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A Brief History of Shuai Jiao

Shuai Jiao (Chinese 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.

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.

Shuai Jiao Masters

When the Nationalist Government established itself on Taiwan (ROC) in 1949, a few champions of Shuai Jiao migrated to Taiwan (ROC) to introduced Shuai Jiao.

The most famous of these masters was Grandmaster Chang Tung-Sheng, others recognised Shuai Jiao Masters who promoted Shuai Jiao were: Master Jeng Hsing-Ping, Grandmaster David Lin, Dr Chi-Hsui Daniel Weng (USA), Grandmaster Li Wing-Kay (Brazil), Master Hwang Ching-Zeng (Germany), and Master 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 includes Grandmaster Chang Da-Wei (Taiwan ROC) – the grandson of Chang Tung-Sheng; Master Antonio Langiano (Italy); and Master Robert Simpson (Yuan Xiang) (United Kingdom).

Modern Shuai Jiao

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.

Shuai Jiao Styles

Baoding Style (保定) - This is the lineage that is called Kuai Jiao (快跤) or 'Fast Wrestling'. The main characteristic is the fast application of technique. Another characteristic is the adaptation of Shaolin Quan from Ping Jingyi, a famous teacher of wrestling who learned Shaolin style from the Meng family of Nanguan County even though he was a Muslim Hui.

Beijing Style (北京) - This is in essence the lineage from the Manchu Buku style that was practiced by the Imperial Guards Brigade, Shan Pu Ying (善撲营, literally the Expert in Wrestling Unit). The main characteristic is the use of the legs to kick and off-balance opponents, and the use of arm locks.

Mongolian Style - This style traces its lineage to the wrestling styles of the Dong Hu (東胡) Confederation, which included Xianbei, Khitan and Mongol people.

Shanxi Style (山西) - This is the lineage of Song Dynasty wrestling. It is mainly practiced in the counties between the mining city of Datong in northern Shanxi and the provincial capital Taiyuan in central Shanxi. The main characteristic is leg catching techniques, as traditionally wrestlers wear only tight knee-length pants.

Tianjin Style (天津) - This is the lineage of Ming Dynasty wrestling mixed with Manchu Buku (布庫). The main characteristic is the use of legs to kick and off-balance, and the use of forearms in blocking and striking.

Zhili (直隷) or Hebei (河北) Style. This style traces the lineage to the Yellow Emperor who fought two decisive battles against Chi You and Yan Emperor in modern-day Zhang Jia Kou (張家口) Region in Northern Hebei, to the NW of Beijing. The modern training methods and rules are codified by Shan Pu Ying (善撲营 The Battalion of Excellency in Catching) of the Nei Wu Fu (内務府, Internal Administration Unit of Imperial Household Department). It comprises Beijing, Tianjin and Baoding styles, listed above. Wrestlers wear a jacket called Da Lian.

BSJU Member Services

  • Apply for Membership
    You can apply for membership of the BSJU, if you are a Shuai Jiao practictioner and an exponent of one (or more) of the five principle styles of Shuai Jiao, or if you practice Shuai Jiao as a component of your martial arts system (including wrestling, grappling, and throwing). On successful registration you will then become part of a global family with a history spanning some 4,000 years; and access to national, international, and world-level events.

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  • Safeguarding Standards
    The BSJU recognise that everyone has a responsiblity to keep themselves and others safe, and people involved in Shuai Jiao should know what to do if they have any concerns. The BSJU are working to support our members, parents, carers, and volunteers to safeguard children and adults at risk. The BSJU is committed to maintaining safeguarding best practice, reflecting our corporate responsibility to safeguard all participants, effectively.

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  • Renew Your Membership
    You need to renew your BSJU membership annually to remain an active member. It is important that you do not allow your membership to lapse, as you are expected to be insured and licensed, as a requirement of participaion in Shuai Jiao practice. Shuai Jiao, as a martial art, carries with it inherent risks of personal injury. Participants must have adequate insurance in place, which can be obtained through the BSJU membership process.

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  • Coaching Standards
    The BSJU recognise that Coaches (Instructors) play a critical role in the development of any sport or development activity, and in the lives of the people that they coach. Our Coaches (Instructors) ensure that participation in Shuai Jiao is a positive experience with the aim to ensure a high quality and safe approach to training. The BSJU Coach Development Programme (CDP) is delivered online and face-to-face, and designed for both ‘teaching’ and ‘performance development’.

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  • DBS Check Service
    You can apply for a DBS check as part of the 'martial arts workforce' through our partner organisation: SCiMA Education Limited (SCiMA). Enhanced DBS check are required, as a condition of membership, for all Heads of Association, Coaches (Instructors), Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs), and people in a position of trust. The practice of Shuai Jiao will involve physical contact, and it is essential that ALL participants are safeguarded, appropriately.

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  • Policies and Guidance
    The BSJU policies and guidance reflect our key objectives to support participation and excellence in Shuai Jiao. Our policies comply with British legislation and regulations regarding safeguarding and equality. Our strategy redefines participation in Shuai Jiao, with a focus on five key outcomes: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development, and economic development.

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British Shuai Jiao Union Ltd © 2021
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Registration Number: 13526742
British Shuai Jiao Union
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