Wednesday, October 8, 2008

International Wushu Federation

The International Wushu Federation is an organization established on 3 October 1990 to promote . Since 1991, the IWUF has held eight World Wushu Championships, and has also helped the around 100 federations under the IWUF all around the world to hold their own championships . Currently, the IWUF has 106 member countries . The IWUF has also been actively trying to get wushu to be a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games.

List of international competitions organised by the IWUF:
* World Wushu Championships
* World Junior Wushu Championships
* World Traditional Wushu Championships
* Sanshou World Cup

Hao Zhihua

Hao Zhihua started her training at the age of nine at the Beijing Sports Academy under the instruction of Wu Bin, director of the Beijing Institute for Wushu Research and a pioneer of modern wushu in China. For fifteen years she competed in China as a member of the world-renowned Beijing Wushu Team, winning the title of National All-Around Champion three years in a row.

Hao Zhihua has the unique distinction of being the only person in China's history to have won six gold medals, in addition to one silver medal, in a single national competition. She is also one of only two wushu athletes who have ever received the "Ten Best Athletes in China" award. In total, she accumulated over 80 gold, silver, and bronze medals during her competitive career.

In addition to coach Wu Bin, Hao Zhihua trained under coach Li Junfeng and studied yang-style Tai Chi under master Yang Zhenduo. She is proficient in , and , , , , , , , , , and .

After leaving the Beijing Wushu Team she received a special invitation to attend the Beijing Teacher's College of Physical Education for an intensive degree program in physical education. After graduating she continued to teach at the college for two years before leaving China. She taught abroad before finally settling in Berkeley, California in 1990, where she currently provides instruction in wushu, Tai Chi, and bagua in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

Hao Zhihua runs a dojo in Berkeley, California.

Gun (staff)

The Gun refers to a long weapon used in Chinese martial arts. It is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the ''Qiang '', '''', and the , called in this group "The Grandfather of all Weapons".


There are various kinds of ''gun'' , and they include the following:

* Monkey Staff
* Biangan
* Mad Demon Staff
* Tianqi Staff
* Staff of Five Tigers and Goat Herds
* Nunchaku
* Taiji Staff of Thirteen
* Taiji Quarterstaff
* Taiji Staff
* Staff of Eight Trigrams and Seven Stars
* Staff of Eight Fairies
* Flail

The types of gun normally used nowadays for exercises and competitions are the bailangan and the nangun .

Traditionally, the gun is made out of a material called wax wood, rather than bamboo as many people might think. Wax wood is strong, yet flexible, making it ideal as a material for the gun. The gun is fashioned with one thick end as the base and a thinner end near the tip, and is cut to be about the same height as the user. Today, more modern versions may be purchased made with metal and rubber parts.

=Characteristics and Techniques

For a demonstration of the wax wood style gun characteristics and techniques, see

Other external links


Dragon yoga

Dragon Yoga is a synthesis of Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu and the Yogic Practices of India
Created in the Year of the Dragon by Jeremy Safron this diverse art offers a variety of practices that train strength, speed, focus, agility, flexibility and endurance.

Butterfly kick

A butterfly kick or horse kick is a kick featured within many disciplines of martial arts, but originally practiced in Chinese martial arts, in particular modern wushu. It is so named because as the legs reach the apex of their arc the arms are stretched out, leaving all limbs extended in a position similar to that of a butterfly's wings in-flight . Although the specific nature of the kick varies, it is generally composed of a twist of the body while both legs are lifted from the ground and swung around, while the torso remains as as possible. It is an advanced maneuver that requires the use of the whole body and the strike can occur with either leg. It is often seen as a kick used to "cut a swathe" through multiple opponents. There are many variations, and different movements may be captured under the same name or likewise similar movements given under a different name depending on the martial arts school or style. It can be executed either from standing or from a step up run.

Because of its aesthetic appeal the move is often used in movies .


There are many butterfly kick variants, as each student adopts slightly different maneuvers and style depending on his specific martial arts background. For example, a -derived butterfly kick would be somewhat more graceful compared to a tae kwon do-derived kick, which would have a more dynamic, energetic look.

