Wushu literally means "martial art", formed from the two words wu meaning "martial" or "military", and shu which can be translated as "skill", "discipline" or "method". In English speaking countries, Wushu is generally used to refer to modern exhibition and sport fighting, while Kung Fu is used to refer to the older, more traditional arts. Within China, all martial arts are referred to as Wushu, differentiated by using either "traditional" or "contemporary" before the word Wushu.


Modern or contemporary Wushu started after the birth of the People's Republic of China in 1949. It is deeply rooted in Chinese traditional culture. There are two disciplines, a full-contact sport called Sanda (or Sanshou) derived from traditional Chinese fighting styles, and a forms exhibition called Taolu which employs different barehanded and weapons forms.

Taolu competitions are judged according to a set of rules, similar to gymnastics. Practitioners perform either compulsory or individual routines that often require great strength and agility, and many include aerial techniques to add more difficulty and style to their forms. Sanda competitions are judged fights, and are similar to kickboxing bouts but with many more grappling techniques.

Modern Wushu emphasizes highly balanced, harmonic interactions and uniformity of hands, eyes, body, steps, spirit, breath (Qi) and strength. This unique sport is focused on the balance of Ying and Yang, the merging of mind and heart, the oneness of body and soul, and the cultivation of inner and outer domains. Wushu embraces the essences of Chinese philosophy, ascetics, art and culture. Practitioners achieve the overall benefit of better strength, flexibility, agility and coordination as well as willpower and character.


1990 Asia Olympic Required Routines
Southern Fist (Nanquan)
Long Fist (Changquan)
Broadsword (Dao)
Spear (Qiang)
Straight Sword (Jian)
Staff (Gun)

2000 International Required Routines
Long Fist (Changquan)
Broadsword (Dao)
Spear (Qiang)
Straight Sword (Jian)
Staff (Gun)

Optional Competition Routines
Composition of Individualized Selection of Elements for the Long Program
Composition of Required Elements for the Short Program

Internal Systems
Yang and Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan)
Eight Diagram Palm (Baguazhang)
Form and Will Boxing (Xingxi)

External Systems
Praying Mantis Boxing (Tanglanquan)
Through the Back Boxing (Tongbeiquan)
Arms Swing Palm (Fanziquan)
Continuous Attack (Piguazhang)
Ground Boxing (Ditangquan)
Drunken Boxing (Zuiquan)
Eagle Style Boxing (Yingzhuaquan)

Sparring Exercises
Capture Method (Duilian)
Combat on Set Patterns (Barehanded and Weapons Duel)

Weapons forms
Long Handle Sabre (Pudao)
Long Bladed Short Hilted Sabre (Dadao)
Drunken Sword (Zuijian)
Three-section Cudgel (Sanjiegun)
Nine-section Whip (Jiujiebian)
Double Broadsword (Shuangdao)
Double Straightswords (Shuangjian)