Points

Wushu is the state-sponsored martial art of the People's Republic of China (PRC). In the 1950s, the PRC officially adopted the term "wushu" in place of "kung fu" to refer to all armed and unarmed fighting arts. These notes describe a specific style - also called "Wushu" - which the central sports committee created from Northern ("long") kung fu, Southern kung fu, T'ai Chi, and weapons training.

The Communist government saw traditional martial arts as reactionary and subversive - they couldn't forget the traditional links between anti-government secret societies and kung fu. The authorities also felt that the martial arts were worthless for modern combat but useful for cultural expression and encouraging fitness. Thus, when the central sports commission created its style, it replaced many combat-useful techniques with attractive moves that had no combat value. "Internal" techniques were eliminated as well, on the basis that they were superstitious and backward-looking.

After the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, internal techniques started to reappear. At the end of the 1990s, full-contact matches known as san shou became increasingly common, giving rise to more combat-useful applications. Although Wushu training still produces mainly athletes and movie stars, some of its practitioners have been genuine fighters.

Wushu favors deep stances, long punches, and high kicks. It borrows some short strikes and tight stances from Southern styles, but they're less common. The art is both acrobatic and attractive, and stresses showy techniques and athleticism over practical applications. Weapons training typically involves blunt weapons and "thunder blades" designed to flash, bend, and make loud noises during demonstrations. Such training is extremely common in Wushu schools, but not required. Most Wushu-trained martial artists should learn at least one of the optional weapon skills listed for the style.

Wushu fighters typically use high kicks and multiple strikes. Single-strike techniques are less common than flurries of blows; thus, Rapid Strike and All-Out Attack (Double) are common. Wushu is also aggressive, thanks to its emphasis on flashy moves. Stylists routinely throw Jump Kicks and other Committed and All-Out Attacks. They use spinning strikes of all kinds, both when armed and when unarmed.

By design, Wushu eschews martial-arts myth. Nevertheless, thanks to exhibitions of showy techniques -and movies featuring Wushu-trained actors doing wuxia and wire stunts - many old legends remain and the style has even acquired a number of new ones. Cinematic Wushu practitioners should be able to perform most of the moves seen in kung fu movies, even those claiming to be about Wing Chun, the Shaolin Temple, T'ai Chi, or other arts. Many of the stars of these movies are Wushu stylists, not Shaolin monks or Wing Chun students! Thus, Wushu is ideal for high-powered wuxia campaigns.

Wushu is commonly available in the PRC. Schools are less common elsewhere, but a student should be able to find one if he looks hard enough. Some schools that claim to teach another form of kung fu - often Shaolin - teach strongly Wushu-derived styles.

Skills: Acrobatics; Jumping; Karate; Karate Art; Savoir-Faire (Dojo).

Techniques: Acrobatic Stand; Axe Kick; Back Kick; Evade; Exotic Hand Strike; Feint (Karate); Jump Kick; Kicking; Spinning Kick; Spinning Punch; Sweep (Karate).

Cinematic Skills: Breaking Blow; Flying Leap; Mental Strength; Power Blow; Pressure Points; Pressure Secrets.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Attack (Karate); Dual-Weapon Defense (Karate); Fighting While Seated (Karate); Flying Jump Kick; Lethal Kick; Lethal Strike; Pole-Vault Kick; Pressure-Point Strike; Roll with Blow; Springing Attack (Karate); Timed Defense.

Perks: Acrobatic Feints; Technique Adaptation (Spinning Attack); Technique Mastery (Any Spinning Attack); Unusual Training ("Split Kick": Dual-Weapon Attack, Only to kick two adjacent foes).

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