About Shuai Jiao (A Brief History)


Shuai Jiao (Chinese-style Wrestling) is the most ancient of all Chinese martial arts with a history of over 4,000 years. Its first recorded use, in a military engagement, was when the Yellow Emperor of China fought against the rebel Chih Yiu and his army, 2,697BC. The original Chinese Martial Arts, a combat wrestling system called Jiao Li (Strength and Endurance Skills), was systematised during the Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 BC). This military combat wrestling system, the first combination of fighting techniques historically employed by the Imperial Army, consisted of throws, hand and foot strikes, seizing joints, attacking vital parts and breaking joints in context of throwing.  All of these elements of fighting skills were practised in training during the winter months and used in hundreds of battles in ancient China.


Ancient Shuai Jiao In ancient times, practitioners of Shuai Jiao competed against one another bare-chested, in modern times training is undertaken in a heavy quilted canvas cotton jacket. One important point is that Shuai Jiao does not depend on the opponent’s jacket or clothing in order to throw them. The priority is to grab the muscle and bone through the clothing in order to control and throw the opponent.  The use of the competitor’s jacket, that has short sleeves above the elbows and the jacket itself wraps tightly around the torso with a canvas belt, adds variety of techniques in controlling and throwing the opponent. Fast footwork using sweeps, inner hooks and kicks to the opponent’s leg are combined with the controlling-striking arms that create a two directional action making a powerful throw. 
There are many other major styles of Shuai Jiao: Beijing; Tian Jin; Mongolian (Boke); and Bao Ding which is also referred to as Kuai Shuai (Fast Wrestling). When the Nationalist Government established itself on Taiwan (ROC) in 1949, a few champions of Shuai Jiao migrated to Taiwan (ROC) and introduced Shuai Jiao. The most famous Master was Chang Tung-Sheng, others recognised Shuai Jiao Masters are: Jeng Hsing-Ping, David Lin, Chi-Hsui Daniel Weng (USA), Li Wing-Kay (Brazil), Hwang Ching-Zeng (Germany), and Louis Lin (Sweden). These Masters have been responsible for promoting Shuai Jiao overseas to Europe, the United States and South America. The next generation includes Masters: Chang Da-Wei (Taiwan ROC) – the grandson of Chang Tung-Sheng; Antonio Langiano (Italy); and Rob Simpson (United Kingdom).  Picture 9

Modern Shuai Jiao evolved from an ancient form of battlefield combat. Its techniques are the culmination of tested grappling experience in the best environment – the battlefield. This practical and devastatingly efficient method of combat has evolved into a sophisticated and effective - no nonsense - system of martial arts. Its philosophy shares the same principle of internal systems of Chinese martial arts: Yin and Yang.  In fact, the advanced Shuai Jiao practitioner utilises both Internal and External principles and views these principles as two sides of the same coin meeting at a junction, and complimenting each other, but coming from totally different origins. 


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In modern times Shuai Jiao Masters are employed by the police and military of a number of nations across the world including China and Taiwan (ROC). So even today, Shuai Jiao's effectivness as a martial art is still being proven, in both close military combat and the street.