Jan 02

Chinese Martial Arts Is Becoming A World-Wide Phenomenon

Chinese martial arts refer to the enormous variety of martial art styles native to China. Kung fu and wushu are popular Chinese terms that have become synonymous with Chinese martial arts. The development of Chinese martial arts can initially be traced to self-defense needs, hunting activities and military training. Eventually, Chinese martial arts became an important element of Chinese culture.

Chinese martial arts started to spread internationally with the end of the Chinese civil war and the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Many well known martial art practitioners choose to escape from the Communist rule and migrate to Taiwan, Hong Kong and other parts of the world. Those masters started to teach within the oversea Chinese communities but eventually they expand their teachings to include people from other cultures.

Within China, the practice of traditional martial arts was discouraged during the turbulent years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1969-1976). The government instead promoted the concept of Wushu as a replacement. In 1958, the government established the All-China Wushu Association as an umbella organization to regulate martial arts training. The Chinese State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports took the lead in creating standardized forms for tai chi chuan and other fists and weapon arts. During this period, a national Wushu system that includes standard forms, teaching curricula and instructor grading were established. Wushu was introduced at both the high school and university level. The suppression of traditional teaching was relaxed during the era of reconstruction (1976-1989), as Communist ideology became more accommodating to alternative viewpoints. In 1979, the State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports created a special task force to revaluate the teaching and practice of Wushu. In 1986, the Chinese National Research Institute of Wushu was established as the central authority for the research and administration of Wushu activities in the People’s Republic. Presently, both traditional styles and modern Wushu approaches are being promoted by the Chinese government.

Chinese martial arts have now evolved from its Chinese heritage to become world-wide phenomenon. No longer restricted by ethnic origin, students of Chinese martial arts can now be found in every part of the world, each student continuing a rich and ancient tradition of self discovery.


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