;Butterfly Twist
:Also known simply as a twist, this is a move that is very popular within the tricking community due to its floating and twisting motion, as well as its ability to easily link into other moves. It is used in various martial arts, including Wushu and Capoeira. It's wushu name is ''xuàn zi zhuàn tǐ'' , and its Capoeira name is "''mariposa''" which literally means "butterfly". A butterfly twist can be described as a butterfly kick where a 360° spin is added once one is in the air. However, the takeoff and landing leg are the same, unlike a b-kick.
;HK Spin
:A derivative of the butterfly twist, which is essentially the same move, but the person delivering the move falls onto to ground horizontally. This is not usually performed as a trick, but is commonly used as a type of fall in fight choreography. HK spins are named so because they were popularized in Hong Kong martial arts films. 360° and 720° spins are the two most common, though 1080° spins have been done in the past but the fall was from an elevated surface to a lower surface.
:This trick is considered related to the butterfly twist due to the original takeoff used, however a less traditional variant which uses a J-Step/J-Turn has also been developed. The practitioner will take a few quick steps in an arc-shape and, when ready, throw a leg in the air. Along with thrusting the arms upward, this helps to lift the body off the ground. When sufficient height has been achieved, the individual will turn their body towards the "inside" of the kicking leg , executing approximately 540 degrees of rotation, to land on the non-kicking leg.
;Illusion Twist
:Begins almost identically to a normal twist, however the body begins to up right itself during mid-execution. This is because a is thrown with the last leg to take off. The kick is thrown in a very fast whipping motion that brings the body upright and facing forward. Another distinguishing feature of this kick is that both feet generally land at the same time.
;Hyper Twist
:This move adds an additional 90-180 degrees of rotation to the twist. The defining characteristic of this move is the fact that the landing is done with the other leg. Because of the setup of the feet created by this landing, it is possible to immediately go into another butterfly, twist, or other variant.
;Hyper Hook
:Essentially a Hyper Twist with a thrown after the landing leg has swung over into position for a landing.
;Twist to the splits
:Like most tricks and their variants, these too can be landed in the splits.

Multi-rotation variants

Some variants add additional rotation to the standard Butterfly twist. The extra twisting generally requires faster twisting of the body, more torque and extra height in order to land safely.
;720 Twist
:This is essentially a normal twist but rotates 720° instead of 360°. Variants of this include, 720 Hyper Twists, 720 Twists to the splits, and a hybrid twist to gyro —begins as a twist, rotates 360°, continues spinning in the air as it uprights to 360 gyro.
;Cheat 720 Twist
:Cheat 720 Twist Hyperhook
:Practically every variant of the twist begins with the lead leg of the body taking off last. With a 720 Cheat, the take off is very similar to a standard 540 kick except that it lays a bit more horizontal. After rotating about 180° in the air, the body then the assumes the normal mechanics of a standard twist, add twists a total of 540°.
;1080 Twist
:A triple butterfly twist. While it is rumored that some wushu practitioners and advanced trickers can perform this move, it has also never been caught on film.
;California Roll
:Is Cheat 720 twist with an added rotation, or a Cheat 1080 twist. The take off is very similar to a Cheat 720, but instead of twisting 540°, the practitioner twists 900°.


The spectacular appearance that is both graceful and powerful as from its martial arts origin has made the Butterfly kick versatile in a wide range of performing arts such as breakdancing, tricking, martial arts films, various video games , gymnastics and even on the ice as seen in Olympics figure skating. It has also appeared in the sport of professional wrestling by trained martial artists like Low Ki. It also appeared in '''' as one of Darth Maul's signature techniques, Ray Park being a wushu champion. Though not as well known as some of the other tricking moves such as aerials and flips, the Butterfly kick holds a unique position in the acrobatic world for being a traditional defensive move incorporated into the modern popular arts and international sports.

Beijing Wushu Team

The Beijing Wushu Team is a world renowned team from Beijing, China. The team has produced many famous international stars such as Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Huang Qiuyan, Zhang Hongmei and . The Beijing team members also work with movie producers to make films. Aside from Jet Li, many other athletes have also been featured in movies Every year, the Beijing Team performs demonstrations of wushu for the citizens of Beijing as well as visiting dignitaries. They have performed for former US President Jimmy Carter as well as many other foreign heads of state when they visited Beijing.


The Beijing Wushu Team was founded in November 1974 by Wu Bin and Li Junfeng as a successor to the Beijing Wushu School. The Beijing Wushu School was created in order to prepare the city of Beijing for the first . Beijing Sports University wushu department graduate Liu Peiwei was appointed team leader and coach. After the first All China Games, the team found a home at the Beihai Sports Center, with Liu Peiwei serving as the first director.

In 1963, Beijing Sports University graduate Wu Bin came to the school as a coach, bringing new vitality into the sports school and establishing the foundation for the Beijing Team's later success.

In the nearly three decades since its founding, and through the hard work of the athletes and coaches, the team has achieved remarkable levels of success. From 1974 to 1997, they won the National team championship 11 times. From 1975 to 1985, the Beijing Wushu Team achieved a feat that no team has ever accomplished, before or since – winning the championship for ten consecutive years. The Beijing Wushu Team received 40 individual gold medals during this 10 year reign.

Many of the earlier generations of Beijing Wushu Team athletes have gone on to teach wushu abroad. Many have emigrated to the USA, Australia, Japan and other parts of Asia.

