Two people prepared to wrestle. Ink sketch found in Mogao Caves No.17. Dunhuang.
Chinese wrestling depicted in an ink-sketch (~9th c.) found in the Mogao Caves No.17, stored in the British Museum (as told by some Chinese articles).
Chinese wrestling has many names. Modern nomenclature follows Ming and Qing convention and uses the term Shuāi Jiāo (摔跤 lit. throws and trips). It was also called Jué Dǐ (角抵 lit. antlers butting ). Xiāng Pū (相撲 lit. pounce against each other) was the more popular name in the older days. Here you guessed it, they are the same characters used for sumo (相撲).
Xiāng Pū back in Tang and Song’s (~7th-13th c.) time was a very popular sport and form of entertainment. They used to host the wrestling games at temples during major festivals, with the matches dedicated to some deities, and the wrestlers would go and compete from all over the country. The novel Water Margins describes a wrestling match dedicated to the deified Mt. Tai.
Winners of the matches would gain lavish match prizes sponsored by businesses and artisans, country-wide recognition, and massive following. The sport was so popular and well-developed that, like football back in that time, wrestlers were organised into clubs governed by wrestlers societies. To make the sport even more enticing, there was also a women “division”, for the lack of a better term, and they were competing half-naked. Women wrestling was so hot that the Emperor was caught watching it and subsequently scolded by one of his minsters (the Emperor could been participated in the organisation of it even, but the details are not very clear).
Many of the traditions are still followed by Sumo in Japan today. Sadly, the tradition of women wrestling is discontinued.
The important thing to take away here is that the techniques aren’t the most significant factor; it is the mentality and the ability to follow and connect that allow the practitioner to perform effectively and efficiently.
We are continuing our current theme of initial engagement then proceed to wrestling or grappling immediately.
This is a very fundamental concept to be instilled, as it helps the students understand why it is important to connect to the opponent and how to move across different measures.
If we only learn how to strike or wrestle, it would be very easy to be stuck when the opponent moves in and out of that particular measure, and you would be open for a counter. Connectivity helps us shorten our action cycle and keep the action flowing to maintain the initiative.
The main points here are improvisation and connectivity. Since we don’t go into a fight knowing how the opponent is going to react, we can’t have a predetermined method of approach and a set way to end the fight.
The method is to engage the opponent with credible threats, so he is forced to react to your actions; thereby giving you the initiative and a quicker route to get inside his decision/action loop. You don’t have to be really fast, just a bit faster than his cycles would be enough. This is how you dictate the terms to him. What you do depends entirely on what the opponent is giving you.
I have seen a lot of videos about self-defense, and I have to say, people are generally too hung up on performing techniques rather than getting the ideas right. Applying the wrong ideas leads to the using of wrong techniques in the wrong contexts, and that would expose the defender to more risks than necessary.…
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Grappling during engagement; offensive and defensive.
Initiate an attack and bind with the opponent’s arms. Open them in an opposite manner, i.e. one up, one down, and grab his right at the end of the opening move while he is distracted by the staggering and opposite actions. Takedown with a spiral.
The takedown is done correctly if the opponent spins on the ground.
The opponent initiates an attack. Bind his leading arm and draw it inward, while at the same time shoot your left forward and perform a brow-sweep. Your draw and the shooting of your body is going to make him resist by pulling back, and that allows a takedown with a simple push. Your leading arm should lift his up to pin his balance down.
If he does not resist by pulling backward, then you can simply perform an attack with the arm that is drawing him in.
A typical Mantis “Chaotic Fury” with multiple hits along and across different lines and directions in a burst. Strikes turn to grapples and grapples turn to strike.
Right hook to his left, cross and hitting his right ear without turning the wrist. Could turn this into an eye-sweep or a backfist.
Backfist. Pressure and misdirection on his left to get in from the right. His right arm lets go, and the backfist follows immediate to get into his cycle.
For any attack to be effective, the attack has to land where the opponent is not defending, i.e. the open part of his body. This is easier said than done, as any person will naturally put up their arms in defence in face of an attack, unless they are surprised or slow to react. Therefore,…
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