In the past, Wushu was developed for the sake of military prowess and physical well being. Wushu was seen as crucial to a soldier’s survival in the time of hand-to- hand combat. Today, military function has faded and it has been organized and systematized into a formal branch of study in the performance arts by the Chinese. Its physical welfare and athletic functions become dominant. Hence Wushu is popular among the whole nation of China, practiced by men and women, young and old Mike. Today many people practice Wushu to pursue health, defense skills, mental discipline, entertainment and competition.
Recently, Chinese Wushu has been modernized. Training and competing standard systems have been set up. Continuing its fighting function, Wushu becomes a more athletic and aesthetic performance and competitive sport. More and more foreigners come to learn the mysterious Wushu. In order to promote Wushu internationally, China Zhengzhou International Shaolin Wushu Festival will be held twice annually. Among the many styles are Changquan (long boxing), Nanquan (southern boxing), Taijiquan (shadow boxing or supreme ultimate boxing), Xingyi quan (mind boxing), Baguaquan (eight-trigram boxing). The former two belong to the external style which emphasizes physical strength and abilities while the latter three belong to the internal style that depends upon internal power-qi. performed during the Berlin Olympics. Wushu is known to many people around the world but has yet not become as popular as Japan’s judo and Korea’s taekwondo. To push for Wushu to become an Olympic competing item,China has much to learn from Japan and South Korea in promoting the martial art to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and the world. Japan successfully pushed for judo’s inclusion at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, while South Korea’s taekwondo made it to the Olympics 12 years after the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
IOC president Jacques Rogge told Chinese media during the 10th National Games that the IOC had agreed in principle to allow the Beijing Organizing Committee to streamline the summer Olympics and freeze the number of sports.
Chinese sporting authorities say Wushu is part of Chinas 9, 000 years of civilization and its presence at the Olympics is in line with the spirit of a “Humanity Olympics”, one of the three themes for 2008. Besides, only two of the 28 competition sports at the Olympics originated, and were modernized, in the east. Therefore, the inclusion of Wushu in 8008 will help promote cultural exchanges between East and West.