Wushu is a general name for all types of martial arts practiced in China. It is one of the most versatile and effective fighting systems in the world. Wushu is based on fist fighting and fencing techniques, combined with various types of traditional acrobatics, breathing practices and special mental disciplines.


Sports wushu includes almost all the currently existing styles and varieties of this ancient art.

Wushu in the Game program


  • Initially, the word ‘wushu’, which literally means ‘combat technique’, was a generic term for all martial arts of Chinese origin rather than the name of a specific martial art. 
  • The word ‘kung fu’ as a synonym for ‘wushu’ was more common in Southern China. From there, along with the first major wave of emigration from China, it spread throughout the rest of the world.
  • A popular misconception: Jackie Chan is a famous wushu master. In fact, the truth is somewhat different. Jackie Chan graduated from the Beijing Opera School, where wushu was a mandatory subject in the curriculum.


The modern history of wushu began after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. The First All-China National Sports and Athletic Competition was held on 8-12 November 1953 in Tianjin. After this event the government came to the conclusion that wushu should be updated, and regulated by the state. Wushu needed to be developed into a system of physical training that could be practiced by the masses. 

All types of wushu can be divided into two broad categories: wushu taolu (‘combined wushu’), and wushu martial arts. The wushu taolu program includes the changquan, nanquan and taijiquan disciplines, standard systems for certain styles of traditional wushu chuantung, and exercises with a range of traditional wapons including the pole, spear, jian sword, dao sword, three-section flail, nine-section whip, paired swords, dadao (halberd), paired whips, and liuxin flail.

In 1997, additional weapons were added — the Tai chi sword, southern pole and southern sword. The Wushu martial arts include: wushu-sanshou, tuishou (‘pushing with hands’ from Taijiquan) and duanbing (soft sword fighting).

Other disciplines