Wushu Is Again Bidding for Inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games

Wushu will bid again for inclusion in the 2020 as well as in the 2024 Olympics according to the International Wushu Federation (IWUF).

“We have to undertake another bidding process,” IWUF executive vice president Anthony Goh said.

Wushu, commonly referred to as kung-fu, the collective term for the martial art practices which originated and developed in China, was initially already among the eight sports competing for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, the others being baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, and surfing. However, it missed out on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) shortlist of three, with wrestling edging out squash and baseball/softball in September for a place at the 2020 as well as at the 2024 Olympics.

Wushu could still feature at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, after the IOC overhauled a number of rules in a vote last December that would allow sports an easier avenue into future Olympics. Game organizers can now officially request the inclusion of one or more sports, with the IOC deciding which makes the cut. The decision on which sports will make the final cut would come before the Rio de Janeiro Games next year according to IOC Vice President John Coates.

Chinese kung-fu made its Olympic debut during the four-day Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium. It was approved by the IOC, but not as a formal part of the Summer Olympic Games. About 128 athletes from 43 countries and regions participated in the wushu tournament.

Although wushu originated in China, there are now 145 countries that are members of the IWUF. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 100,000 people practicing wushu. According to Goh, “We need to develop regions where Wushu is less developed. We have to feature more often in multi-international games, like the African Games and the Pan American Games.”

In fact, through the efforts of the IWUF, wushu has recently been added to the official schedule of the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games. These multinational, multi-sport games, held every four years, host athletes from 57 Islamic countries spanning the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. The 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from May 12-22, and will feature 22 sports including wushu.

In competitive ‘Taolu’ events, wushu is performed using either compulsory or individual routines. Compulsory routines are those routines that have been already created for the athlete, resulting in each athlete performing basically the same set. Individual routines are routines that an athlete creates with the aid of his/her coach, while following certain rules for difficulty. Some wushu competitions also feature dual and group events. The dual event, which is choreographed beforehand, is an event in which there is some form of sparring with or without weapons or even using bare hands against weapons. The group event requires a group of people to perform together and smooth synchronization of actions are crucial. Usually, the group event also allows instrumental music to accompany the choreography during the performance.

The other major discipline of contemporary Chinese wushu is ‘Sanda,’ a modern fighting dicipline influenced by traditional Chinese Boxing, of which takedowns and throws along with striking using arms and legs are allowed. Chinese traditional wrestling like ‘Shuai Jiao and other Chinese grappling techniques such as Chin Na are also allowed in this combat aspect of wushu sport. In wushu tournaments, Sanda or fighting competitions are often held alongside Taolu or form competitions.

As with other mixed martial arts tournaments, for safety reasons, some offensive or defensive moves like elbow strikes, chokes, and joint locks, are not allowed during full-contact matches. Competitors can win by knockout or points which are earned by landing strikes to the body or head, throwing an opponent, or when competition is held on a raised platform, by pushing them off the platform. Fighters are only allowed to clinch for a few seconds. If the clinch is not broken by the fighters, and if neither succeeds in throwing his opponent within the time limit, the referee will break the clinch. In the U.S., competitions are held either in boxing rings or on the raised ‘lei tai’ platform. Amateur fighters are typically required to wear protective gear.

At the U.S. Wushu Center, students are taught following a programmed series of forms, using different colored kung fu belts to signify what forms students have learned. The belts don’t mean one student is superior to another in technique, only that a student has had instruction in and should be able to perform a specific set of forms. The belt colors used are White, Yellow, Green, Blue, Blue/White, Blue/Yellow, Red, Red/White, Red/Yellow, Brown, Brown/White, Brown/Yellow, and Black.

