Wrestling 摔跤 (shuāi jiāo)

Literally it means throws and trips in Chinese. When people think of wrestling, they either thinking of Greco-Roman wrestling or WWE, which is a form of sport entertainment, and Judo is usually left out for the discussion and treated as its own separate thing. While there are many similarities in all forms of wrestling, as they are, after all, sets of skills that aim to either throwing or pinning the opponent to the ground, Chinese wrestling is more about finesse than using brute force, and in this sense it is more (very) similar to Judo than other forms of wrestling, in fact, they are so similar that some people believe they share the same origin.

Traditionally, wrestling was considered one of the fundamental components of Chinese martial arts (unfortunately, many Chinese martial arts have lost this component), and that was due to military necessity back in the days. In the ancient battlefield where fighters wore armours, swords were not very useful due to armour protection and polearms were a hindrance once the opponent had gotten inside the range, soldiers would have to wrestle once they had gotten into the thick of melee.Therefore, the military back then held wrestling in high estimate and the courts regularly held competitions to promote the art; the Qing Dynasty even form a “Wrestling Battlion” (善撲營 shàn pū yíng) filled with elite soldiers who sometimes moonlit as royal bodyguards.

Traditional wrestling as a stand alone art is conducted with two participants wearing the wrestling garb (褡褳 dā lián) ; therefore, a lot of techniques are coupled with holding on the clothes (again, very similar to Judo). Our school, however, focuses on wrestling without the garb and combined it with strikes, kicks, and grapples to form a coherent system.

Historically, there have been many names for wrestling in Chinese. One of them is Jué Dǐ (角抵), and it was also called Xiàng Pū (相撲), both of which suggest a contest of strength. The characters Xiàng Pū mean Sumo in Japanese. It could be that Sumo is evolved from an earlier form of wrestling that emphasised more on strength and less on finesse techniques.

Wrestling with Dā Lián (褡褳)

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