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Wushu at Stanford

Stanford Wushu is a student club that began practicing in 1997. With Taiji as a sister club, Stanford Wushu has a large membership that grows with each year.

--- Our Instructors ---

Phillip Wong
was a champion member of the US National Wushu Team, and one of the few Americans to compete and place in wushu competitions in China. He was nominated as Inside Kung Fu's competitor of the year in 1987 and has been featured in ESPN television specials. He also provided motion acting for the highly popular video games Tekken 2 & 3 and Mace: The Dark Age.

Wong Laoshi's events include changquan, broadsword, straighsword, and staff, and he is most known for his drunken fist and drunken sword. His present students include half of the members of the US Wushu Team.

Zhang Hong Mei
was a champion member of the Beijing Wushu Team and the first generation of Chinese wushu athletes to tour the United States in 1975. Her past teammates include Li Lian Jie (Jet Li). Before coming to the United States, she spent 3 years teaching taiji in Japan by invitation.

Zhang Laoshi's events include changquan, staff, straightsword, taiji, and she is most know for skill in double straight sword and bagua zhang.

--- The Disciplines at Stanford ---


In contemporary wushu, there are a number of empty hand and weapons forms that are commonly learned and used in competition. At Stanford Wushu, our practice includes training in the following styles and weapons:

--Hand Forms--

  • Changquan / Long Fist
    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 / Southern Fist
    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.

--Short Weapons--

  • Dao / Broadsword
    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.

  • Jian / Straightsword
    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.

--Long Weapons--

  • Gun / Staff
    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.

  • Qiang / Spear
    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.

Some students in our class like to train competitively, though others practice taiji for its own sake. Members of Stanford Taiji have participated in such tournaments as the Wushu Collegiates, UC Berkeley CMAT, and US Team Trials.