Black Belt's Asia correspondent tries his hand at san da while studying at Shanghai University of Sport. See the "Brooklyn monk" in action!

“Strictly speaking, san da is a Chinese martial arts amalgam composed of kickboxing and wrestling-style takedowns,” Antonio Graceffo says. “Some writers have referred to san da as ‘Chinese MMA,’ but that’s inaccurate because it normally doesn’t include ground fighting or submissions. Furthermore, in competition, san da fighters are permitted to clinch, but they’re not allowed to hit while doing so.


"Some people have dubbed san da ‘Chinese muay Thai,’ but that moniker doesn’t do it justice. Why? Because in general, muay Thai stylists rely on just two leg attacks: the roundhouse kick and the push kick. Although other leg strikes exist in Thai boxing, most of the emphasis — and the scoring in the ring — can be attributed to those two moves. In contrast, san da encompasses an arsenal of kicks not unlike what you’d learn in wushu. Unbeknownst to many martial artists in the West, most san da fighters in China earn their chops in wushu.”

Saying what a fighting art isn’t certainly can be helpful, but it will take you only so far along the path to understanding. For that reason, Black Belt asked contributing editor Graceffo to shoot some video footage of san da, which is one of the arts he’s studying as he pursues his Ph.D. at Shanghai University of Sport.

For more information, read “San Da: An Introduction to the Chinese Art of Kickboxing With Takedowns” in the April/May 2015 issue of Black Belt. It hits newsstands and bookstores on March 31, 2015. Antonio Graceffo's book Warrior Odyssey is available here.

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

To Master the Supreme Philosophy of Enshin Karate, Look to Musashi's Book of Five Rings for Guidance!

In the martial arts, we voluntarily subject ourselves to conflict in a training environment so we can transcend conflict in the real world. After all, we wouldn't knowingly train in a style that makes us weaker or worsens our position. The irony of all this is that we don't want to fight our opponent. We prefer to work with what an opponent gives us to turn the tide in our favor, to resolve the situation effectively and efficiently.The Japanese have a word for this: sabaki. It means to work with energy efficiently. When we train with the sabaki mindset, we receive our opponent's attack, almost as a gift. Doing so requires less physical effort and frees up our mental operating system so it can determine the most efficient solution to the conflict.In this essay, I will present a brief history of sabaki, as well as break down the sabaki method using Miyamoto Musashi's five elements

Keep Reading Show less

Enter our partner's current Sweepstakes. They are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe'.

TAKE NOTICE!

FIVE KNUCKLE BULLET 'Wardrobe' Sweepstakes

Feeling Lucky? Enter our current Sweepstakes Now! We are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe' which consists of our most popular sportswear items. Prize includes the following:

Keep Reading Show less

Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya knocked out challenger Paulo Costa at the 3:59 mark of round two.

Adesanya went to work immediately in round one with an onslaught of leg kicks that bruised the lead leg of his formidable opponent, Paulo Costa. "The Last Stylebender" also threw multiple round kick and front kick variations as he continued to weaken Costa through the end of the first and beginning of the second round. A round kick to the head bloodied Costa almost one minute in to round two. When Costa attempted to engage again, Adesanya clipped him with a left hand that brought Costa to his knees and allowed the champion to secure the finish in dominant fashion.

Keep Reading Show less
SportMartialArts.com

In Jessie Wray's second promotion of the Virtual Fight Tour, nearly every bout came down to the wire.

The Virtual Fight Tour is an exciting new promotion for sport karate competition that brings fans point fighting matches in a pay-per-view format, with forms and weapons competition on the horizon as well. On Saturday night, the second installment of this event took place with an action-packed card that did not disappoint. Keep reading for results and analysis of all five fights.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter