Learn About Shuai Jiao - A Chinese Martial Arts Focused On Grappling

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Learn About Shuai Jiao - A Chinese Martial Arts Focused On Grappling

Shuai Jiao is an ancient Chinese martial arts style focused mainly on wrestling and grappling techniques. This martial arts is also known as Shuai Chiao.

History of Shuai Jiao

According to the Institute for Chinese Martial Arts, "Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling) is the most ancient of all Chinese martial arts with a history of over 4,000 years. Its first recorded use, in a military engagement, was when the Yellow Emperor of China fought against the rebel Chih Yiu and his army, 2,697 BC. They used horned helmets and gored their opponents while using a primitive form of grappling. This early style of recorded combat was first called Jiao Ti (butting with horns)… The original Chinese Martial Arts, a combat wrestling system called Jiao Li (Strength and Endurance Skills), was systematised during the Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 BC). This military combat wrestling system, the first combination of fighting techniques historically employed by the Imperial Army, consisted of throws, hand and foot strikes, seizing joints, attacking vital parts and breaking joints in context of throwing. All of these elements of fighting skills were practised in training during the winter months and used in hundreds of battles in ancient China. It is the root and the foundation of Chinese martial arts. Used primarily in military engagements, Jiao Li gradually became a sport in the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) during the reign of the Emperor Shi Huangdi. Even as a sport practiced on the Lei Tai (Sparring Platform) exponents would aim to prove that their skills were superior to that of their opponent. Only the very best of Jiao Li exponents proven in battle and on the Lei Tai would be selected to become bodyguards to the Emperor. As the martial arts of choice for the Emperor’s bodyguard, Shuai Jiao was also considered to be the most effective of the Chinese fist styles."

Main Elements of Shuai Jiao

  • Da – Kicking and striking
  • Shuai – Wrestling and grappling
  • Na – Joint and pressure point manipulation
  • Dian – Point striking
  • Cui – Breaking and dislocation


  1. Institute for Chinese Martial Arts, History of Shuai Jiao, http://www.kuoshu.co.uk/History%20SJ.html, Added - 7/21/13

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