|Introduction of Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling)
In traditional Chinese martial arts, as in almost all martial arts, there are four categories of basic fighting skills:
Ti – kicking; Da – striking; Shuai – throwing; and Na – locking. The degree to which each of these skills is
developed within each style depended on the practitioners’ level of interest. For example, in Tantui, the spring
leg group, kicking skills were developed to a much greater degree than the other skills. In Qinna, the gripping
and controlling group, seizing, locking, and controlling skills received more research and practice. In the case
Shuai Jiao, the high level of interest in throwing skills and the amount of knowledge accumulated about them
resulted in Shuai Jiao’s becoming an independent art in its own right rather than just a component of general
martial arts training. It now has a large number of people dedicated solely to its practice.
|Shuai Jiao is commonly translated as Chinese wrestling. It is a special fighting system which teaches
practitioners how to set up a trip and throw an opponent down. Also considered a sport, Shuai Jiao can be
used for purposes of either performance or competition and is governed by a set of rules to determine what
constitutes a well-executed performance or a win. According to Shuai Jiao rules, punching, kicking(1) and
locking skills are not permitted, and if any part of the body other than a competitor’s feet touch the ground, that
competitor loses the match(2).
In Chinese, Shuai means “to throw down,” and Jiao refers to a “stumble or fall caused by a trip.” Shuai Jiao
research is focused only on the skills needed to trip an opponent and throw him to the ground. Ground
techniques are not researched because if you find yourself in a position to need them, you have already lost.
There is nothing you can do to win from a position on the ground given the Shuai Jiao rule that your feet are
the only part of your body that can touch the floor.
Shuai Jiao practice focuses on the throwing skills in great detail, and for this reason, its throwing skills differ
greatly from those used in Judo and in western-style wrestling. Strictly speaking, the common translation of
Shuai Jiao as “wrestling” is not accurate since no true wrestling skills are involved in Shuai Jiao practice. A
more accurate translation would be simply “throwing”.
Whether Shuai Jiao is used for performances, competition or fighting, there is only one training system and
one set of skills. These skills, however, are applied differently depending on the situation, and different sets of
rules apply to performance and competition. As for Shuai Jiao fighting, all rules are ignored.
(1) In Shuai Jiao, you can never launch a kick that can hurt your opponent directly. Most of the time, the kick in Shuai Jiao is a
sweeping kick, where you can only kick lower than your opponent’s ankle.
(2) The only exception to this rule is with the use of Xiao Dehe, where one’s knee is allowed to touch the ground.