Ecology in the World of Wushu

from the records of the Traditional Wushu Association, through permission by Marie Anthony

Activities & Programs

When scientists discover that a species of animal is becoming extinct, what do they do? Well, roughly speaking, they sound the alarm, search for the causes of the problem, conduct studies and experiments to find ways to eliminate them, lobby for public and private support, lobby against destructive influences, protect and nurture the surviving animals, and plan for the future safety of the species through breeding programs, protected habitats, public education, and so on.

If we discover that a cultural treasure, an art form–a magnificent, sophisticated fighting art–is becoming extinct, what should we do? Well, roughly speaking, the Traditional Wushu Association was founded in 1990 by Sifu Adam Hsu to sound the alarm; search out the causes of this crisis; seek ways to deter the negative forces; lobby for support and understanding by establishing solid relations with the Chinese wushu community; send pointed criticisms accompanied by suggestions; support traditional wushu masters, practitioners, schools; disseminate information about wushu events to practitioners around the world; educate individuals throughout the world about traditional Chinese martial arts; and create programs that will promote the true art through modernized (not compromised) training methods.

Following are some of the activities and accomplishments of our association.

  • 1990 Research Delegation to China
    Led by Sifu Adam Hsu, its activities included: 1) Attending the Beijing Asian Games–the first time a wushu competition was held on such a high, international level. 2) Visiting the newly completed central government’s Wushu Institute. 3) Holding discussions with the highest ranked government officials about the future of wushu and the damage to the traditional art arising from modern wushu’s big success in the competition. 4) Attending the Cang County Second Annual Wushu Festival as honored guests–as a consequence of a meeting with organizers of the Festival, the third festival held in 1991 reverted back to traditional wushu.
  • Critique of Modern Wushu
    The association submitted an extremely pointed, strong, and thorough critique of modern wushu. The critique detailed its weaknesses and the injurious direction it was taking both for its own practitioners and for wushu in general. It pointed out that the superficial success of modern wushu was in effect totally wiping out a thousand years of wushu tradition–a true, meaningful loss for the entire world. This criticism was submitted to a large number of officials in China, starting from then President Deng Xiao Ping and on down to village level.
  • Cang County Wushu Record Book
    The association sent research, informational materials, and a great deal of encouragement to support the publication of the Cang County Wushu Record Book. This book, the first of its kind in China’s history, documents the traditional wushu of the region. Cang County is tiny. Yet it is the strongest traditional wushu region in all of China. Four photos of Sifu Hsu appear within the book, one of which shows him receiving an award of calligraphy which states “True Friend of Wushu County.”
  • Published Record of 1990 China Research Trip
    A record of the 1990 research trip to China was released as a series of articles in China’s “Shaolin and Taiji” magazine. The response was so positive that the articles were subsequently published in book form: Through Thousands of Miles of Resistance. This Chinese-language book has garnered a strong, positive reception in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the U.S. It is presently available through our association.
  • Support for Chinese Traditional Wushu Organizations
    The association offered the Yantai International Praying Mantis Boxing Association and the Long Kou Six Harmony Praying Mantis Research Association a great deal of encouragement and support in getting started. To celebrate this help, both organizations appointed Sifu Hsu as one of their honorary presidents.
  • 1991 Traditional Wushu Association Team
    The association sponsored a team in 1991 to compete, perform, and meet with traditional wushu schools and masters in China. Led by Sifu Hsu, the team participated in the First Annual Zheng Zhou International Shaolin Wushu Festival, First Jinan International Traditional Wushu Competition, Third Annual Cang County Wushu Festival, the inaugural meeting of the Yantai International Praying Mantis Boxing Association, and the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the Long Kou Six Harmony Praying Mantis Research Association.
  • Research in China
    During the 1991 tour, the association’s team made research trips Chen Village, birthplace of taiji quan, and Wang Ge Dang, birthplace of Thunder Style taiji quan. Due to our encouragement, the masters of Wang Ge Dang have stepped outside their village to begin teaching others their art. Their own Hu Lei Jia Thunder Style) association was established with the Wen County and Jiao Zhou Region governments.
  • China Tournament Co-organizer
    The association was co-organizer of the First Jinan International Traditional Wushu Competition held in September, 1991. Following this competition, a memo from Sifu Hsu and group letters from association team members containing criticisms and suggestions were sent to all officials connected with the event. Since this first event, the tournament continues to be held. The Fourth Jinan International Wushu Festival took place this August (1999).
