Sunday, 14 April 2013

T7 Wushu

Wushu is a form of contemporary Chinese martial arts cum sports that blends elements of performance and martial application.  Wushu training emphasizes quickness, explosive power, natural and relaxed movement.  The wushu practitioner must combine flexibility with strength, speed with flawless technique, fierce intent with effortless execution.

Wushu has a long history in China.  In ancient pictographs on bones and tortoise shells, there are records about wushu, boxing and fighting with weapons.  Wushu has plenty of contents which consists of boxing, apparatus and two men sparring.

In 1975, China issued a set of stamps [T7 - Wushu] to cultivate and popularize the long sporting history of wushu.  This set of six stamps use Wushu as subject matters:

(6-1) 8 fen Broadsword exercise - position for an encounter  刀术
(6-2) 8 fen Sword exercise - lunge  剑术
(6-3) 8 fen Boxing - graceful foot and hand work  拳术
(6-4) 8 fen Spear exercise - leap  枪术
(6-5) 8 fen Cudgel exercise - holding cudgel in position  棍术
(6-6) 43 fen Three-segment cudgel vs. two spears  三节棍对双枪

(6-1)【Broadsword exercise】
The broadsword, or saber, is known as the “Marshal of all Weapons,” as it was the standard armament of foot soldiers in ancient China.   The broadsword is wielded in one hand, with the free hand forming a palm.  A silk flag is sometimes attached to the pommel of the sword.  Because the back edge of the broadsword is dull, the blade can be supported against the free hand or body in various movements.  The major broadsword techniques include hacking, coiling around the head, uppercutting, parrying, and stabbing.  Broadsword-play is characterized by swift, explosive movements and abandoned ferocity.  An apt wushu saying states that “Broadsword-play resembles an enraged tiger.”

(6-2)【Sword exercise】
The straight sword, or simply sword, is known as the “Gentleman of all Weapons.”   The sword has a thin, straight blade with two sharp edges and a centerline ridge that supports the blade.   A woven tassel is sometimes attached to the pommel of the sword for counterbalance.  Due to its light construction, the straight sword cannot be used to deliver raw power; sword players must instead rely on technique and finesse.  The major sword techniques include circular parrying, hacking, tilting, pointing, and stabbing.  A wushu saying states that “Sword-play resembles a flying phoenix,” meaning that the practitioner must be quick but controlled, choosing the time and place of every attack, like a phoenix which darts in to strike at openings and slips gracefully away when threatened.

In wushu, boxing also means barehanded martial art.  The common ones are Changquan (長拳), Nanquan (南拳) and Taijiquan (太極拳), etc.  Changquan refers to long-range extended wushu styles and is the most widely-seen of the wushu forms.  Changquan includes speed, power, accuracy and flexibility.  Changquan is difficult to perform, requiring great flexibility and athleticism.  Nanquan refers to wushu styles originating in southern China and are known for vigorous, athletic movements with very stable, low stances and intricate hand movements.  Nanquan typically requires less flexibility and has fewer acrobatics than Changquan, but it requires greater leg stability and power generation through leg and hip coordination.  Taijiquan is a wushu style famous for slow, relaxed movements, often seen as an exercise method for the elderly.

(6-4)【Spear exercise】
The spear is known as “the King of all Weapons,” because its length far outranges the other weapons while its sharp blade gives it killing power.  The spear head is a diamond shaped metal blade affixed to the narrow end of the shaft; a tassel of horsehair is usually attached just below the blade.  Because the shaft is flexible, the spear player can attack from odd angles by bending the spear in a whipping motion.  In addition, the spear can be smashed against the ground like a staff.  Major spear techniques include parrying inward, parrying outward, stabbing, downward striking, tilting, enveloping and figure-8 circling.   To complement the flexibility of the spear, spear-play makes use of supple body work and fluid motions.  Wushu saying goes that “Spear-play resembles an undulating dragon”.

(6-5)【Cudgel exercise】
In Chinese martial arts, the cudgel or staff is known as the “Father of all Weapons”.  Named so because many of the techniques employed in other weapons styles are derived from cudgel techniques.  The cudgel is constructed with a slight taper, the butt end being thicker than the point and stands as tall as the practitioner.  The wood of the cudgel is semi-flexible, which allows the cudgel to be smashed forcefully against the ground without breaking.  The flexibility of the wood also allows power to be clearly displayed in vibration at the cudgel’s tip.  Major cudgel techniques include chopping, uppercutting, figure-8 circling, pointing and enveloping.  Cudgel techniques also include sweeping or whirling, allowing the practitioner to cover a large area with a single strike.

(6-6)【Three-segment cudgel vs two spears】
Three-segment cudgel is a weapon that consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope.  In addition to individual events, some wushu competitions also feature dual and group events.  This last stamp features a group event, also known as "jiti" (集体).  Here, a person with a three-segment cudgel is pitted against 2 persons with spears.  This event requires a group of people to perform together and smooth synchronization of actions are crucial.

T7 – Wushu  武术
Issue Date: 1975.6.10
Serial Number:T7
Scott No.:1222-1227
Michel No.:1232-1237
Number of stamps in Set:6
Denomination:8 fen for stamp 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
43 fen for stamp 6
Quantity of Issue:6,000,000 for stamp 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2,000,000 for stamp 6
Perforation:P11 X 11½
Sheet Composition:50 (5 X 10) for stamp 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
30 (3 X 10) for stamp 6
Size of stamps:40 X 30 mm for stamp 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
60 X 30 mm for stamp 6
Designer:Lu Tianjiao  卢天骄
Printing Process:Photogravure, tete-bêche printed.
Silver dust is used for printing on the weapons, the stamp denomination and the "flowery" patterns besides "Chinese Peoples Post"
Printing House:Beijing Postage Stamp Printing Works

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