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Thread: History of Modern Wushu... anyone?

  1. #1

    History of Modern Wushu... anyone?

    Where does "wushu" come from? I know the short story is it was created during the culture revolution when kung fu was banned, but isnt there more to the story than this? It must have been created by people who knew kung fu already, who could the founders/creators of this be?

  2. #2
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    A gathering of various known kung fu masters designed a sporting version of the national arts and removed much of the martial aspect in favour of gymnastic aspect at the behest of the communist leaders before, during the mid point and at the end of the cultural revolution.

    It in essence was a communist plot to keep martial heritage alive but taking the rebellious nature of martial arts out of it and turning it into an expression of that which served the purpose of nationalism without the danger of revolution.

    in my humble opinion.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  3. #3
    The history of modern Wushu is interesting and more complex than the simple idea "The commies took the fighting out". The modern Wushu program was an extenstion of both the Jingwu program and the National Guoshu programs. As to the development of the PRC's Wushu program, the best (and actually one of the only) english language discussions of it is in Prof. Kang Gewu's book.

    Like many folks I used to believe that the PRC's Wushu program was responsible for the fact that Chinese martial arts had lost its combat aspects. But---as I take a harder historical look it becomes obvious to me that Chinese unarmed martial arts had lost its combat aspects much earlier, probably by the mid 1800s with the arrival of pistols into China In fact many southern martial arts systems never really had anything that could be seen as serious fighting.

    take care,
    Brian

  4. #4
    in an interview with yu hai he stated it was the athletes themselves who decided to move toward flashy performance. the spectators wanted to see flashy exciting moves.
    Last edited by bawang; 10-16-2011 at 07:58 AM.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianlkennedy View Post
    The history of modern Wushu is interesting and more complex than the simple idea "The commies took the fighting out". The modern Wushu program was an extenstion of both the Jingwu program and the National Guoshu programs. As to the development of the PRC's Wushu program, the best (and actually one of the only) english language discussions of it is in Prof. Kang Gewu's book.

    Like many folks I used to believe that the PRC's Wushu program was responsible for the fact that Chinese martial arts had lost its combat aspects. But---as I take a harder historical look it becomes obvious to me that Chinese unarmed martial arts had lost its combat aspects much earlier, probably by the mid 1800s with the arrival of pistols into China In fact many southern martial arts systems never really had anything that could be seen as serious fighting.

    take care,
    Brian
    What he said.

    I wouldn't have had the balls to go all the way back to the 1800's but at the very minimum you have to go back to the Nanjing Academy and before that, the Jingwu days and even if you want to go all "Commies spoiled kung fu!" you have to realize that before they were repressing it in the early 70's they were promoting it in the 50's and 60's. Sport Sanda was pretty much a pre-cultural revolution PRC invention. The communist party has promoted fighting arts when it suited them and repressed them when it didn't.

  6. #6
    Good stuff, thats the direction Im looking at!

    How about the date, like the 60's? There must have been many people involved and I guess northern and southern practitioners. Ill look for that Prof. Kang Gewu book, thanks Brian!

    I hope some others will share what they know, there must be alot to the story.

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    I don't disagree with Brian or Omar and I agree the process was much longer.
    The PRC involvement in that process in regards to what is wushu now can't be minimized though.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulfist View Post
    Good stuff, thats the direction Im looking at!

    How about the date, like the 60's? There must have been many people involved and I guess northern and southern practitioners. Ill look for that Prof. Kang Gewu book, thanks Brian!

    I hope some others will share what they know, there must be alot to the story.
    People have already said, it was fluid. Probably the start of the mentality that led towards the evolution of sport Wushu was the promotion of Kung Fu as a nationalistic exercise for improving the health of the nation during the early republican period.
    "The man who stands for nothing is likely to fall for anything"
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    I don't disagree with Brian or Omar and I agree the process was much longer.
    The PRC involvement in that process in regards to what is wushu now can't be minimized though.
    Fair enough.

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    Our host magazine has had some wonderful articles on this in the past.
    Richard A. Tolson
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  11. #11
    wushu

    the idea was to standardize and popularize

    as physical and then cultural programs.

    for example;

    Yang Chen Fu modified yang tai chi in 1928 to make then easier and expansive for health exercise

    Zheng Man Qing shortened it into 37 postures in 1946

    Tai chi 28 postures in 1950's

    Tai chi 48 postures (yang and other styles) in 1970s (?)

    Tai chi 13 postures in 1990s (?)

    Tai chi 8 postures in 2000s.

    so the main idea today is still to make them "easy" and popularize.

    Wushu routine competitions kind of go the other way

    it is all about cartwheel, flying, jumps and land in a split etc to make them flashy and entertaining. (?) or nan du.


  12. #12
    Greetings,

    I remember observing an old guy playing XingYi on video. I noticed that he kept looking to either side of the camera as if there was a firing squad on one side and a banquet of food on the other, and he was trying very hard to make up his mind.


    mickey

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    Greetings,

    I remember observing an old guy playing XingYi on video. I noticed that he kept looking to either side of the camera as if there was a firing squad on one side and a banquet of food on the other, and he was trying very hard to make up his mind.


    mickey
    yes. CMA is supposed to be secrets. You do not show your moves in the public. for others may learn and find a solution to defeat your moves.

    if somehow, have to show the public, you would hide or change the moves to hide key elements that make them work--

    so I could totally understand this to show or not to show delima.

    Wushu programs are indeed waterdown moves or "changed" moves.

    if this answers the questions in so many people

    ---


  14. #14
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    We've published several articles on this topic

    My most comprehensive stab at this was in a two-part article series that we ran in 2004 as part of the Wushu in the White House series. The articles were titled The Secret History of Wushu From Behind the Red Curtain: Champions Chen Daoyun and Zhang Lingmei reveal their Warrior?s Journeys under Communist Rule
    Part 1 was run in our2004 March/April issue, Part 2 in our 2004 May/June.

    I reprinted both articles in my book, Shaolin Trips, for two reasons. Firstly, it's my most comprehensive stab at this history and second, the tale discusses Shaolin and its relationship to the early development of wushu.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #15
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    ^ This is Gene "mafa" Ching.

    He knows his sh1t.

    Heed the G on this subject.

    Kung Fu is good for you.

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