Fight Club

Wushu and kung fu go head-to-head

SAT 4/19

Before you go to the UC Berkeley Chinese Martial Arts Tournament, let's get something straight. Wushu, translated literally, means "martial arts," but kung fu, also translated literally, means "hard work." In other words, you can become a master of anything -- say, cooking -- through good kung fu, but you can still get your butt kicked.The term "kung fu" is generally used to describe the many styles of traditional Chinese combat arts. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government outlawed the public practice of all forms of martial arts, and later, chose to reintroduce a highly stylized and standardized form that eliminated all self-defense applications. This contemporary style is known as wushu, and it has evolved into a rigorous competition sport that includes aspects of dance and gymnastics. Put simply, wushu is kung fu without the fighting.

The beauty of the Cal event is that representatives of traditional forms of kung fu, such as Hung Gar, will be competing alongside, not against, contemporary wushu performers in categories ranging from individual hand forms to weapons sets. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. at Haas Pavilion, 2301 Bancroft (at Ellsworth), on the UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are free-$7; call (510) 642-3268 or visit www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~calwushu/cmat. --David Lionetti

Strictly Competitive

FRI-SUN 4/18-20

On the shadowy edges of Olympic glitter, a mighty beast paces back and forth, waiting to break its chains. That beast is attired in flowy satin, and it wears sparkly shoes: It is Dancesport.In 1997, Dancesport, aka ballroom dancing, received "full recognition" by the International Olympic Committee, but it has yet to become a medal sport. Devotees point out that if ice dancing is a sport, then damn skippy, so is ballroom dancing. The art that aspires to sporthood hits the Bay Area this weekend, and the San Francisco Open Dancesport Championships organizers are excited to host Latin champs Slavik Kryklyvvy and Karina Smirnoff. Admission is $8-135; call (650) 366-0504 or visit www.sfopen.com. --Hiya Swanhuyser

 
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