Kung Fu Friday - Wu Shoe Edition

I caught the China Design Now exhibit at the Portland Art Museum during its last week and saw these bad boys, titled "The Wushu" in a case with other shoes developed by Nike for the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing. These began developement in 2006 with assistance from Chinese martial artists for the specific use of being worn during Wushu exhibitions held during the games.

Wushu literally means "martial art" and was developed by the Peoples Republic of China after 1949 in an effort to nationalize traditional chinese martial art forms. As a full contact sport and exhibition form it has its world championships every two years. Jet Li is probably the most famous practicitoner. He won the National Wushu Champion of China title five times as an original member of the Beijing Wushu Team.

The International Wushu Federation made a bid for the 2008 Olympics but was only granted exhibition status. Watch this promo film by the IWF on the history of Wushu and it's "glorious" benefits. Great propaganda. If you'd rather watch something that kicks ass then check out the below clip of Jet Li's 1978 winning routine. The last clip is an even younger Jet Li doing a broadsword routine.