By Roger Rosales FSA CERA (Actuary, Wushu Athlete, Wushu Coach)
For those who are training competitively in Wushu Taolu, you may ask yourself, “How long should my routine be?” The minimum requirement is 1 minute and 20 seconds. For the Top Wushu Taolu athletes in the world, how long are their routines? Well, I decided to dig into the data and find out the answer. I analyzed the data from the World Wushu Championships in 2017. Thanks to Brandon Sugiyama for saving the results!
Let’s start off with a simple plot of Overall Score vs. Time for each competitor in the Men’s Changquan event.
The chart shows that the male competitors range from 1:20 to 1:45. You may be thinking that the top athletes would be efficient and have their routine be right at 1:20. This is simply not the case.
Let’s create the same chart but put in colors for the various placing categories. In other words, the Top 10 placing athletes would get one color vs. the Top 20 athletes vs. the Top 30 athletes, etc.
Here we can see that the Top 10 Placing Athletes have times in the range of 1:25 to 1:41. None had times in the 1:20-1:24 range and 7 had times of 1:30 and above. Perhaps most shocking is that the first place finisher had a time of 1:40!
We can go a step further and create box plots for each placing category. Each color category will have its own box plot where the line through the middle of the box plot represents the Median (middle value of those group of competitors). The top of the box is the Upper quartile where 75% of the routine times in the category fall below that value. The bottom of the box is the Lower quartile where 25% of the routine times in the category fall below that value.
Here are the box plot results, are you ready?
As you can see from the various box plots for the men, the Top 10 finishers had the highest median length of their routine (from their middle line). Very Surprising. It appears the Top 10 male athletes are not afraid to be on the carpet for 1:40! For men’s changquan, the Top 10 finishers average a routine length time of 1:34 and a median of 1:36. The 1st place winner, Zhizhao Chang (China) completed his form in 1:40 seconds. Watch Zhizhao Chang’s performance at the end of this article.
Now let’s look at Women’s Changquan. Again, let’s start with the simple plot of Overall Score vs. Time.
Now let’s add color to distinguish the top placing athletes from everyone else.
For the women, the story is a bit different. It appears the Top 10 female athletes finished their routines in a shorter time, certainly not the longest time like the men’s top 10 athletes. Let’s add the box plots to compare the placing categories even further.
The top 10 female finishers had an average routine time of 1:28 with a median around the same value. The 1st Place winner, Xue Wang from China, finished her form in 1:29. Xuxu Liu (Hong Kong) finished second and her routine was 1:28.
In Men’s Changquan, the top 10 finishers had the highest median times while in Women’s Changquan, the top 10 finishers had the lowest median times.
The key takeaway here is that you may want to go above the minimum requirement of 1 minute and 20 seconds. The best in the world finish their routines anywhere from 1:25 to 1:45 for Men and 1:21 to 1:37 for women. For those who know Wushu, your routine should have both slow parts and fast parts. This gets more into the B Score (for performance), but the way you spend your time on the carpet plays a crucial role in your overall score. Wouldn’t it be great if we can measure the speed of competitors throughout their routine? Maybe someday, athletes can wear chips and we can measure that.
This is the first of four articles planned on wushu taolu analytics. Look out for the next article analyzing the B Score (Performance score) in comparison to the Overall Score.
Jiayou! (or how we say it here, Jiayo!)
Article and analysis by Roger Rosales FSA CERA
Roger Rosales is a wushu coach and athlete at Summit Wushu Academy (Portland, Oregon USA) and is the head wushu instructor at Oregon Hope Chinese School’s Saturday Class. He is a Certified Taolu Judge in the Pan-America Region. Professionally, Roger is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries who analyzes risk on a day to day basis. Follow him on Instagram at roger_wushu and if you have other Wushu data ideas or if you (or your school) need help analyzing your data, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.