Contemporary Changquan, or Long Fist, has its source in Northern Chinese boxing styles and martial arts once taught in the Shaolin temples. It is characterized by fast, powerful movements that emphasize extension, sweeping circular strikes and kicks, and aerial techniques. The contemporary revisions not only preserve the essence of this style, but emphasize flexibility, strength, and aesthetic grace in the martial artist performing it. Changquan basics also provide the foundation for our learning and practices. The first style of Wushu which all of our students learn, Changquan is very exciting to watch and remains a favorite of many Wushu practitioners even as they learn the use of weapons and more traditional forms.
Nanquan is the Southern style counterpart to Changquan. While both are external martial arts, Nanquan's emphasis leans more toward strong stances and powerful punching strikes. Easily differentiated from Changquan even to the casual observer, Nanquan has its own distinct "flavor" and along with Changquan comprises Wushu's two most popular external empty-hand events. Some of our students begin learning Nanquan after obtaining intermediate-level Changquan instruction.
The Chinese broadsword, or Dao, is a weapon which historically saw use most often as the hand weapon of military foot soldiers. A single-edged blade with a distinctive curve, it was wielded in an aggressive, energetic fashion and modern broadsword forms reflect this tradition. While all wushu weapons work demands a good base in empty-hand techniques, the use of the broadsword heavily emphasizes speed and strength.
In contrast to the broadsword, the straightsword, or jian, is a weapon often associated with scholars or nobility. The straightsword is a slender, double-edged blade and its forms display quickness, precision, and grace of a sort different from but no less impressive than that of the broadsword.
Wushu's simplest weapon is also one of its most impressive. The staff is a long weapon and draws the greater bulk of its power from the sheer speed of its whirling strikes. Staff use relies heavily on properly mastered empty-hand basics for its stancework and jumping techniques.
The use of the staff is often compared with the use of the broadsword. Similarly, the use of the spear is often compared with the use of the straightsword. As would be expected, spear techniques rely on threading and thrusting maneuvers and swift footwork which take advantage of the spear's speed and long reach. One of the most challenging weapons that Wushu training has to offer, it quickly becomes clear that an accomplished spear practitioner knows much more than a few simple pokes and steps.
In our class we practice predominately Yang-style taiji (also spelled as "taichi"), excepting a scattering of non-Yang movements that are found in the 42 combined-style forms. The following forms are taught consecutively: Yang 24, Combined 42, Yang 32 sword, Combined 42 sword. The number associated with each form is the number of movements it contains. New students may spend 6 months to a year on each form before learning the next.