Shuaijiao

When it comes to grappling arts most people have heard of Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, and Sumo. The dynamic art of Shuaijiao, though it is not as well known as the others, should be.

What is Shuaijiao?

Shuaijiao (also spelled Shuai-Chiao) is a Chinese martial art that is approximately four thousand years old. Shuaijiao was born in a time of warfare long ago when to fall on the battlefield meant likely to never get up, and in that spirit, the curriculum of Shuaijiao focuses on throwing in a variety of ways. It is a standup grappling style, meaning that although there are hip throws, leg sweeps, and hand techniques, like many other arts, there is no ground grappling. The goal of Shuaijiao is to end up in a dominant position standing.


I spoke with Jan-Yu Weng, president of the United States Shui-Chiao Association (USSA) about the goals of the organization as well as for the best definition of Shuaijiao, "It's a stand up grappling martial art from China that can be used as self-defense, a competitive sport, and like any other martial art, a life-long way to stay fit and exercise."

When watching a Shuaijiao match, I think most martial artists familiar with any of the popular grappling styles mentioned previously will see some familiarity and even recognize similar techniques in their styles. As Weng explains, "If you're already a grappler where you're doing Judo or JiuJitsu or wrestling types, Shuaijiao is going to come relatively easy to pick up as those are all complementary systems." Anecdotally, years ago I learned some Shuaijiao techniques, and a decade or two later when I began learning Judo, I noticed some of the throws were remarkably similar.

Training

Shuaijiao Training

tongbei.homestead.com

Like any martial art, especially grappling styles, practicing with a partner is key. And while there is no substitute for a body, Shuaijiao has some unique solo practice drills that practitioners of other styles, whether grappling styles or not, may want to try, as Weng tells, "We use a lot of apparatus to do our training. One of the most basic ones is our belt, to do what we call belt cracking." The name comes from actually snapping the belt to build up the practitioner's grip and forearms, as well as overall conditioning of the body. "The solo forms, belt cracking, and other apparatus training are all dynamically linked to Shuaijiao techniques. You can train conditioning, timing, strength, with that connection to a technique."

Competition

Shuaijiao Competition

i.ytimg.com

Like other grappling styles, Shuaijiao is also a sport and there are national and international competitions. Traditionally, the top national competition for the last 25 years has been held every April in Cleveland Ohio. International competition is held through the World Shuai Jiao Federation (WSJF). The tournaments are held biennially in China and alternating between locations throughout the world including the US, and countries in South America and Europe. While the Covid pandemic has cast a shadow over national and international competition for 2021, check the website below or the Shuaijiao USA Facebook page for information and updates.

The Future

With the popularity of grappling styles growing it makes sense that Shuaijiao should have as good a chance as any at finding students and expanding their reach. That said, there are some challenges as Weng states, "We realize our limitation to growing Shuaijiao in the U.S. is the lack of qualified teachers and schools in more areas around the country. Our desire is to be able to use our digital framework that we're building, as well as have our coaches, begin to reach out and help, and not only build up coaches and teachers but build up healthy schools."

People interested in finding out more about Shuaijiao and how to start training in your area should make contact through the website and Facebook page for online seminars and/or a qualified teacher in your area.

Watch a Great Shuaijiao Match:

2013 Shuai Jiao World Championships at Yixing, China.

Check out their USSA website and Facebook!

Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.

Keep Reading Show less

ONE Championship has showcased some of the finest talents from all around the globe, and one of the fastest-rising nations on the global stage has been Vietnam.

The talent coming out of Vietnam has produced some of the most exhilarating finishes in recent memory.

Two of the top athletes of Vietnamese heritage have been featherweight kings Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen and Thanh Le.

Keep Reading Show less

Are you ready to enter the martial arts matrix?

Last year, COVID-19 forced us all to find new ways of doing familiar things--including teaching and training. While many schools unfortunately died out due to the pandemic, some schools also found new life with unique solutions. One of the popular options that schools found was online training.

Let's kick the elephant out of the room first. Of course online training can never fully replace in-person training in the martial arts world. Thankfully, it also doesn't have to. What many schools found last year was that they could survive, at least temporarily, with video conference tools and virtual sessions. What some of the same schools are finding this year is that they can help their schools thrive as normalcy slowly ebbs back into view and they are now equipped to offer online services as an auxiliary tool.

Nowadays, there are so many different ways martial arts info is spread online. We can indulge in martial art blogs, podcasts, and even online classes hosted by schools many miles away. Even before the pandemic put us all in front of a computer screen, the internet has been dramatically changing the world and how communication is disseminated. Over the years, the internet has become one of the most powerful pieces of equipment in a martial artist's toolbox.

Mind you, powerful doesn't mean perfect. Let's delve into the good and the bad of the martial artist's modern day tool!

Keep Reading Show less