  • Bridge to the Masters
    At a time when China had only begun to allow access to students from outside its borders, and steered them only to government trained and approved coaches, the association provided a service to connect hopeful wushu students with the real traditional Chinese masters for research and study. Because of language difficulties, lack of connections, and the Chinese government’s powerful “helping hand,” many people wishing to study with traditional masters ended up with teachers who taught modern wushu or a practice mixed with modern. They returned home expressing upset and frustration. The association acted as a bridge between these students and the real traditional masters.
  • Quarterly Journal
    From 1992 to 2000, the association published a quarterly newsletter. Its original purpose was to act as a community Bulletin Board for news and events. As time went on, its scope widened to include articles on many aspects of traditional wushu.
  • Support for Shaolin Monks U.S. Tour
    The association was one of the local hosts for the Shaolin Monks performance team, which toured the U.S. in the summer of 1992. Sifu Hsu and association members also performed with the monks in their San Francisco appearances.
  • Participant in Creation of Unified American Wushu Organization
    The association was represented at a major meeting of kung fu sifus from all over the U.S. who gathered to discuss the creation of an overall national American organization. Mr. Zhang Yao Ting, then head of the Central Chinese Government’s Wushu Bureau, addressed the group and urged them to press forward in their work.On March 27, 1993, Sifu Hsu represented the association once again at a follow-up meeting to discuss the bylaws of this new National Governing Body.On the weekend of August 21, an association team was present in Baltimore at the inauguration of the new “Wushu-Kung Fu Federation.”
  • Weapons Free-Sparring
    In 1993, Sifu Adam Hsu inaugurated a national program to establish weapons free-sparring as a kung fu competition event. He conducted over thirteen workshops under our sponsorship to prepare practitioners around the U.S. for competition weapons sparring. The association compiled the first Rules and Regulations for weapons free-sparring events and also created long and short safety weapons to use in practice and during the competitions.  Instructions to construct these weapons are offered to anyone interested in making them.Since its introduction in Sifu Tat-Mau Wong’s 1993 International Chinese Martial Arts Championships in San Francisco, many more U.S. tournaments have hosted the event. In the 1993 season alone, weapons free-sparring was represented in thirteen tournaments. The association sent teams to most of these competitions to set up and produce the event, train and provide judges and referees, and educate practitioners in the association-developed rules for weapons free-sparring.The association’s goal for subsequent years was to assist tournament promoters in taking over production of the event so that it could continue to be provided in future competitions.
  • Judge’s Certification
    Association-sponsored workshops were held to train, test, and certify judges and competition officials for weapons free-sparring. At the end of 1993, more than fifty individuals were certified. Special Judges Passbooks were issued to each person for a validated record of their service in competitions. An eventual goal is certification of judges for many different events and styles, and judges ranking from regional to professional.
  • Sponsor/Host
    The association invited and sponsored Mr. Gu You Yi, then head of the Henan Provincial Wushu Institute, to visit the U.S. His office’s jurisdiction covers Chen Village, the Shaolin Temple, and other important wushu centers. Through Sifu Hsu’s American connections, Mr. Gu met with key individuals to discuss future wushu business between China and the U.S. and also to specifically create a bridge between the U.S. and Henan province.
  • Traditional Chinese Masters Honored
    During the summer of 1993, the association honored approximately one hundred distinguished members of China’s wushu community. Each individual was awarded a special certificate in one of the following categories: “Most Honored Fellow,” for outstanding achievement of high levels in their art; “Honored Fellow” for tremendous contributions to the art and its students; and “Honorary Fellow” for those who distinguished themselves by promoting the art.
  • Ranking System
    Research and development of ranking systems for traditional wushu styles is underway. Belt levels for several northern styles have already been established, development and refinement of these systems continues, and more are on the way.
  • Establishment of New Tournament Divisions for Specific Styles
    In 1997 and 1998, Sifu Hsu represented the association in meetings with important sifus around the U.S. to establish new tournament divisions for specific kung fu styles. “Northern” and “Southern” divisions commonly held in tournaments throughout the world lump together a multitude of different styles. In addition to his participation in the development and implementation of this program, he also headed the team of sifus who produced the first baji quan and pigua zhang divisions in the 1998 International Wushu-Kungfu Festival and Championships held in Baltimore. In addition he brought a team of students from Taiwan and the U.S. to participate as competitors, judges, and ring aides.

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