The origins of Wushu may be traced back to early man and his struggle for survival in the harsh environment during Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC), or even earlier, a struggle that led to the development of techniques to defend against both wild animals and other human beings. The application of weapons eventually came to form the roots of Wushu’s weapon-based techniques, and contests of strength and technique (such as jiaodi, an early Chinese form of wrestling) enhanced the development of barehand combat systems.
Traditionally, taolu routines were compiled to preserve the techniques and tactics of a particular lineage or system, and through regular training would gradually improve a practitioner’s flexibility, stamina, strength, speed, balance, and co-ordination, and would “imprint” a tactical order into practitioners. Taolu routines include individual routines and group routines, as well as duel routines with 2 or more practitioners involved. They have a rich and diverse content, utilizing both bare-handed techniques as well as those performed with weapons.
Sport wushu has developed from traditional wushu and is presented to the world in the form of a modern Olympic-level sport with a perfect combination of ancient practices and modern sports principles. Athletes perform routines (barehanded or with weaponry) based on specific rules, highlighting their athletic strengths.