Wushu is both an exhibition and full-contact sport with its roots coming from traditional Chinese martial arts. In ancient times, wushu was used as the primary combat style in China. However in modern times, wushu has been revised to become an international sport comprised of different styles and forms. Contemporary Wushu is made up of two disciplines: taolu (forms) and sanda/sanshou (sparring).
Taolu, or wushu forms, are usually choreographed with martial art moves and patterns that grant points to the competitor depending on the difficulty of the movements. Although aesthetically pleasing to the eye, wushu forms still require the basic traditional Chinese martial art movements of kicks, punches, and stances. Sanda, or sparring, is a modern fighting sport influenced by traditional Chinese boxing, Chinese wrestling or Shuai Jiiao, and other Chinese grappling techniques such as Chin Na.
Although traditional Chinese martial arts forms are no longer used as the main combat style for the Chinese army, many styles of traditional Chinese martial arts are still taught in wushu schools. Popular traditional forms that you may know of include, praying mantis, eagle, whip, and pudao or horse cutter.
A few notable wushu athletes include, Wu Bin, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, and Cung Le.
Below are videos of international Wushu forms: