Kung Fu or Wushu?
By the name Kung Fu, the Chinese Martial Arts became known in the
western world. But the characters Kung Fu normally mean: skill or
physical skill. A better name is Wushu, which can be translated
in fighting art or martial art.
Nowadays the Kung Fu is more often used for the traditional
styles, as Wushu is used for the modern, acrobatic styles from
the Republic of China. The Chinese people are using both names,
but Wushu is the official name.
The traditional styles are emphasizing the fact that Kung Fu is
nothing more than a skill. Of course, a skill that needs serious
and devoted training to make it perfect. But still it is a skill
everybody can learn.
The first character WU
symbolizes 'martial' or 'war like'.
The second character SHU means 'art'.
The true meaning of (Chinese) martial arts is more than only
self-defense. And especially in the traditional training this is
important. In the training students are taught respect
for the teacher, his advises and for other styles of martial arts.
The modern Wushu styles tend to have a more sportslike character
- oriented towards performance and technical tricks.
Until recently the acrobatic jumps were more accentuated than the
fighting skills. However, the last few years the trend is heading
towards the traditional fighting skills.