(Chinese: 套路; pinyin: tào lù; “Routine”)
Taolu is a routine based competition that challenges the agility of individual athletes based on their ability to execute a series of high flying martial arts maneuvers and techniques both with and without the use of traditional Chinese weaponry such as swords and spears.
Athletes are judged using an internationally adapted set of standards on their technical, expressive and difficulty merits by a panel of specially selected judges. The routines can be choreographed to highlight the competitor’s strengths and have time limits that are typically 1 minute and 20 seconds for most events.
Taolu is considered as the non-combative performance based component of Wushu. Throughout the history of the Chinese Martial Arts, there may be several hundred, if not thousands of differing styles and schools of martial arts. Commonly known as “Kung Fu”, these varying styles are based on traditional animals, geography and historical factors that influenced their creation.
Taolu or routine training is considered by many to be one of the most important practices in Chinese martial arts. Traditionally, they played a smaller role in training combat application, and were eclipsed by sparring, drilling and conditioning. Taolu routines gradually build up a practitioner’s flexibility, internal and external strength, speed and stamina, and teach balance and coordination without the necessity of actual combat. Many styles in the rich traditions of Chinese Kung Fu contain Taolu routines using a wide range of weapons of various length and type, utilizing one or two hands. There are also styles which focus on a certain type of weapon. Taolu routines are meant to be practical, usable, and applicable as well as promoting agility, flow, meditation, flexibility, balance and coordination. Teachers and coaches are often heard to say “train your routine as if you were in combat and apply your skill as if it were a routine.”