The History And Origins Of Modern Chinese Shuai Chiao Kung Fu
Question: What is the difference between Shuai Chiao and Kung Fu?
Answer: Shuai Chiao or Shuai Jiao(pronounced shwai-jyau) IS kung fu. It is what is known as Chinese fast wrestling. Shuai Jiao has many movements that throw the opponent to the ground. It is considered to be the oldest form of kung fu martial arts. It is thought to have originated more than two thousand years ago. In many ancient civilizations, the first combative techniques to be invented are wrestling or grappling techniques. China being one of the oldest civilizations on earth, has an ancient form of wrestling called Shuai Jiao. Shuai Jiao is the predecessor to many Japanese grappling arts such as Jujitsu and Judo.
One of very first records of the art of shuai jiao come form about 2,697BC.
The Yellow Emperor of China fought against a rebel named Chih Yiu and his army. The emperor’s forces used horned helmets to gore their opponents while using a primitive form of grappling called “jiao di” (horn butting). This form of grappling is what eventually evolved to become shuai jiao, the martial art.
While this primitive form of martial grappling was the basis of Shuai Chiao, the martial art as it exists today is much different than its ancient martial counterpart. Modern Shuai-chiao is a culmination of all of these ancient kung fu grappling, wrestling techniques. The kung fu techniques have evolved to a very high level of efficiency and sophistication. Shuai Chiao is the basis of the Kung Fu military and police training in China and is a national sport in Taiwan.
In fact, Shuai Jiao, like most Chinese martial arts, has 4 major elements or types of movements that comprise the art.
These 4 elements work well when used in combination. Striking, kicking, throwing, and submission locking techniques should intertwine to make the practitioner fluid at all ranges of combat.
The philosophy of the martial art of Shuai Chiao as a self defense art is to use punches, kicks and joint-locks in addition to throwing the opponent to the ground. For the combat Shuai Chiao practitioner, all self defense scenarios will involve both striking and grappling. It is much easier to throw someone once they are stunned form a striking technique. The throws of the art resemble Japanese Judo. Or more accurately, Judo throws resemble Shuai Jiao because Shuai Jiao is the predecessor to Judo. Informed Judo practitioners will admit to this. It is not to say that one art is better than another. All of the throws can be incorporated and blended with any and all martial arts styles including all kung fu. Incorporating throwing techniques into a martial art that focuses on striking will make it more effective as a whole.
Throwing techniques taught at the Las Vegas Kung Fu martial art school, use the principles of Yin and Yang, These principles rely on the natural, physical laws of balance.[pullquote style=”right” quote=”dark”]These kung fu martial art techniques uproots and throws the opponent very quickly.[/pullquote] Yin and Yang is the concept of opposite force acting in coordination with each other in order to form a balance In Shuai Chiao Chinese wrestling the opponent’s own body position is used against him. Fast moving foot work and leg sweeps are combined with techniques that control the opponent’s upper body. This creates a push / pull action that resembles the yin and yang symbol. For example, one might push on the opponents shoulder while sweeping his legs backward so that the upper body would go in one direction while the lower body would go in the opposite direction thus off balancing the opponent and taking him to the ground. These kung fu martial art techniques uproots and throws the opponent very quickly. The emphasis of these kung fu techniques are on absorbing and blending with an opponents own force or momentum and using this force to slam them to the ground. The ground or the earth will literally be a weapon that you can take with you wherever you go and is always available.
The idea of using the ground as a weapon is a very practical idea.
Anytime that an opponent falls to the ground there is a chance that he will sustain secondary injuries caused by the fall. The art of Shuai Jiao, differentiates between takedowns and throwing. A takedown is a technique which you execute with the intent of continuing the fight on the ground. Brazilian Jujitsu practitioners are familiar with takedowns as a way to get their opponent into their comfort zone (which is ground fighting). Throwing techniques in the art of Shuai Jiao, revolve around the idea that slamming your opponent on the ground is a good way to incapacitate them.
The difference in the nature of a sport martial art versus a combat martial art are many. In a traditional Shuai Chiao martial arts competition, there are many rules to govern matches and only throws could be used. The Shuai Chiao taught at Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy, focuses on taking this grappling sport art and adapting it to apply to real world self defense.