DOES WESTERNIZATION = MODERNIZATION?
Usually when we talk about traditional wushu’s relevance to
modern times, we concentrate on the question “how can it help us to improve
ourselves and our society?” Of course, those of us who love the art easily have
a lot to say about that. All we have to do is examine our own experiences.
Though details vary from person to person, basically our stories would hit on
the same points: It’s a great exercise for health and fitness. It builds
strength of character and promotes inner growth. It challenges us to awaken and
develop those parts of ourselves in which creative abilities and expanded
thought exist. The outcome to our acceptance of this challenge is the next
chapter in every person’s story.
As an ethnic art, it provides practitioners a living
experience of Eastern philosophy and wisdom. And let’s not forget the obvious:
it teaches advanced techniques which can be used for high-level combat.
Performed correctly, the movements have a power, flow, and depth that is
beautiful to watch and fulfilling to perform. One could accurately say that
traditional wushu massages the entire person: body (inside and out), mind, and
To an outsider, this must seem too good to be true. But, this
isn’t the whole story. Practitioners must have the guidance of a true master who
transmits the techniques of a pure lineage. For their own part, they must log in
many hours of hard work, be willing to face their own errors and limitations,
and carry on in the midst of discomfort and uncertainty. They must endure
physical, emotional, and mental pain, persevere through frustrations, and
struggle with long, boring hours of stance training, basics, and repetitive
practice. They must discard many old habits and learn to think, move, act, and
react in ways that go against their natural, customary way of doing things.