FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

China, Wushu

Jul 1, 2008
2008 / July 2008


Let’s begin with two opposing statements, a yin and a yang, so to speak: Wushu will be included in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; Wushu will not be included in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Which is true? For all intents and purposes, they both are.

But I’m getting ahead of my story. First things first: What the heck is wushu?

It is the national sport of China. More accurately, it is China’s national sports — wushu, it seems, is the umbrella term for a disparate range of activities. Some are blatantly combative, akin to kickboxing or wrestling, while others are more gymnastic, celebrating individual grace rather than brute force.

Traditional wushu has been practiced throughout China for thousands of years, with each region, and many individual teachers, formulating their own styles. In 1949 the Communist Party created wushu in a concerted effort to formalize and nationalize Chinese martial arts. Committees were formed, rules were drawn up, and two principle disciplines were defined.

The first is san shou, a form of one-on-one fighting. Wearing protective boxing-style gloves, chest protectors and headgear, the combatant attempts to topple his opponent out of the marked arena using a combination of punches, kicks and throws. It is aggressive and frenetic, with bouts usually consisting of three two-minute rounds.

The second discipline, taolu, sees competitors perform a choreographed routine in front of five judges who score each performance on a scale of one to 10. Some routines are executed bare-handed, while others involve the use of swords or spears. This is gymnastics with attitude, a sublime fusion of kung-fu and ballet.

Taolu, in all its guises, is the predominant form of wushu, and over the decades it has become established in 86 countries, including the United States, where the presiding body is the United States of America Wushu- Kungfu Federation (http://www.usawkf.org). The global popularity of wushu is enhanced by blockbuster movies featuring the former wushu champion, Li Lian-jie, better known as Jet Li. Among Li’s most famous films is the action-packed Shaolin Temple trilogy, set in the real-life Buddhist monastery of Shaolin (http://www.shaolin.org.cn), where for centuries monks have practiced wushu as part of their quest for enlightenment.

Wushu is also featured in hit movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers, further bolstering the sport’s exotic mystique. With its marriage of grace and power, physical exertion and mental serenity, wushu continues to attract converts, especially in Western countries where it offers an antidote to the stresses of modern life. In fact, it’s estimated that 80 percent of wushu practitioners are non-Asian.

But back to the Olympics conundrum: Encouraged by its increasingly global appeal, China has persistently lobbied for wushu to be accorded official Olympic status. When the Olympic Committee named Beijing as the site of the 2008 Olympic Games, China hoped wushu would finally be included as an Olympic sport or, at the very least, as a demonstration sport.

Unmoved by pleas for its inclusion, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, stuck to a commitment to limit the number of Olympic sports to 28.

So began a process of political agility worthy of the wushu arena.

Call it a happy coincidence or a skillful compromise, in August at the precise time Beijing is hosting the Olympic Games, the city will also be staging the 2008 Olympic Wushu Tournament. Though it’s not an official part of the Games, the tournament does have the blessing of the IOC. Yin and yang.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Nov 25, 2022

Bottega il Buco and Max Rivera Papic Make Waves in Ibiza

One of Ibiza’s hottest restaurant destinations since its opening five years ago, Bottega il Buco, draws legions of fans with the addition of new head chef Max Rivera Papic, whose kitchen credits include skills honed under the tutelage of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London.

Discover Egypt in Total Luxury with World’s Most Eminent Archaeologists

THE MOST EXCLUSIVE TOURS OF EGYPT EVER OFFERED with the world’s most eminent archaeologists

Daily
Nov 25, 2022

Ski Season and Winter Getaways at Colorado Resorts

Ski season is around the corner. Now is the perfect time to plan your winter ski getaway. These Colorado resorts offer deals designed for skiers.

Daily
Nov 25, 2022

Give a Gift from Around the World this Holiday Season

This holiday season, give your loved ones a gift from around the world to create memories that last a lifetime.

Alaskan Wild Wonders by Celebrity Cruises

Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.

Daily
Nov 24, 2022

Angama To Open Deluxe Lodge Near Kilimanjaro

Lodging and hospitality company Angama announced the November 2023 opening of Angama Amboseli, an intimate, 10-suite lodge set in Kenya’s private, 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, against the iconic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, located just across the border in Tanzania.

eFlyer News
Nov 23, 2022

Hilton to Bring First Waldorf Astoria Property to Costa Rica

Costa Rica prepares to welcome its first Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts property, slated to open in 2025. Waldorf Astoria Guanacaste will boast 190 guestrooms, as well as 25 Waldorf Astoria-branded residences, all offering sweeping views overlooking the ocean. A presidential suite will also grace the property.

Alaskan Wild Wonders by Celebrity Cruises

Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.

eFlyer News
Nov 23, 2022

Cayman Airways Connects West Coast Travelers with Grand Cayman

West Coast travelers can now enjoy easier, more efficient access to the Cayman Islands thanks to a new airlift option via Cayman Airways Ltd. As of Nov. 6, Cayman Airways operates nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport to Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman at an introductory fare of $399.