2008, Volume 4, Issue 1

Modern wushu: When Chinese martial arts meet Western sports

Chunlei Lu1

1Faculty of Education, Brock University, Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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Despite the fact that most Eastern martial arts originated in China and draw heavily upon Chinese philosophy, Chinese wushu (martial arts), as a comprehensive system of martial arts, has not been fully recognized or adequately explored within the international martial arts landscape. This paper defines what Chinese wushu is, introduces the history and evolution of Chinese martial arts, and discusses the dilemma of the modernization of Chinese martial arts in the context of East-West cultural conflict, negotiation, and compromise. In conclusion, it would seem that westernization or modernization has had both positive and negative influences on traditional Chinese wushu, and it is critical to the integrity of wushu that the traditional roots and true essences of these martial arts – health, self-development, and moral cultivation – are advocated in the process of modernizing them.

Key words: chinese martial arts, east-west, modernization, wushu