The traditional Chinese martial art of Wushu

From Mandarin Chinese to English, Wushu literally translates as fighting (Wu) method (Shu) and as such can refer to any kind of Chinese martial art, however, traditionally it tends to refer to the formal exhibition type of traditional Chinese Kung Fu whereby performers are very acrobatic and dynamic in movement, often assisted by an arsenal of traditional Chinese martial arts weapons, and in modern tournaments at least, their forms (katas) are often performed with backing music.

Wushu is a traditional Chinese martial/performing art come contemporary sport, especially popular among niche groups of athletic young women and trend-setting breakdancing young men in the West today.


Wushu involves plenty of jumping and posing in contorted positions to mimic extreme martial arts techniques; although the application of such techniques on opponents or training partners is rarely practiced if ever.

Alongside jumping and kicking, there’s a bit of running and spinning, handstands and flips, etc – much like mat-based gymnastics performances but with near-sharp weapons and a slightly different kind of music. There’s also some low stance positions – lots of traditional Chinese kung fu stance work to add altitudinal dimention to the performance.