Beijing Wushu Team Performance Tours

The team has showcased its skills through the Beijing Wushu Team Tour many times over the years. The worldwide tours showcase a mix of veteran athletes and rising stars demonstrating their very best routines. As part of a world tour in 1974, Jet Li was reputed to have performed a two-man fight for US President Richard Nixon on the White House lawn. The Beijing team has toured the USA several times in the 1980s and 1990s and into the current century. In 1995 they performed in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, CA and Calgary, Canada. In 1999 they were invited to perform at Arnold Schwarzenegger's Annual Arnold Classic. The team performed and served as judges for the 1998 and 1999 Collegiate Wushu Championships as well. Most recently the 2005 tour saw the team performing in Washington DC, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Aerial cartwheel

An aerial cartwheel is an acrobatic move in which a is executed without touching hands to the floor. During execution of a standard cartwheel, the performer's body is supported by the hands while transitioning through the inverted orientation, whereas an aerial cartwheel performer is airborne while inverted. To compensate for lack of support from the hands, leg momentum is employed to keep the performer airborne until the leading foot touches down. Aerial cartwheels can be executed while running or from a stationary, standing position. Aerial cartwheels are also known by various other names, including ''side aerials'', ''no-hands cartwheels'', or simply ''aerials''.

Aerial cartwheels are performed in gymnastics, acro dance, tricking, and in martial arts such as and Capoeira. In a martial arts context the aerial cartwheel is visually interesting but of little value to combatants. Consequently, it is commonly seen in martial arts exhibitions, performances and movies, but seldom used in sparring matches and fights.


*Tucked Aerial
:The motions are virtually identical to a regular aerial except that the legs are tucked in instead of extended. Because the legs are tucked in it is easier for a practitioner to gain more speed with this variant. The move is sometimes confused with a side flip, but are actually very different when their mechanics are analyzed. For added difficulty, some tricksters execute kick while their body is inverted.
*Axe to Aerial
:This is where a leg is brought up, normally shoulder/head height, and then swung down . Instead of placing the foot back on the ground it continues to swing and becomes the initial leg of an aerial. A variant of this where the practitioner lands in the splits was popularized by Anthony Atkins and was even called by some the Atkins Aerial.
:This move can be described as a step back aerial, and is also called a Reverse Aerial. The practitioner will take a step back with one foot and then begin to swing the other leg backwards. Once the swinging leg pushes off, it will continue to swing and become the initial leg of an aerial. The step back motion is to give the body enough momentum to continue moving backwards while executing the aerial. The practitioner should ideally land further back from the initial point of takeoff. It was popularized by Chris Devera from the West Coast Action Team.
:AKA the "Free Round-Off" This take off is similar to a standard aerial but the legs are brought together in mid-air. The landing is on both feet, like a roundoff without the hands touching the floor. This skill can also be started from a punch set-up like a front flip. Note: This is not a front half. A barani rotates as you flip like a roundoff. The front half is a front flip where the twist happens at the end of the flip, after the point of inversion.
*Aerial Sideswipe
:This was originally called a sideswipe, in fact some older tricksters that began in the 90's still refer to it as this. It is also called an Aerial Switch. Essentially, after beginning the aerial and the body is inverted, the leg that took off last will swing ahead of the other leg and perform the landing as well.
*Aerial to the splits
:Most variants of an aerial can be landed in the splits. This is requires extra rotation along the axis of rotation. If not, it's possible to hyperextend or seriously injure the landing leg.

Aerial Twist

An aerial that incorporates an 180° rotation during the peak of the aerial's height. What adds difficulty to this move is that the same leg is used to take off and land. Gymnasts normally perform the twisting with the legs together to obtain a faster spin and more aesthetically pleasing execution. Tricksters normally perform the twisting with the legs apart; mainly for style. Many martial arts tricksters first learning this move have a tendency to begin more like a than an aerial. In the tricking community, this move can be done from either a running start, a small hop skip, standing, or from another trick in a combo.
:This variant of the Aerial Twist is executed the same way as an aerial twist, but normally requires extra height and faster/more rotation. The defining difference is that the other leg is thrown out and is used to land on rather than the leg used to take off. Its name is derived from the fact it is a twisting move that lands on the other leg like a and that the ending of it looks almost identical to a
*Aerial 720 Twist
:This variant is an aerial twist that rotates an additional 360°. Though in actuality, the practitioner only rotates a total of 540°. It is referred to as an aerial 720 twist because a normal twist that adds an additional 360° is referred to as a . An Aerial 720 Twist is considered more difficult because of the added rotation, extra speed and height that are required to successfully land this variant.

Training Guides

*'''' by Raymond Wu, ISBN 978-1-4303-1820-0. Excellent step-by-step book that includes how to do both the aerial cartwheel and the more difficult aerial twist. Free downloadable companion training guide.