INTRODUCTION: A Chinese art form dating back more than 3,000 years was demonstrated before a large audience in London on Tuesday (10 March).
GV Man performing exercise with 3-section cudgel
GV Two men carrying spears feint with unarmed woman performer
SV Audience watching
GV Man with broad-sword performs fighting-dance with unarmed opponent
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A Chinese art form dating back more than 3,000 years was demonstrated before a large audience in London on Tuesday (10 March). Wushu, whose origins are lost in antiquity, was developed as a form of self-defence and attack. Over the centuries it almost died out of Chinese culture. Since the People's Republic of China was founded it has been revived, but as an art form, practised by all ages from young children to the elderly. The gymnastic feats are performed with scimitars, spears, daggers and cudgels.
SYNOPSIS: One of the most expressive forms of the many arts is the three-section cudgel play. The breathtaking speed of the cudgel in an expert's hands must have been a lethal weapon in conflict.
In spear play, the two attackers must co-ordinate their movements in a series of thrusts, rotations and parries. This exercise necessitates good footwork and body swings by both the assailants and the defendant.
The audience in the New London Theatre saw 18 styles of martial arts over a three-day period by a team of 24. The single broad sword play displayed bravery, agility and harmony.
The unarmed defender also depends on quick footwork techniques.
The young Chinese prefer the fast movement and action, while the older citizens prefer the slower traditional movements, like Taichichuan.