everyone else' attitude. It changed me," Huang said.

    Wushu also helped him connect with his own heritage, Huang said.

    "At the elementary school, I could not speak Chinese. The more I was invited to the wushu community, the more I felt at peace with my culture. I got motivated to get in touch with my Chinese roots. Now, I am able to hold a conversation in Chinese," he said.

    Determined to keep wushu in his life to some extent, Huang said he was pleasantly surprised when he found out that there was a wushu club at Harvard for him to join. With a membership of diverse racial background, Huang said they train about four times a week to keep their basics up.

    While wushu brought Huang to his own cultural roots, for Omar Mendez, a competitor in the categories of tai chi and taijijian (tai chi with a double-edged sword) and a member of the Mexican team, wushu has become a way of life.

    Mendez, 33, said he started learning martial arts when he was 6 years old. He was progressing in the sport as he was growing up.

    "I was talented, my passion for wushu and about learning more was over the top," Mendez said. "My coach sent me to train in China as part of the Mexican team."

    At first, he trained in China for two months at a time. However, the more he learned, he realized the more he had yet to learn. He decided to take a deeper plunge.

    Mendez spent two years in China to master the language, and then earned a master's degree at Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in Beijing. In total, he lived in Beijing for seven years.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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    Continued from previous

    Performers from Yunnan province showcase wushu moves at the opening ceremony of the 16th World Wushu Championships. MAY ZHOU/CHINA DAILY

    Profound learning

    The experiences enabled him to learn wushu in a profound way, said Mendez. To him, wushu went beyond physical fitness.

    "There is also a philosophical aspect and culture in wushu," Mendez said. "To truly learn wushu well, you have to understand its philosophy and culture components."

    Mendez said he is focusing on learning more about tai chi. "It's all about Taoism, empty your mind, flow like water, simplify your life. I incorporate that into my daily life."

    Mendez said his life is all about learning, practicing and teaching wushu.

    He married his girlfriend from Ukraine a couple of years ago, and the couple settled down there. He was in the process of opening a wushu school in Ukraine when the conflict started and upended his plan. They moved back to Mexico, and then to Canada. Now he is trying to set up a wushu training center in Toronto.

    "Life can be tough sometimes, just like training (in) wushu, but life can also be harmonious like wushu," Mendez said. "Like the Chinese saying, life is full of four tastes ó sweet, bitter, sour and spicy. We can enjoy the whole process and all the tastes. Wushu offers me that."

    Since the International Wushu Federation was established in 1990 and the first biennial world championships were held in Beijing in 1991, wushu has come a long way more than 30 years, as witnessed by Shi Xinghao, one of the 32 generations of Shaolin disciples who runs the Houston Shaolin Kung Fu Academy.

    Shi was at the 16th World Wushu Championships as one of the volunteers who were instrumental in organizing the competition. He has taken his students to various competitions and watched how the scene of wushu has changed over the past decades on the world stage.


    Roman Reva from Ukraine competes at the 16th World Wushu Championships on Nov 17. LIAO PAN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

    When he first started going to the competitions in early 2000s, most of the participants could speak at best a few words of Chinese. However, in later years, he discovered that many wushu athletes have deeper connections with China.

    "It seems that wushu, as a platform, has played an important role in spreading the Chinese culture," said Shi.

    He discovered that many wushu athletes, to understand wushu better, have learned Chinese, and, consequently, gotten to know more about China.

    "I could almost always find someone on a team who is able to speak Chinese. They would tell me that they have spent this or that many years in China, or that they have trained in Beijing or Zhejiang. It's amazing," Shi said.

    One of his students, William Nisbett, is such an example, Shi said. Nisbett trained at his academy for about eight years when he was in primary school.

    His love for wushu led him to select Chinese as a foreign language in college. "His Chinese became so good that he won the second place in 'Chinese Bridge' (competition) in the southern eight states," Shi said.

    Now a marketing professional, Nisbett recently translated a book from Chinese to English.

    "The martial arts have a big impact beyond the sport. I feel very gratified," Shi said.

    Zheng Jutian, coach for the Chinese team, said that going back 10 or 20 years, a Chinese team would win most of the gold medals with little doubt, but no longer.

    "We don't know who will win until the competition is over," he said, "I can see from this year's competition that athletes from other nations have been improving steadily over the years, and the best of them can match the best of Chinese players. This reflects wushu is indeed becoming a world sport, and I am happy to see that."

    Olympics officials said there are more than 120 million practitioners of wushu worldwide, which was created to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts. Wushu has been recently accepted into the Youth Olympic Games and will make its debut at the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games being hosted by Senegal.

    Because of that, Zheng said he expects wushu to become an official sport in the Olympics soon.
    I dunno about that last sentence...seems I've been hearing this for nearly a quarter century now...
    Gene Ching
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