The figures are a blur of blinding speed. Their bodies jerk from left to right, flowing with the rhythm of the fight. Watching the wushu masters live in action is captivating. You only have to look at the expressions on the faces of the onlookers to see how easy it is to get hooked on wushu. What is wushu?
Think of Jet Li in Lethal Weapon 4 or Shaolin Temple. If you’ve seen those movies, then you’ve already seen a wushu martial arts master in action.
Before his Hollywood career took off, Jet Li was one of China’s top wushu athletes. Li won his first national championship (beating adults twice his age) when he was 11 and won 15 gold medals in various wushu championships in China throughout his competitive career
Although watching Chinese fighting movies is entertaining, seeing the world’s best wushu warriors in real life is an experience you’ll never forget. Hearing the thwack of sleeves cut through the air, the steady breathing of the champions and the roar of excitement from the crowd is an uplifting experience you’ll always remember.
Hearing the thwack of sleeves cut through the air, the steady breathing of the champions and the roar of excitement from the crowd is an uplifting experience you’ll always remember.
Wushu Masters Challenge in Macao
The good news is you can experience this at the Macao Wushu Masters Challenge.
The second Macao Wushu Masters Challenge is an impressive display of martial arts that will take place from August 10 to 13. Wushu masters from Macao, China and around the world will compete in a series of exciting events.
The four-day challenge has a programme of activities that will appeal to both serious wushu enthusiasts as well as those who know little about the sport.
During the event, visitors to Macao will be treated to parades with lion and dragon dances through the streets of Macao.
There will be competitive events of a number of wushu styles, including impressive displays of martial arts and combat challenges.
Last year, 15,000 visitors attended the events. And this year looks like it’s going to be bigger and better.
What is Wushu?
Most people associate the term “kung fu” with martial arts. But “kung fu” actually refers to the time and energy spent to master a skill, no matter what the discipline.
Wushu is the collective term for the martial art practices that originated in China.
Over 5000 years of development, wushu has evolved to incorporate many different styles and systems that employ distinct techniques, tactics, principles and methods.
While the central focus of wushu might appear to be combat, it’s actually a more holistic practice and top wushu practitioners are masters of mind, body and spirit. Jet Li once said “the essence of martial arts is not power or speed but inner harmony”
As a competitive sport, wushu is practised by thousands of people around the world. The two main categories are Taolu (routines) and Sanda (free fighting).
Wushu taolu has a huge range of sub disciplines including hand and leg combat, jumps, footwork and wrestling.
Taolu has individual and group routines, as well as partner duels. Popular types of wushu taolu styles are Changquan, Nanquan and Taijiquan.
Changquan (long fist) is a fast and dynamic style of wushu taolu that originated from the regions north of the Yangtze River. It’s an impressive display of high-speed martial arts, aerial and acrobatic techniques.
Other wushu styles are Nanquan (southern fist) and Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), which is known around the world for its slow and graceful motions. Tai Chi is known for its health building and longevity benefits.
Traditional wushu fighting can also involve the use of bladed weapons, such as Jianshu (straight sword), Qiangshu (Spear), Daoshu (broadsword), which uses a single-edged curved blade for powerful movements like hacking, upper-cutting, slashing, blocking, thrusting and circling.
Sanda is a modern unarmed combat sport that evolved from traditional wushu techniques. It involves punching, kicking, throwing and wrestling.
Competition rounds take place on an elevated platform called a “leitai” and athletes wear head-guards, chest protectors, gloves, a mouthguard and jockstrap. There are three two-minute rounds, with a minute’s rest in between.
Sanda athletes can use any wushu fighting style, including punching, kicking and throwing techniques to strike the head, body and legs.
Visit Macao during the Macao’s Wushu Masters Challenge (10 to 13 August 2017). The aim of the event is to promote traditional wushu. It’s a gathering of the world’s greatest wushu heroes and a large-scale sporting event in Macao with displays of a variety of wushu fighting styles. Here is the programme.
Macao has an exciting array of festivals throughout the year. Bookmark our overview of upcoming festivals in Macao to plan your trip around. If you’re looking for somewhere to holiday with the family, here is our three-day family itinerary with lots of suggestions of things to do in Macao.