Monday, November 8, 2010

San Shou - China's Complete Fighting System


But, what if I told you there was a style of “kung fu” that is a synthesis of the fundamental aspects of several major styles of “kung fu”? What if I also told you that this system has embraced the right way to train and has been used effectively for self defense, as a combat sport, and during military and law enforcement operations?

Well, such a style exists and it is called San Shou.  




Briefly, modern San Shou as we know it today, was developed by the Chinese government during the 1950’s and 60’s by bringing together masters of various styles of kung fu (from each of China’s provinces). The goal was to create an easy to learn and teach fighting system that could be adapted for civilian self defense, military/law enforcement use, and use as a combat sport. What resulted was San Shou.

As I stated above, San Shou incorporates the fundamental elements of all styles of “kung fu” – which are:

1.       Ti (kicks)
2.       Da (punches)
3.       Shuai (throws)
4.       Na (joint locks)

What is really interesting about San Shou is that it can be trained as a standalone fighting style or in conjunction with your current style (I first learned about it when training Xingyiquan).

Another aspect I like is its simplicity. This simplicity is very important for martial artists because of Hick’s Law. In a nutshell, Hick’s Law tells us that the more choices a person has the slower his/her reaction time will be. Obviously, a martial artist that relies on a few fundamentals that can be applied in myriad situations will have a faster response time than a martial artists who has spent the time to learn a different a response to each possible fighting situation. Sometimes even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between winning or losing or, even life and death.

Notable Practitioners – Cung Le and Wim Demeere.


Train Hard,
Josh Skinner (donjitsu2)

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