This week, the Beijing Wushu Team, with actor Zhenwei Wang from the 2010 “Karate Kid” movie making a special appearance, will perform two shows at Stanford on Wednesday and Thursday night in Burnham Pavilion, as well as two shows in San Francisco. The shows range from 90 minutes to two hours and have 32 acts.
The Beijing Wushu Team consists of 30 athletes, all of whom came from China a week and half ago. The team is visiting Stanford on a visit to the Bay Area. The Stanford Wushu Team and Stanford Martial Arts are funding their transportation costs.
Zhang Hong Mei, one of the wushu instructors and coaches here at Stanford, was a champion member of the Beijing Wushu Team in the past. Zhang was once teammates with Li Lian Jie, better known as Jet Li.
The Stanford Wushu Team had been hoping to bring the Beijing team over to the United States for quite some time now, and everything finally worked out this year.
Literally translated, “wushu” is broken up into two words, “wu” meaning military and “shu” meaning art. Thus, “wushu” is the term for Chinese martial arts.
Wushu today has evolved into an organized and systemized branch of study that is largely practiced for its method in achieving health, self-defense skills, mental discipline, recreation and competition.
While kung fu and wushu were originally the same, wushu has modernized in mainland China to create a universal standard for training and competing. Consequently, wushu has grown into an athletic performance and competitive sport, while kung fu or traditional wushu remains the traditional fighting practice.
“The special thing about Stanford Wushu is that not only are we a club, but we’re also a competitive team,” said Aysha Kureishi ’14. “A lot of people from the community come over to compete with us.”
The biggest competition that the Stanford Wushu Team participates in is the National Wushu Collegiates Tournament, where the team sends in at least one team of six and sometimes individual members as well. Last year, the competition was held at UCLA, and Stanford Wushu placed third. This year, they will be competing in April at the University of Virginia.
The Stanford Wushu Team has already begun planning future events for this year. During the upcoming Lunar New Year, Stanford Wushu will be performing at White Plaza.
“We often do demos at large-scale events like NSO and go into places in the community in order to spread Chinese culture,” said Zahra Sayyid ’12, co-president of Stanford Wushu.
“We’re planning to have a seminar with the Beijing Wushu Team on Sunday, which will be open to the public,” Sayyid said. “Basically, anyone who wants to come interact with them can do that.”
Tickets to the Stanford performances in Burnham Pavilion are $20 for students and $45 for general admission and are available at the door. The performances start at 7:00 p.m.