The World Games family welcomed two new members at its recent Annual General Meeting: Sambo and Wushu. Altogether, 39 international federations are now members of the International World Games Association.
What does the new member Wushu bring to the family? Spectacular and mind-blowing performances at least – and a lot of history.
Wushu, also referred to as kungfu, is the collective term for the martial art practices that originated and developed in China. Wushu contests and performances were popular in the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC-AD 220). Over its long history, Wushu has developed into numerous distinct styles and systems, each incorporating their own techniques, tactics, principles and methods, as well as the use of a wide variety of traditional weaponry. Competitive Wushu is categorised into two main categories, namely Taolu (Routines Competition) and Sanda (Free-fighting Competition).
Wushu has previously been in the programme of The World Games in 2009 and 2013 as an invitational sport. The World Games 2022 will have competitions in the Taolu discipline.
Taolu is a non-combat discipline that is more performative with a blend of martial arts. Taolu routines comprise a continuously connected set of pre-determined techniques, choreographed according to certain principles and philosophies which incorporate techniques and stylistic principles of attack and defence. These include hand techniques, leg techniques, jumps, sweeps, stances & footwork, seizing, throwing & wrestling, balances etc. Athletes demonstrate aerial techniques such as 540 and 720-degree jumps and kicks to add more difficulty to their forms.
An athlete’s full starting score is 10 points, based on the quality of movements, overall performance and degree of difficulty movements. Additional points for innovative degree of difficulty movements can be added to the count, and points can be deducted if the competitor makes mistakes.
There will be 5 competition events for both male and female athletes separately under Taolu at The World Games:
Changquan (Long fist)
Comprising of styles that originated and are popular in the northern geographic areas of China, this style is defined by open and long-range strikes, and a wide variety of leg techniques and circular motions. Changquan utilises open and expanded postures, high-speed techniques as well as many aerial and acrobatic techniques. It is a fast, dynamic and exciting style, incorporating many breathtaking movements.
Nanquan (Southern fist)
Comprising of styles that originated and are popular in the southern geographic areas of China, Nanquan is defined by low stances with fewer leg techniques and a focus on short, powerful arm strikes often accompanied by vocal articulation. Focusing on a solid stance and stability, Nanquan has relatively fewer acrobatic techniques but rather concentrates on generating extremely powerful techniques with intricate and highly developed hand techniques. It is a fierce and powerful style whose practitioners exude a strong spirit.
Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan)
The most widely practiced and popular martial art in the world today, Taijiquan is characterised by its slow and graceful motions and its combination of both hard and soft techniques. Taijiquan is defined by slow motions, coupled at times with explosive bursts of force, which require total harmony of motion and breath, concentration and coordination of the entire body and spirit in continuous practice.
As one of the prominent short-bladed weapons in Chinese history, the broadsword was widely practiced throughout China. It is a single-edged curved blade and its use is characterised by vigorous attack and defensive techniques. Its fierce and powerful movements primarily utilise wrapping and entwining techniques with relentless hacking, upper-cutting, slashing, blocking, thrusting and circling. Its performance requires great strength and coordination between the practitioner’s body and the weapon.
Jianshu (Straight sword)
The straight sword is one of the most widely practiced short-bladed weapons in Chinese history. It is a double-edged straight-bladed sword and its use is characterised by graceful, elegant, brisk, agile and naturally flowing motions. It focuses on a harmonious balance between hard and soft techniques with variable and flexible changes in speed. Its primary techniques include thrusting, pointing, tilting, shearing and sweeping combined with intricate footwork, and flexible body work.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.