Wushu can be divided into various styles:
  • Internal e.g. taichi, bagua, etc - focuses on building internal strength through proper breathing and mental focus. Proper breathing techniques are used to lead the body into movements.
  • External e.g. long fist, Shaolin fist, praying mantis, etc - breathing is generated by external movements, and is often quick and powerful. External styles can further be divided into Northern and Southern styles:


Northern Styles e.g. long fist, xing yi quan

Northern styles of wushu orignate from, as you guessed, Northern China separated by the Yangtze River. It emphasises fast and powerful kicks using the full length of the body's limbs. High jumps, acrobatic movements, fluidity and rapid movements also distinguish Northern styles.

Southern Styles e.g. nan quan, wing chun
Southern styles can be distinguished by its strong arm and hand techniques and also focus on immovable stances.
Traditional Styles e.g. Druken boxing, 3-section cudgel
These styles are derived from traditional forms and can include a wide variety. This includes:
  • Traditional fist - drunken fist, Cha fist, Hua fist, xing yi fist, etc
  • Animal forms - monkey, praying mantis, eagle, snake, etc
  • Weapons - long tassel sword, 9-section whip, 3-section cudgel, rope dart, hookswords, etc
Weapons training is incorporated into all styles of wushu for further conditioning and coordination of the body. A student must be proficient in all basics, forms and stances before even picking up a weapon. There are hundreds of traditional weapons, however typical weapons include: staff, spear, straightsword, and broadsword.