Chinese Kungfu, also known as Wushu, is a full combat sport and a hard and soft martial art. Hard and soft refers to how forcefully an opponent counters an armed or unarmed attack. In a competition, Wushu is composed of two disciplines, namely Tàolù and Sanda. Tàolù or Forms is regarded as one of the most important practices in Chinese Martial Arts. It comprises several individual movements that are predetermined and then combined to complete a continuous set of movements.
Historically it did not feature as much when training for a combat role like sparring or drilling. The main characteristics of Tàolù is that is builds up internal and external strength, builds up stamina and speed, and increases flexibility. There are many styles of Tàolù and some make use of weapons that held either with one or two hands. The type of weapon can also vary. The styles are performed either as a solo form or as a sparring form. Solo forms are the most common type in Chinese martial arts. Sanda or Sanshou, is Chinese boxing or Chinese kickboxing. It is full combat sport developed by the Chinese military with the style developed from Kung Fu. The sport combines close-range rapid punches and kicks, full-contact kickboxing, sweeps and wrestling. There are takedowns, throws and in some cases, elbow and knee strikes are also allowed.
The Chinese government has been involved in setting out the curriculum for Wushu Sanshou and a method of self-defense for civilians as well as a sport. It was in 1958 that the government first established an organization to oversee and regulate martial arts training. In 1979 a special task force was created specifically for the teaching and practice of Wushu. The Chinese National Research Institute of Wushu was established in 1986 as a central authority to oversee research and administration of Wushu activities in China. In 1998 government attitudes towards sports changed more to a market-driven approach and the State Sports Commission was closed. As a result of these changes within China, the sport developed a more modern approach with the formation of the International Wushu Federation.
The International Wushu Federation (IWUF) was established in October 1990 with a purpose to manage and oversee wushu in all the various forms worldwide. IWUF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee with over 150 national and territorial members. Currently there are World Championships in Wushu, Tàolù, Sanda Kungfu and Taijiquan (Tai chi). The primary goal and purpose for IWUF is to promote and enhance the development of all forms of wushu worldwide.