History & Development
Roots of Wushu
Wushu originated as a means of survival. Prehistoric humans learnt how to defend and attack with simple punches and kicks. Over time these methods were collected and honed. Wushu became treated as an invaluable skill that enabled one to protect their families or make a living, and many were treated as secrets. Each generation of practitioners have strived to improve their martial arts, leading to the constant evolving of Wushu. As a result, Wushu has blossomed and diversified into many schools, each with its own philosophy and merits.
Development of taolu
Taolu (套路) are systematic patterns of attack and defense moves designed for training purposes. Taolu is the result of honing the simple punches and kicks gathered throughout the years, and then combined together. As such, taolu represents the pinnacle in wushu development. Taolu are as diversified as there are martial art schools, but all aim to enhance the practitioner in different ways.
With the development of modern technology and weapons, wushu has reduced in significance as a military skill. However, its importance in conditioning the body has remained unchanged. Many elements of wushu have been incorporated into law enforcement trainings, and many schools in China adopt wushu at schools as part of their physical education curriculum.
Wushu as an international sport
Wushu became a nationalized competitive sport in China in the 1950s. With the entry of China onto the international stage and the spread of Chinese culture, wushu was also spread all over the world. Nowadays, modern wushu taolu contain elements from gymnastics and dance, combining grace and elegance with the power and agility from traditional wushu.
In 1990, the International Wushu Federation was established in Beijing to further promote wushu. It has held ten World Wushu Championships and helped federations around the world organise their own competitions. In 1994, the Australian Kung Fu (Wushu) Federation Limited was established as the official peak organisation representing Australia with the International Wushu Federation.