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Sparring of Kungfu

Sparring is one participated in by two or more Wushu practitioners either unarmed or armed. The routines for sparring include such offence and defence techniques as kicking, wrestling, holding, beating, thrusting, chopping, lifting, axing, finger-hitting at certain parts of the body, jumping and leaping. Sparring can help participants to further understand the implication of the acts they have learned through solo practice and promote their standards of martial arts. Because they demand a real combative atmosphere and skillful-ness as well as close cooperation, sparring helps practition-ers to cultivate bravery, intelligence, agility and cooperation.

Sparring falls into three categories: unarmed, armed and unarmed versus armed.

(1) Sparring Without Weapons

Sparring without weapons is a sparring routine of fist, hand, leg and body move-ments and actions of the same style as in the solo practice. The combative arrange-ments include offence, defence and counterattack. The Chang Quan (long-style Chuan) sparring includes in its program, jumps, leaps, hops and rolls, and the program re-quires practitioners to be quick and agile. The holding practice is an exercise which uses catching, seizing, holding, locking, moving and pointing at certain parts of the body to arrest, control, or extricate oneself, by forcing the opponent to maneuver their joints in reverse directions.

(2) Armed Sparring

Armed sparring is one in which two participants exercise together, using similar or different weapons. Different weapons result in different styles. Sabre sparring dis-plays the characteristics of valour, resolve and speed. Sword play stresses the com-bination of hardness and softness as well as gracefulness. The sparring between spear and long-handled sabre demonstrates braveness and intrepidity. The sparring between three-section articulated cudgels requires compactness and speed, which make the practice intense and exciting. Weapon sparrings also include such sparrings as broad sword versus spear, dagger versus spear and cudgel versus spear. These sparrings are between long and short, single and twin weapons.

(3) Sparring Between The Unarmed And Armed

The sparring between the armed and unarmed are ones which are often pro--grammed for the unarmed to try to deprive the armed opponent of his weapon. Such sparring programs include unarmed versus sabre, unarmed versus spear, unarmed versus twin spears, unarmed versus sword, etc. The practices require that the armed side should be good at using his weapon. These practices also require that the unarmed side should be quick at dodging the attacks by the armed side, and look for chances to counterattack.

The technical programming of weapon practices generally takes into consideration the following points:

Rational offence and defence. Army side of the duet must wait for the attack launched by the other side to decide what defence to use and how to counterattack, otherwise he has to act aimlessly and may even disrupt the duet program.

Correct moves and tricks. Wushu sparring are simulated combats, not real ones. All attacks, defences and counterattacks are symbolic. This point is very important in weapon practices. The spear man is required to use his weapon as in real combat but has to be sure that he will not injure his partner. To do so, the spear man has to be sure as to where to direct his weapon so as to make the duet look exciting but safe.

Identical rhythm. The two sides must cooperate by tacit understanding. If one side is faster than the other, the rhythm of the duet may be broken while the partners may sustain injuries or even get killed by mistake. The participants, therefore, are required to act in perfect time either in attack or defence.

Appropriated distance. The participants must adjust the width of their steps, for if they stand too far away from each other, the attack and defence will not look real and the actions and movements will be sloppy, but if they are too close to one another, neither can move freely and their acts will be affected.

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