--photo by Adam Williams
Shuai Chiao, also written as,
"Shuaijiao," is considered the oldest form of Chinese kungfu. It is
mentioned as "Chiao Ti" in texts that refer back over 3000 years. The
Shuai Chiao characters in Chinese literally mean, "Throwing - Horns":
the earliest fighters were reputed to have worn horned helmets, and the
rapid open arm movements of the style made the powerful movements
appear like a clash of horned beasts.
Shuai Chiao was considered basic training for soldiers in China for thousands of years. The art is designed for survival in the chaos of the battlefield - - powerful throws and strikes, but little ground fighting, since struggling down on the ground could be fatal with multiple attackers. Over the centuries, Shuai Chiao has stayed true to its roots, while gaining sophistication. Modern Shuai Chiao is often called "the practical application of Tai Chi Chuan," with the same evasive techniques: blending with, then overcoming, an attacker's force. While the emphasis for beginning students is on the throwing methods, Shuai Chiao students also practice punching and kicking. Most of the classic throws are demonstrated from a punching, kicking, or grabbing attack, and use "chin-na" joint grasping or locking techniques instead of depending on a grip on a jacket. These characteristics make this ancient art a very effective form of self-defense in modern times.
The lead character, "Shuai" means to fall, tumble, throw down, cast, fling, cause to fall and break:
The second character, "Jiao" can
be written two ways. We honor tradition by using the old
which literally means "horn,"
"antler," or "angle." The newer character, pronounced the
same way is:
meaning "to link," "to join," "to fall," "to cross, intersect, or associate with."
The modern character: means "wrestling," or as we
put it, "Kungfu Wrestling"
Basic one-on-one "wrestling" is
THE primal martial art. While the Egyptians can claim the
earliest written records of wrestling techniques, the Chinese, Greeks,
and Indians are close behind. The
indigenous Japanese art of Jujutsu borrowed and expanded on the Chinese
of Shuai Chiao, and Judo was then derived from Jujutsu.
Although the roots are ancient, modern Shuai Chiao practitioners have kept abreast of newer, more "sporting" methods. Where Shuai Chiao was originally a brutally efficient art that considered breaking an opponent's bones or joints incidental to the throwing technique, the modern methods are more humane. However, when other martial artists talk about the importance of holds, chokes, and groundwork, it is important to remember that the original Shuai Chiao practitioners considered a proper throwing technique on hard ground to be the finish of the fight, not the midpoint.
The OSU Shuai Chiao Kungfu Club practices the Shuai Chiao as taught by Grandmaster Ch'ang Tung Sheng to the OSU Club founder, Dr. Chi-Hisiu (Daniel) Weng.
YouTube video of a Shuai Chiao
throwing demonstration by Dr. Weng at a major tournament in China: http://youtu.be/xJmwnyG4ewI