sanshou

Sanshou is not quite kung fu, and it's not quite MMA. It's a Chinese amalgamation that lies squarely in the middle, and it has a lot to offer competitive martial artists who value tradition.

When people talk about the mixed martial arts, countries like Brazil, Japan and the United States come to mind. China seems to be more closely associated with the traditional arts. The average enthusiast probably imagines remote villages, where old people do tai chi chuan in the morning and children learn their families' esoteric styles of kung fu after nightfall. Welcome to the 21st century. The mainland Chinese martial arts community, while still stubborn in its stylistic chauvinism, has followed a relatively new training format for decades. Called sanshou or san da, (“free hands" or “free strikes"), it's not bounded by one martial art. Lacking only the ground-grappling portion of vale tudo, it allows for full expression of nonlethal techniques.

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