By Zach Arnold | February 5, 2008
Please read this post and, if interested in commenting, answer the questions seriously.
This survey is conducted for Wushu masters, a series of TV reality show featuring various styles of Chinese martial arts, produced by Sports Channel of China Central TV (CCTV 5, renamed to CCTV Olympics recently). It aims to survey the impression on Chinese martial arts of people living outside of China.
Chinese martial arts are divided into two categories, traditional and modern, based on the time it has developed. The one that has been created from two thousands years ago to the mid of last century is called traditional Chinese martial arts which are believed to have well more than 400 styles, such as Tai Chi, Bagua and Wing Chun. Modern Chinese martial arts refer to the committee-regulated version including two competitions, Taolu and Sanshou. Also know as forms, Taolu is a set of routine of techniques that is a sort of rhythmic gymnastics in fast-forward fashion, performed alone or sometimes with a partner. Sanshou is more like a kickboxing in which throwing is allowed. Despite of the fact that it is extremely controversial which form is the true representative of Chinese martial arts, Chinese government has been pushing Taolu and Sanshou hard to be included in Olympics. Constrained by already inflated Olympics, Taolu and Sanshou will appear in Beijing Olympics as an exhibition sport instead of an official sport.
Unlike Sanshou, Traditional Chinese martial arts currently have no official contest such as national championship or national tournament. Rule setting is commonly believed to be the reason which prevents it from happening. Firstly, literally there is no way to apply a unified rule to hundreds of distinct styles. Secondly, traditional martial artists insist that traditional martial arts weren’t created to cater to rules. In ancient China, fighters who competed in a public ring were asked to sign an agreement in which they disclaim the right to sue the winner in case he died.
Beginning from March 2007, Sports Channel of China Central TV (CCTV) started to televise a series of martial arts show, Wushu masters, in Chinese Wulin Dahui, literally meaning Grand Meeting of Martial Arts Circle. Wushu masters is labeled as “No gloves, no weigh classes, and no gimmick”. The basic idea is to bring the best 16 representative from each style in the country to a tournament to decide who is the champion of the style. These 16 fighters are supposed to use techniques which shed light on peculiarity of their own styles. The programming is season-based with each featuring one style. Each season consists of five 55-minute episodes. So far, 10 seasons have been shown on Sports Channel of China Central Television, i.e. Wu Zu, Meihuazhuang, Ba Ji, Xing Yi, Bagua, Cai Li Fo, Wudang Taiyi, Hong Quan, Xinyi Liuhe and Mantis (see video links in Appendix). The show is on every Tuesday at 10:20 pm and repeated on Friday at 11:00 pm. The average rating of Wushu masters is the second highest among all programming on CCTV 5. CCTV 5 plans to do 10 seasons in the following each year.
As a TV show, rules are applied at no surprise. A prominent difference with other contests is that punch to head is forbidden due to bare hands.
No weight classes
3 rounds with 1 and half minutes each,
A one-minute rest period will occur between each round
Attack to head, neck and groin
Butting to the head
Joints and chokes.
Round-shaped open ring with diameter of 7 meters and at height of 80 centimeter.
- On a scale where 1=poor and 7=excellent, how much do you know about Chinese martial arts?
- On a scale where 1=different and 7=very similar, how do you compare them with Japanese and Korean martial arts?
- Which do you think is the best representative of Chinese martial arts: Traditional Chinese martial arts, i.e. those shown in Wushu masters, Taolu, i.e. forms, Sanshou?
- Have you practiced any Chinese martial arts, modern or traditional? (Yes or no)
- On a scale where 1=strongly disagree and 7=strongly agree, is Wushu masters what you picture Chinese martial arts in your mind?
- So far, Wushu masters is competition within same style. On a scale where 1=no interest at all and 7=very interested, are you interested in seeing different styles competing?
- Who do you think is the true hero of Chinese martial arts: Bruce Lee, Jet Lee, Sanshou champion, Wushu masters champion?
Appendix: Video links of Wushu Masters
Season 1, Wu Zu: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/01/index.shtml
Season 2, Meihuazhuang: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/02/index.shtml
Season 3, Ba Ji: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/03/index.shtml
Season 4, Xing Yi: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/04/index.shtml
Season 5, Taiyi Wuxing: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/05/index.shtml
Season 6, Ba Gua: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/06/index.shtml
Season 7, Xinyi Liuhe: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/07/index.shtml
Season 8, Hongquan: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/08/index.shtml
Season 9, Cailifo: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/15/10/index.shtml
Wushu Masters homepage: http://sports.cctv.com/program/C18141/0000/23/index.shtml