Soft Criticism of Maoism in Wushu Literature

Two different Wushu books written in China both have not-so-covert criticism of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, both written near the end of the Deng Xiaoping era of 1979-1997. This period seemed to produce some actual history and science surrounding Wushu. Meanwhile, Maoists were still defending Mao’s efforts to crush the “Four Olds: Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Customs, and Old Habits (Chinese: Jiù Sīxiǎng 旧思想, Jiù Wénhuà 旧文化, Jiù Fēngsú 旧风俗, and Jiù Xíguàn 旧习惯)” (from wiki).

The Cultural Revolution also sought to eradicate of all previous hierarchies, including sifu-student relations, redefining these hierarchies within the context of the Party. Their agitprop campaign riled up a lot of university students, who would mob and kill whenever directed.

Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping’s father Xin Zhongxun, and many other notable figures were targeted by the Cultural Revolution, and needless to say Maoism left a bad taste in their mouths. When Mao died, the Maoists still held significant power within the CCP, but Deng Xiaoping and his faction took top position, pushing Mao’s son out. The Wushu books printed at this time therefore benefitted from being able to be at least slightly truthful about history, and these soft critiques of Maoism were likely just an effort to keep the “orthodox” Maoists off their backs.

Wu Bin, Essentials of Chinese Wushu, 1992
Kang Gewu, Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts, 1995

Also Fairbank, John: China: A New History, 2006