This article is from the Martial Arts FAQ, by Matthew Weigel email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
(Contributor: Bill Norcott - firstname.lastname@example.org)
The oldest Chinese bare-handed fighting style. Shuaijiao is a
comprehensive fighting style which incorporates the principles of
Shuiajiao emerged around 2,000 years ago. It was originally taught
only to the military elite. Starting in the Qin Dynasty,
Shuaijiao was demonstrated in tournaments for the Imperial court.
During the Qing Dynasty, China maintained a camp of 300 full time
fighters who trained for competition with China's allies. Today,
Shuaijiao is still taught primarily to the military and police in
China and Taiwan. Shuaijiao is a Northern Chinese martial art that
was not well known in the south until the 1930's.
Shuaijiao was introduced to the United States in 1978 by Dr.
Chi-Hsiu Daniel Weng. Dr. Weng started martial arts training at age
11, beginning with judo. After achieving second degree black belt in
judo, he began study of Shuaijiao from Grandmaster Chang
Dongsheng. Dr. Weng spent 20 years studying Shuaijiao with
Grandmaster Chang, including 10 years as Shuaijiao instructor at the
Taiwan Central Police College. Dr. Weng is an 8th degree black belt
in Shuaijiao, and is president of the U.S. Shuai-Chiao Association.
There has been a large growth of interest and participation in
Shuaijiao during the past several years. Major Chinese martial arts
tournaments now include Shuaijiao divisions. Shuaijiao fighters
have also competed successfully in Sanshou (full contact fighting)
competition. The five-man U.S. full contact team sent to the 2nd
World Wushu Championships included three Shuaijiao fighters.
Shuaijiao integrates striking, kicking, throwing, tripping,
grappling, joint locking, and escaping methods. Shuaijiao fighting
principles are based on Taijiquan, but techniques are applied
with more force. There are 30 theoretical principles of Shuaijiao;
the six major principles are: absorbing, mixing, squatting, hopping,
turning, and encircling.
Shuaijiao fighting strategy emphasizes maintaining balance and
controlling the opponent. Tactics emphasize throwing the opponent
while maintain a joint lock, then following with a vital point strike.
There are 36 major throws in the system, with 3600 combinations.
Shuaijiao is notable for joint attacks and hard throws.
Shuaijiao has a belt ranking system. The succession of belts is:
white, green, green-blue, blue 1, blue 2, blue 3, black. There are
ten degrees of black belt. The 10th degree is reserved for the
founder of the lineage, the late Grandmaster Chang Dongsheng.
Competition is similar to actual combat, except that strikes and kicks
are allowed only in conjunction with a throw. Also, joint attacks are
discouraged. Match is three falls. Point is awarded upon completion
of the throw with control maintained over opponent. There is no
pinning nor submission holds in Shuaijiao competition; in actual
combat the throw would be followed by a finishing strike. Victory in
tournament competition is required for advancement to blue belt and
There are a dozen stationary training stances to train strength and
flexibility. Twenty moving forms train the position and footwork used
in approaching, joint locking and throwing. Wushu high kicking
excercises train leg strength and flexibility. The kicks most often
used in Shuaijiao fighting are low kicks and sweeps. Unique to
Shuaijiao is "belt cracking", which uses the uses the uniform belt
in excercises that train strength and proper position. Throws are
practised in excercises with a partner, then in sparring. Sparring is
practised at all levels, as soon as the student has mastered
breakfalls. A typical class consists of stretching excercises, Wushu
kicking, forms practise, throwing and breakfalls, and sparring.
Shuaijiao styles are categorized by region. The four major regional
styles are Mongolian, Beijing, Tianjin, and Baoding.
The USSA teaches the Baoding style.
For more information, contact:
United States Shuai-Chiao Association,
P.O. Box 1221
Cupertino, CA 95015