A few thoughts on Traditional Wushu

As I see it, at the moment you enter a competition carpet, you perform competitive routine, not traditional style. Traditional style is not about a performance. In traditional styles, you don´t always have to jump higher, keep lower stance, go faster, stronger or look good in poses…  What differenciates you from the others is your awareness of the practical usage, ability to apply the principles in sparring, fights or daily life, to follow the moral code (this aspect is usually the biggest problem among students of traditional styles) etc. As far as you are awarded points for your routine (often according to a very subjective judgement of a few individuals) and that decides who is better, it is a pure sport. Therefore, saying that you didn´t win any medal because there were athletes in your category performing a modern style which “looks better“, is just an excuse. They were able to adapt better to the competition environment, have done their homework and were awarded accordingly. And often, the athletes competing with „modern“ styles come from profi or semi-profi environment and the quality of movement is just on a way different level.

Might be tough but let me tell you something. You take part in a competition by which you express an agreement with the rules and respect to the judges. You didn´t win? It´s simple – there were some people who were better, prepared better, knew better… Unless the rules and approach to competitions change, this is how it is. You have three options:

  • Continue competing with the routine you normally practice, aware that it very likely won´t bring home any medals and it´s just fine. No excuses, no complaints. Come on, you are a disciple of 博大精深traditional style, you should be far above these things! 🙂
  • Keep practicing your stuff and for the needs of the competition, you change the way you practice the routine in order to have better chances among the other athletes. Every sport is changing, there are new trends coming and going and you have to be able to adapt if you want to win. Very simple. In fact, this ability to adapt your style/art to various environments, rules or needs – that´s also what shows your level. If you are able to win among the others with the exactly same routine you practice in your park or wherever you practice, that means that you are really good.
  • Or you just don´t compete.

It´s as if somebody would go to a Chinese wrestling fight and said that s/he lost because fought a judoka. Wrong. It was a Chinese wrestling fight, you both fought according to the same set of rules and you should be in advantage as you are used to the rules. You lost because you are not good enough. You just have to go home and train harder, prepare better for next time. … … because, it can´t mean that your style is not good enough, right? 😉

By the way, when will traditional Wushu or kungfu or whatever you wish to call it stop making up excuses and really start working hard?

  • Traditional Wushu is not as “practical” anymore because it is too complex and difficult for people to learn. Yeah, sure. Try to train modern Wushu for at least a few months in profi team settings – that´s damn hard. Training many hours a day, highly demanding techniques that can end up in serious injuries, being under constant pressure (will my coach chose me for the championship? Will I get the scholarship? Will I win or will they kick me out of the team? How to stay on the top longer than one season?…)
  • Modern people are too lazy/busy and want to obtain results without much effort. And yet, they still have time and will to train and compete in BJJ, boxing or other sports. Don´t be mistaken, they do research as well (videos, articles, theory). They are getting medals and ranks while studying or working or both. They even invest their own money and free time to take part in various training camps.
  • Traditional Wushu is being bullied by other martial sports. I work in a school now and I see that even many primary school pupils are able to deal with these problems better. Many people keep complaining that it was Chinese goverment who almost destroyed the traditional styles. And yet, Chinese government had to issue a few statements and regulations in order to “protect” it. I don´t say that the claims aren´t right. What I say is that they should learn how to solve their own problems and do it as soon as possible. If Chinese Wushu was really useless, it would cease to exist by now. You can see one of the best MMA fighters Tony Ferguson (you are right, he is not Chinese) using wing chun techniques in his fights and it´s working!

Seriously. Stop complaining, discussing bullshit online, go home and start training. You didn´t win because you weren´t the best. It´s not Wushu that is not good enough. It is not Wushu that is failing. We are failing Wushu. Yeah, I do too. I´ve been so angry and disappointed by what I´ve seen in the Wushu community around the world, by the time I considered wasted. And I took it all on Wushu. People are to blame, including me. Not they style/art we do. 

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