According to the U.S. Wushu Center, the following belt colors relate to the forms a student is studying and the approximate rate of progress of his study:

  • White:  Changquan (Northern Fist) – approx. 3 to 6 months
  • Yellow, Green:  Short Weapons – approx. 12 months
  • Blue, Blue/White, Blue/Yellow:  Long Weapons – approx. 12 to 18 months
  • Red, Red/White, Red/Yellow: Flexible & Double Weapons – approx. 12 to 18 months
  • Brown, Brown/White, Brown/Yellow: Nanquan (Southern Fist) & Compulsories for international training – 12 to 18 months
  • Black: Pursue competition level training – 4 to 5 years

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All You Need to Know About Capoiera

Capoeira may not ring a bell as say, judo or taekwondo, but it is slowly gaining a lot of attention from health buffs and martial arts enthusiasts. One of the things that make capoeira appealing is its very nature. It combines elements of music, dance, and acrobatics. As a martial art, it is revered for the use of quick and sophisticated moves that mainly rely on speed, power, and leverage.


Experts believe that capoeira goes all the way back to the 17th century, when Portuguese colonists started to send African slaves to Brazil. While there is no written record proving that the martial art was started by the Africans, oral traditions give strong evidences that capoeira has African roots.

The African slaves developed their own martial art for self-defense, but had to hide it from authorities. As such, they concealed their traditions into a form of dance. This can be seen at the way Capoiera techniques are performed.

In Capoeira, one performer plays the role of a slave while the other is the master or Caporal. During a performance, the slave defends himself against the master. It is for this reason that capoeira is also described as a warrior’s dance in Brazil.

Music is integral as it sets the tempo and style of game to be played within the roda. Music is typically formed by singing and instruments such as berimbau, a single string instrument.

By the 18th century, those who practiced Capoeira were arrested as the martial art was considered a criminal act. In fact, an act was signed by then Brazilian president Dodora da Fonseca in 1890 that prohibited the practice.

However, the masses continued to practice it. Eventually, Manuel dos Reis Machado brought the Academic Capoeira to the masses. By the turn of the 19th century, the ban on the martial art was lifted. The first Capoeira school was founded in 1932 by Reis Mechado, who is widely known as the father of modern Capoeira.


As a martial art, Capoeira is fast and versatile. After all, it is historically focused in enabling its practitioners who are at a technical disadvantage to fight off a phalanx of opponents. Its fighting style emphasizes on the use of the lower back to kick, sweep and take down adversaries. It also features complex positions and body positions that are meant to strike, dodge and move seamlessly.

In Capoeira, defense is built on the idea of avoiding an attack through evasive moves called esquivas. Evasive moves largely depend on the direction of an attack as well as the intention of the defender. It can be done standing, or with one hand leaning on the floor. A block may be made, but only when an esquiva is totally non-viable.

This defensive strategy allows for quick and unpredictable counters, and lets practitioners to focus on more than one opponent. It also enables the practitioner to face an armed adversary even without the use of weapons.

In Capoiera, practitioners are taught to execute a series of rolls and acrobatics that enable them to quickly overcome a takedown. This combination of attacks, defensive techniques and mobility gives the martial art its choreography-like style.

Capoiera is also played as a game. During a game, the focus is not on destroying or knocking down the adversary but avoiding punches or elbow strikes. Capoeira practitioners who play it as a game are more focused on their skills particularly on the defensive end. But this is not to say that Capoiera as a game can’t be dangerous as well, as there are lots of instances when a game between two highly-skilled practitioners can become aggressive.


So why should you take up Capoiera instead of other more popular martial arts? Here are some of the benefits you’ll gain when you practice this Brazilian martial art.

  • Stress reduction—engaging in capoiera can help you relax and manage stress.
  • Strength improvement—capoiera practitioners always move around on their hands in handstands, poses, and rolls. As such, you’ll benefit from a marked improvement on strength, particularly on the upper body. There are also lots of movements that would require you to engage the abs and improve your core strength as a consequence.
  • Improve Flexibility—capoeira practitioners can give yoga enthusiasts a run for their money when it comes to flexibility.
  • Cardio and Stamina Improvement— With the constant repetition of movements and techniques, capoiera can provide an intense cardio workout. In fact many athletes are surprised that they easily gas out when performing a Capoiera workout because the martial art uses a lot of muscle groups in unique ways.
  • Self defense—like other martial arts, Capoeira teaches you how to defend yourself against aggressors.

With its very unique nature, it is not surprising why Capoiera is getting more and more followers with each passing day.

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