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Wushu means “martial arts,” and in ancient times it was used primarily as a form of combat in China. Since 1958, China revised the old traditional Wushu forms, combining them with Peking Opera, gymnastics, and acrobatics to create a contemporary art form that is aesthetically pleasing, visually exciting, and physically demanding. While the forms still contain kicks and punches, emphasis is now on developing the physical abilities of the performer and on interpreting the flavor and spirit of each particular style of Wushu. Chinese Wushu contains more than 300 different forms: Northern and Southern styles, internal and external forms, and forms that imitate animals. Because there exists such a multitude of forms to study, Wushu may be practiced and performed by persons of any age.

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