Wushu Martial Arts and Physical Training
Acrobatics is an art form that displays the beauty of the human form while maximizing the body’s physical potential. The Wushu martial arts techniques used in acrobatics provide a concentrated demonstration of the performers flexibility, stamina, strength, and balance. The strength and quality of a troupe is directly reflected in its mastery of fundamental martial arts skills, which provide the basis for numerous acrobatic acts and stunts.
Martial arts are one of the wellsprings of the acrobatic art, and the first course of study for students of acrobatics. The four basic skills of contortions, kicks, tumbling, and handstands are essentialelementsof both acrobatics and elementary martial arts,a performance of acrobatic Wushu Martial Arts offers the performer the ultimate personal challenge, and the audience the ultimate in thrills.
Wushu martial arts have a long and distinguished history in China. Chinese acrobatics has incor-porated numerous Wushu techniques since its inception. Various acrobatic troupes have created distinctive Wushu Martial Arts acts based on their individual styles and strengths. Wushu Martial Arts by the Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe emphasizes innovations on the human pyramid, presenting the never-before seen spectacle of twenty-four people creating a three-storey high human wall. The Hebei Acrobatic Troupe’s version of Wushu Martial Arts preserves the tradition of “bigger is better,”usingdozens of performers to create representations of arching bridges and beautiful pagodas replete with the atmosphere of China’s Warring States Period(475-221 BC). Silver Daydream: Women’s Sedan Chair Toss by the Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe is based on traditional martial arts tossing and catching techniques. In this act, two performers lock hands in a crisscross pattern that resembles the shape of atraditional sedan chair, and proceed to toss one person after another high into the air to form a human tower. In a break with tradition, women performers, rather than men, serve as the human “building blocks”who form the base of the tower. The performers execute a dozen amazing and highly difficult techniques while constructing the four-person-tall tower, including single-handed handstands and mid-air flips and twists. This act was awarded consecutive gold medals at competitions in France, Switzerland, and China in 1996.