While the term wu-shu
is most frequently defined as the Chinese martial arts
, it also refers to a system representative of over 360 different styles of kung-fu
. External wu-shu combines both northern and southern styles of kung-fu. The forms of the northern styles of kung-fu are most easily identified by the grace and almost acrobatic nature in which they are performed, incorporating ground sweeps
, while power, intensity and low ground work are the signature concepts and movements of the southern styles. While individuals are usually suited to one particular style (either northern or southern), students are required to learn all forms.
The second and one of the most recognizable aspects of the wu-shu program at the School of Ten Thousand Dragons is the sparring
. While students learn to "spar
" or fight, they must also learn how the techniques learned in the forms are applied. In addition, self-defense
is emphasized. The approach to self-defense at the School of Ten Thousand Dragons is unique. Sifu Chang
provides guidance in both his teachings of the forms and applications derived from the sparring so that the students develop the movements and the follow-through necessary to defend themselves according to their own individual strengths and abilities.
While wu-shu is usually identified by its emptyhand forms, there are also four weapons that are included in the traditional wu-shu teachings; broad sword, staff, spear and straight sword. As with the empty-hand forms, power and grace must be shown at the appropriate times in order to successfully execute the forms created to demonstrate the utility of each weapon.