Shuai Jiao literally means “wind-water” in English translation. It has been known as the father of Chinese martial arts. There is a legend that it was created by an emperor who wanted to test his son whether he had the strength and courage to fight against the fierce winds. To test his mettle, the emperor had his five thousand strongest soldiers charge into the storm and carry the lightning rod on their shoulders. If their shields were not strong enough, they would not complete their task.
The legend states that after the soldiers had charged into the storm they discovered that the strong wind had carried away all the water and they could not move their shields anymore. Thus, it was named as Shuai jiao, or “water shield”. Therefore, the origin of this Chinese martial art can be traced to the struggles of the Chinese people during the dynastic era.
Shuai Jiao can be said to be a close copy of Greco-Roman wrestling.
Many people compare the art to Greco-Roman wrestling because of its close resemblance of the CZP and its even more famous ability to throw its opponent out of the ring. This can be considered as one of the two most famous wrestling styles in China, along with Wing Chun. Both have developed from the same basic foundation of bundling together various joint locking forms such as the CZP and the Japanese sweep. Some have also added to the original idea by developing different striking systems, throws and counters, which are unique to both. But despite its similarities with the Greco-Roman wrestling, it has some distinctive features of its own.
In the CZP, there is the tri-leg setup, where three legs are placed on the ground in order to create an “L” shape. The three legs are held up with the use of hands. This is similar to modern day Chinese Wrestling, and the original concept is most likely derived from that of the Greco-Roman wrestling. However, with the mixed martial arts craze that swept through the country in recent years, the Shuai Jiao lineage has been diluted into many schools. This is why the original training methods are of much value to students, and not necessarily just to practitioners of CZP.
One of the original training methods used in Shuai jiao was the sit-stance, where the legs are positioned in a straight line, with the center of gravity placed behind the head. This allows for the practitioner to strike at an opponent from any angle and can be likened to a wing Chun version of standing up. The most popular sitting-stance in modern day CZP is known as the tiger stance, named after the traditional Chinese village where it originated. Many fighters from different styles have adapted this stance to their own individualized fighting styles. When striking an opponent in this stance, the torso is turned to provide maximum surprise. For instance, when striking a man with a tiger stance, if the strikes are delivered while the man is flat-footed, the strike will stun him.
The second main part of shuai jiao involves throwing techniques. The concept being that if one can throw his opponent off balance, then he will be in a great position to win the match. Today, there are many variations of this Chinese martial arts throw, which are used in tournaments. Two throw techniques commonly used in CZP are the butterfly and dragon throw, both of which are very effective in separating opponents from their feet.
The third and final part of shuai jiao involves kicking. In addition to throwing legs, this aspect of the game requires one to employ high knee strikes, and to strike with the heels of one’s foot. This was used by the martial artist in ancient times as a means to protect himself from injury, as well as to create distance between himself and his opponent. Today, kickboxing has become very popular as a form of exercise, as well as a way for people to stay fit and active.
As you can see, the throw in shuai jiao is a very important part of the whole form. But it is not only the throw that gives this martial art its edge over other traditional styles of Chinese martial arts. For one thing, throw is a very “close” style, and it requires great coordination between the assailant and the defender. Furthermore, it is a combat sport, and this requires a great deal of speed and stamina. If you want to learn how to throw a person, you need to learn how to strike them at a distance. That is why the best way to learn how to throw someone is to train in CZP or other such martial art for a few months.
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