The following contents is shared from West Asia Wushu Federation.
Learning wushu is not easy, especially when there is no teacher giving the necessary instructions. Nevertheless, with the help of an adequate guidebook and by dint of persistent effort, one can attain a relatively high level in wushu techniques. To achieve this, the following points must be kept in mind.
First of all, one should pay attention to practising and mastering the basic movements. As a Chinese saying goes: The deeper the root is, the more luxuriant the foliage will be. With a good command of the basic skills, one can improve quickly and reach a high level in techniques.
The basic skills can help the wushu trainee increase his strength and speed of movement, as well as his stamina, flexibility and dexterity. They include exercises of the shoulders, waist and legs, the forms and movements of the hands, feet and body peculiar to wushu, as well as the various stances. They also include exercises in leaping and balancing, and in rolling and tumbling. Solid basic techniques can be acquired only through persistent training over a long period, in the process of which concentration of mind, strict adherence to the requirements, and unflagging effort are of vital importance.
Second, one should get a full understanding of the correct style and requirements of the movements so as to achieve the desired result. A beginner should not proceed too quickly and apply force blindly, but should acquire the correct style, proceed in a systematic way and do his best to meet the requirements. This should be done from the outset, for incorrect styles and bad habit, once acquired, would be difficult to rectify. When practising the “forward horizontal punch,” (Fig 1,2,3) for instance, be sure that the head and neck are held erect, the body is upright, the shoulders are sunk and the punches are delivered with the turn of the torso. To master the movement, first do it slowly and in a relaxed way for a period of time until you get the hang of it. Having laid a good foundation, you may increase the speed and force of the punches.
Let’s take “punch in a bow stance” for another example. This movement requires the bending of the front leg so that the thigh is horizontal and the knee and the toes form a perpendicular line, while the rear leg is straightened, with the toes turned inward. This movement may be practised in separate parts. After mastering it, one may go on practising other movements such as “driving the rear foot against the floor,” “bringing the thighs together,” “turning the torso,” “extending the shoulders and directing force to the fist.” In a word, these requirements are essential to the practice and mastery of wushu routines. In competitions, if ten points are offered for each routine, six will be awarded to performers who do the movements according to the requirements.
Third, one should know which movement is for attack and which is for defence. Attack and defence are the basic contents of wushu routines, without which all routines would be meaningless. In the movement “swing left hand and punch with right fist in bow stance,” (Fig 4, 5) for instance, one should know that the “left hand swing” is for defence while the “right punch” is for attack. In warding off an opponent’s blow from the left side, one may grab his arm with the left hand and pull him inward and at the same time punch his chest or abdomen with the right fist. In swordplay, the hand movement “rotating wrist leftward and rightward” appears to be ornamental and useless. Actually it is not. When an opponent attacks the lower and middle part of the body with a weapon, one can by means of this movement push off the weapon leftward or rightward with his sword and follow it up by thrusting his sword forward and upward at his opponent.
Having grasped the offensive or defensive character of each movement, the trainee will in practice be able to execute every movement with a purpose in mind. For trainees who do not know the meaning of each movement, though they may perform the movements in a quick and beautiful way, their performance would amount to mere form without substance. These trainees will of course not be able to grasp the essence of wushu.
Last but not least, one should grasp the styles and characteristics of the routines. Different wushu schools have different styles. In learning the different kinds of wushu routines with or without weapons, it is imperative that the trainees grasp the accurate styles of each and not mix them up. In practising changquan (long-range boxing), for example, the movements are extended, fast and forceful, flexible and rhythmic, interspersed with leaping, rolling and tumbling. The style of taijiquan, on the other hand, is totally different. In performing taijiquan, the movements are slow, gentle, continuous and in circles, like the drifting clouds and flowing streams. Exercises with weapons vary in style, as the weapons differ in shape and size. Broadswordplay is characterized by vigorous and rapid movements, while performance with the spear or cudgel features sudden thrusts and flails.
In short, to have a good command of the styles of different routines, one should practise untiringly. Only with perseverance can he reach his goal.