Types of Chinese Martial Arts

September 12, 2011


Types of Chinese Martial Arts

Types of Chinese Martial Arts

 Types of Chinese Martial Arts

There are hundreds of different types of Chinese Martial Arts, evolved from different eras in the history of Chinese martial arts, with different ideologies and for different purposes.  Here, we will briefly look into some of the more popular types of Chinese Martial Arts, known to us and what their names mean.

Types of Chinese Martial Arts – Internal Styles

The most well-known and popular internal style type of Chinese Martial Arts in Asia is the Ultimate Supreme Fist (Tai Ji Quan), often practiced by older men and women for leisure and for its health improving benefits as a suitable low impact sport. This type of Chinese Martial Arts consists of light contact which includes pushing and pulling using the weight of one’s body with no hard strikes.

While the image of Tai Ji Quan in popular culture is dominated by exceedingly slow movements, many styles of Tai Ji Quan actually have faster paced forms, even suitable for combat fighting when applied with internal power. In China, Tai Ji Qiuan is categorized under the Wudang grouping of types of Chinese Martial Arts.

In recent years, Tai Ji Quan for competitions has evolved into a form of competitive sport characterized by highly difficult balancing and leg raising moves. High level jumps are now also included in competition routines, instantly popularizing the form among the younger generations.

Types of Chinese Martial Arts – External Styles

There are more practitioners and types of Chinese Martial Arts in external styles simply because it is more action-packed, glorified by the likes of Jet Li and Donnie Yen’s action movies.  The ideologies of external styles are also comparatively easier to grasp and understand than the internal styles.

The Southern Fists (Nan Quan) is probably one of the more well-known types of Chinese Martial Arts. It is a type of Southern Kung Fu and is practiced in a lot of Wushu schools. Nan Quan is characterized by very powerful and intense forms with strong punches and tense postures. There are various styles within this type of Chinese Martial Art itself and practicing Nan Quan builds great physical benefits and strength, working out and toughening every part of one’s body. As Nan Quan builds muscular physic, it is popular among young male practitioners of Wushu and only occasionally practiced by females.

Wing Chun, another popular form of Southern Kung Fu, is notably popularized by Donnie Yen who played the role of the Wing Chun Grandmaster in a 2008 movie, Ip Man. It was a huge box office success, leading to a tremendous increase in people seeking to learn Wing Chun.

This type of Chinese Martial Arts is best characterized by executing of techniques in a relaxed but focused manner, allowing the practitioner to save energy and feel for loopholes in the opponent’s structure and attacks. Wing Chun techniques are generally ‘closed’ techniques with one’s limbs usually drawn to the body’s central area for protection. Most Wing Chun punches are straight vertical punches for maximum directness, impact and strength, being able to protect one’s body centre area at the same time.

With so many different types of Chinese Martial Arts, it is common to find another Wushu practitioner doing a totally different style from yours. So what is your style and its characteristics?


Related posts:

  1. History of Chinese Martial Arts
  2. 3 ways to differentiate Southern Wushu Style from Northern Wushu Style
  3. Singapore Wushu and its influence by Media
  4. More about the Wushu Salute
  5. Sports Science in Singapore Wushu
, , , , ,

About Qi

Qi began learning Wushu at a young age of 11 and has been practising for more than 12 years now. Her passion for Wushu is fueled by the beauty and strength of the Chinese Martial Arts form.

View all posts by Qi

6 Responses to “Types of Chinese Martial Arts”

  1. Grybel Says:

    Needed to create you a little bit of remark in order to give thanks once again over the incredible tactics you’ve shown on this site. It is simply incredibly open-handed of you to grant unreservedly exactly what a number of people would’ve distributed for an electronic book to end up making some money for themselves, even more so seeing that you might well have done it if you ever decided. These techniques additionally acted to become a easy way to understand that the rest have the same dreams much like mine to learn whole lot more when considering this matter. I’m sure there are many more pleasurable periods in the future for folks who discover your website.


  2. Agel Says:

    Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it


  3. Jenni Says:

    I just thought you should know that you could do a lot better with your titles. Try to find out what keywords people use to find your site and incorporate them in your titles. For instance what do you think you can chance in Types of Chinese Martial Arts | Singapore Wushu? Best regards, Jenni


  4. Hawf Says:

    Greetings, I’d like to give you thanks for an informative website about a subject I have had an interest in for some time now.I have been lurking and examining the posts avidly so just wanted to express my gratitude for providing me with some very good reading material. I look forward to more, and taking a more active part in the discussions here, whilst learning too!!


  5. Crowston Says:



  6. Kaneta Says:

    Maybe you have considered supplying far more video tutorials for your blogs keeping the tourists far more amused? This is a fantastic write-up appreciation for talking about this specific helpful facts.. Let me go to your blog on a regular basis for a lot of newest post.


Leave a Reply