Top 25 Popular Wushu Styles

wushu kung fu

wushu kung fu

Bagua Zhang
One of the most popular internal Wushu styles, Bagua is famous for its entwining footwork and snake like body twisting. The Bagua practitioner will require great agility to execute the turns and intricate steps this style contains. A graceful yet powerful style, Bagua is well known for its benefits to one’s health.

Cha Quan
One of the styles combined into the Chang Quan system, Cha Quan is characterised by rhythmic movements and coordinated hand and foot techniques. An efficient style, Cha Quan is extremely graceful and exacting, emphasising fast strikes, strong stances and cleanly defined attacks.

Chang Quan
This is the back bone of modern Wushu, being derived from a dozen or so different schools of Martial Arts. Chang Quan, also known as Long Fist, is recognised for its characteristically long range attacks, with fast movements, high jumps and powerful strikes. It also combines this hardness with balances and graceful postures.

Being suited more to faster and flexible individuals, Chang Quan is more often performed by younger athletes.

Chuo Jiao
This style originated from Northern China and pays heavy emphasis on kicks, with the hands being used more for protection rather than attack. The most famous of these kicks is probably the Mandarin Duck kick. Many Chuo Jiao practitioners also practice Fanzi Quan, combining its fast fist strikes with the many kicks of Chuo Jiao.

Dao Shu
Another short weapon like the Jian, the Dao is known for its powerful and fast attacks. The Dao, often known as Sabre or Broadsword, is extremely vigorous and has a lot of chopping and hacking techniques in its repertoire. Suited to the faster, stronger individual, Dao also requires good hand to eye coordination.

Ditang Quan
A physically demanding style, Ditang Quan contains a number of acrobatic actions taken from other styles like Zui Quan for example. The practitioner tumbles, falls, flips and in the midst of this shoots out martial attacks. Due to the dangerous nature and gymnastic requirements of this style it is predominantly practiced by younger athletes.

Dui Lian
Dui Lian is when two or more athletes perform a simulated sparring match. This can be empty handed, armed, or a combination of both. Examples would be Qiang versus Dao, San Jie Gun versus Dao, or Jian versus Jian.

Fanzi Quan
Fanzi Quan is well known for its lightning fast fist strikes, delivered in rapid succession with barely a moments rest in between. Fanzi Quan requires speed, agility and extremely good dexterity to be performed effectively.

Gun Shu
The earliest of all weapons, the Gun is often called the “Father of all weapons”. Due to its practicality this weapon has always been very popular, being able to combine moves from the Qiang and Dao in its own forms. Gun is played fast, characterised by the speed with which its attacks are dealt.

The Gun is one of the four main weapons practiced today for modern Wushu, the other three being Jian, Qiang and Dao.

Jian Shu
Possibly the most widely practiced Wushu weapon, the Chinese Jian or Straight Sword is often referred to as the “Gentleman of all weapons”. Its moves are fast but graceful, hard but flexible, with attention being paid to both motion and stillness. There are various forms of Jian, Zui Jian (Drunken Sword) being one of the most popular.

The Jian, one of the Chinese short weapons, can take only a few months to learn, but requires a lifetime to master.

Ji Ben Gong
This term is used to group together all the basic Wushu moves, stances and training drills. It includes within it all the elements of Ti Tui and Ya Tui, plus moves such as Xuan Feng Jiao, Xuan Ze and Ce Kong Fan. Basic drills like Gong Bu Pu Bu are also referred to in this general term.

Jiu Jie Bian
Another flexible weapon like the San Jie Gun, the Jiu Jie Bian or 9 sectioned whip features extremely fast swinging and winding actions, requiring that the athlete has exceptional hand coordination skills. Also combining some of the tumbling elements of other styles like Ditang for example, Jiu Jie Bian requires courage to master.

Nan Dao
A Nan Dao is broader and thicker than the Dao, requiring more strength to wield. This weapons emphasises deep stabs and cuts, using the power derived from the low Nan Quan stances. This weapon is best used by solid individuals.

Nan Gun
The Southern Staff, Nan Gun, is thicker than its Northern cousin, the Gun, and its application is also very different. Nan Gun is characterised by its strong stances and forceful strikes, being based upon the fundamental elements of Nan Quan. Along with Nan Quan, this style is best suited to powerful individuals.

Nan Quan
Derived from several schools of Martial Art in Southern China, Nan Quan or more literally Southern Fist, is a fast and powerful style, including low stances and rigid limbs. This form of Wushu is best suited to fast, strong individuals, as it requires great strength and fitness to perform proficiently.

Qiang Shu
The Qiang, or Spear, has long been one of the most favoured war time weapons, known as the ‘King of all weapons”. Like the Jian, Qiang requires both fast and graceful movements and agile footwork. Qiang play contains several intricate actions, requiring great skill to master, making Qiang one of the more difficult weapons to master.

The Qiang is known as a long weapon, as generally it is longer than the height of the practitioner.

San Jie Gun
Like its cousin the Gun, this flexible weapon is characterised by fast sweeps and crushing blows, but due to its multiple sections has additional defensive actions that it can perform. The San Jie Gun, or three sectioned staff, demands a lot of skill to master, requiring great dexterity to coordinate its movements.

Shuang Bian
Shuang Bian is the skill of using a pair of Jiu Jie Bian at the same time, requiring that the practitioner must have excellent skill and awareness of this flexible weapon. When combined with the tumbles and rolls inherent in this style, this dangerous pair of weapons require a high degree of handedness.

Shuang Dao
Shuang Dao is the skill of using a pair of Dao together, emphasising fast strikes and stabbing actions. This style requires a lot of dexterity and coordination in order to perform the fast and powerful actions required with both hands simultaneously.

Shuang Jian
Shuang Jian is the skill of using a pair of Jian at the same time, making it one of the most graceful and dexterous forms of Wushu. Various forms of Shuang Jian exist, the most well known probably being Long Tassel, where the tassels attached to the end of the Jians are of equal length to the Jians themselves.

taiji Quan
An internal Wushu style, Taiji Quan is well known for its health benefits throughout the world. There are various styles of Taiji Quan, for example Yang, Wu, Sun and Chen, all of which have their own characteristics. More recently, simplified versions of these styles have been created in China to promote the practice of Taiji Quan, for example the 24 and 42 step forms.

Tong Bei Quan
Tong Bei Quan, also know as “Back-through” boxing, is thus named due to the fact that the power is generated in the back and passed through the shoulders and arms to deliver the blow. A fast and hard hitting style, Tong Bei Quan requires the practitioner to have good coordination and a well conditioned physique.

Ti Tui
This term refers to the essential kicking or leg raising elements of Wushu Ji Ben Gong. There are four basic types, these being Zheng Ti Tui (front stretch kick), Ce Ti Tui (side stretch kick), Wai Bai Tui (outer kick), Li Her Tui (inner kick). Kicks are also performed with the hand slapping the foot. These kicks are termed Dan Pai Jiao, Wai Bai Tui Ji Xiang and Li Her Tui Ji Xiang.

Ya Tui
The general term for leg stretching, this is an essential part of any Wushu athlete’s Ji Ben Gong. There are numerous methodologies employed for stretching, all of which can be referred by this generic term.

Zui Quan
Zui Quan or Drunken style is a difficult style to master, requiring the athlete to seemingly appear drunk, but at the same time be able to unleash a series of fast, powerful attacks. Zui Quan requires a great deal of coordination, strength and flexibility.

This article provides brief introductions to the Wushu styles.

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