Foreigners learning Wu Shu in China
Key Points for a foreigner in learning Wu Shu
Chinese wushu, which attracts a large following throughout the world with its incomparable charm, has been accepted by an increasing number of people as a health-keeping sport. What should foreigners do in order to learn and master wushu? And what are the points that merit their special attention? This article will deal with these and other questions.
Generally speaking, foreigners learn wushu for the following purposes:
1) To keep fit and prolong life;
2) To learn some combat skills for self-defence;
3) To take part in competitions;
4) To study the traditional Chinese culture.
Though their purposes may differ, they have all to be diligent in practice in order to achieve the desired result, for there is no shortcut to success.
When a foreigner starts learning wushu, he usually asks, "Can a foreigner master Chinese wushu?" The answer is positive.
Since wushu consists of body and limb movements, all human beings, irrespective of their race or nationality, can achieve their goal so long as they proceed in an orderly and systematic way according to the principles of teaching and training characteristic of wushu.
Chinese wushu experts require that all trainees should have confidence, determination, perseverance, patience and earnestness. With these conditions, trainees can be sure of success.
Following are some of the problems that often trouble both Chinese and foreigners learning wushu:
1. Overanxious for Quick Results
To learn wushu from experienced trainers, foreigners often invite Chinese masters to their countries to give lessons on a short-term basis, or they may come to China specially to learn this art for a few months. In both cases, the learners who are pressed for time tend to be overanxious for quick results. Instead of starting from and mastering the basic skills, they just follow the movements of their coaches and learn by imitation. In this way superficial resemblance is achieved to a certain degree, but the specific requirements and intrinsic value of the movements have been ignored. Once an incorrect form or some bad habit has been acquired, it would be difficult for them to get rid of it. So, in order to have a good command of wushu, one needs to accumulate experience and skill from several such short-term courses. And one should always remember there is no quick way of learning and mastering wushu. Basic skills, accuracy of movements, diligence and patience in practice are prerequisites for anyone wishing to become a wushu master.
2. Ignoring Basic Skills
A beginner should start from basic skills and proceed step and step from the easy to the difficult and from the simple to the complicated. He also has to keep in mind that he must gradually improve his qualities for certain special wushu movements in order to perform those movements well. Some beginners like to learn certain boxing routines or routines with weapons right from the start, but they have to give up halfway for lack of the required physical qualities.
3. Neglecting Practice
Beginners should pay special attention to daily practice. Not a few of them, however, tend to neglect practice after they have learned some special techniques or routines; their only excuse is they are "too busy." Thus they fail to improve their acquired skills and in the end all their past efforts come to naught.
4. No Clear Purpose in Choosing Wushu Events
There are two big categories in Chinese wushu: one is for competition and the other health-keeping. The standard routines for competition, which are stipulated by the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission, are pretty difficult to master and require a large amount of strength and stamina. Thus they are suitable for young people with good physical qualities. The health-keeping routines, on the other hand, are easy to learn and can be popularized among people of all ages. It is advisable that beginners refrain from choosing competitive routines lest they might do something beyond their ability. So, in order to benefit from practising wushu, it is necessary first of all for every trainee to choose events most suitable to his or her physical conditions.
5. Being Content with Superficial Understanding
Some people, with a gift for learning things quickly and a good physique, are often inclined to learn a little of many different routines, and think that wushu is easy to master. They do not care to understand the true essence of wushu but content themselves with what little they have already known. They even have the cheek to call themselves masters and teach others, thereby leading many people astray. This should be discouraged by all means.
6. Stiff and Uncoordinated Movements
Wushu movements require flexibility and high coordination. For a beginner, the movements of body and limbs are often stiff and not well-coordinated, for he cannot apply his force properly and he has difficulty in breathing freely and holding himself in a steady position in performance. To overcome these defects, all he has to do is to keep on practising, preferably under the guidance of experienced instructors.
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