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Shuai jiao is believed to be the world's oldest martial art. It is a straightforward martial art skill that can be acquired rapidly and employed pragmatically in a variety of situations.
Escape from locks & holds
Take the opponent to the floor quickly
Cope with an attack whilst on the ground
Stand alone or incorporated
As a style of combat, shuai jiao can be practiced in its own right or as an aspect of other systems. The taijiquan and baguazhang forms feature countless shuai jiao applications.
We teach shuai jiao for combat. There are no competitions, weight categories etc. All taijiquan students learn shuai jiao as they proceed through the syllabus.
Reasonable force means that you only do what you need to do in order to defend yourself. This is an ambiguous notion, so be careful. Shuai jiao is ideal for this.
The aim is not to strike somebody or break bones. Instead: wind them, embarrass them, dissuade them, make them fall to the ground. Do only what is necessary and then walk away.
The way most people do taijiquan, it's not a martial art. They could never use it the way they're doing it. Everything's in their hands, they just fill in the rest with fantasy talk.
'Internal' shuai jiao
'Internal' shuai jiao uses the fighting skills attained in pushing hands: balance, listening, rhythm, stickiness and timing. Various jing skills can also be used.
The applications are performed in a smooth, fluid manner. There is no struggling or fighting. There is no time to breakfall. Shuai jiao is not used to escape locks and holds.
'External' shuai jiao
Not all shuai jiao in the world is internal. It is often taught as an external system; akin to judo. Force, tension and aggression are used. There are even fighting competitions.
Shuai jiao is used to escape locks and holds. This is not what we teach.
3 levels of skill
Students work through 3 levels of shuai jiao application:
Fixed applications are taught
in the intermediate and
Flowing is advanced and freeform is
Do we teach techniques?
No. A technique is a step-by-step formula for addressing a particular type of attack. The purpose of shuai jiao applications is different.
Students discover how to manipulate and manoeuvre their opponents body in an effective, comfortable, flowing, natural fashion. The principles used can be applied to a variety of different attacks.
Taijiquan fighting method
In terms of combat, taijiquan does not put shuai jiao first. More energy efficient methods are preferred:
There are a vast range of
striking methods and four main areas of chin na skill.
Shuai jiao tends to be used by the more nimble and
Baguazhang fighting method
Baguazhang prioritises shuai jiao because it is fast and effective; using the attacker's own body weight to incapacitate them:
exceptionally fast footwork used in baguazhang makes it the ideal vehicle
for shuai jiao.
The student can rapidly find opportunities
and angles of weakness to exploit in
Spur of the moment
As a student advances through the our syllabus, their responses should become spontaneous and easy. The appropriate application should emerge without contrivance or conscious thought.
Eventually, the student switches very rapidly between shuai jiao, chin na and striking. This enables fast counter-attacks; with the exponent changing tactics unpredictably and effectively.
Martial arts are dangerous
The British Medical Association Guide To Sports Injuries states:
Combat sports such as boxing, judo, karate or kung fu make tough demands on the body; training is intense, and participation requires all-round fitness. Regardless of the fitness of the participants, however, the aggressive blows traded between opponents means that these sports always carry a serious risk of injury.
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 02 June 2018