This curriculum was developed
by experimenting with the Chinese military experiences in close range and
hand to hand combat with reference to traditional Chinese martial arts.
Chinese martial arts masters that were still in China (prior to the
abolishment of traditional martial arts during the Cultural Revolution)
gathered to contribute the creation of the standard curriculum. This general
sanshou curriculum varied in its different forms, as the Chinese government
developed a watered down version for civilians for self defense and as a
One can see general sanshou as
a synthesis of traditional Chinese kung fu fighting techniques into a more
amorphous system and is commonly taught alongside traditional Chinese styles
which Sanshou techniques, theory and training methods are derived from. The
emphasis of Sanshou is on realistic fighting ability.
As an unarmed self-defense, close combat system, Sanshou includes ti
(kicks), da (punches), shuai (Shuai Jiao), and na (Chin Na). Sanda as a
sport has a very great emphasis on throws. One of its most distinguished
techniques is the "kick catch". This is when one person kicks and the person
performing the throw catches the kick and then trips the person kicking when
he's on one leg.
As a sport, San Shou/San Da is
practiced in tournaments and is normally held alongside taolu events in
wushu competition. For safety reasons, some techniques from the self-defense
form such as elbow strikes, chokes, and joint locks, are not allowed during
tournaments. Furthermore, when competition is held on a raised lei tai
platform it is possible to defeat the opponent by moving (whether by
throwing, striking, or otherwise pushing) him out of the competition area.
Fighters are only allowed to clinch for a few seconds. If the clinch is not
broken by the fighters, and if neither succeeds in throwing his opponent
within the time limit, the referee will break the clinch.
In the US, competitions are held either in boxing rings or on the raised lei
tai platform. Amateur fighters wear protective gear. "Amateur Sanshou"
allows kicks, punches and throws. If the rule set is referred to as "San
Da", knees to the body are also permitted. A competition held in China,
called the "King of Sanda", is held in a ring similar to a boxing ring in
design but larger in dimension. As professionals, they wear no protective
gear except for gloves, cup, and mouthpeice, and are allowed to use knee
strikes (including to the head) as well as kicking, punching and throwing.
Some Sanshou fighters have participated in fighting tournaments such as K-1
and Shoot boxing. They have had some degree of success, especially in Shoot
boxing competitions, which is more similar to Sanshou. Due to the rules of
kickboxing competition, Sanshou fighters are subjected to more limitations
than usual. Also notable competitors in china's mainstream Mixed Martial
Arts competition, Art of War Fighting Championship are dominantly of wushu
Sanshou has been featured in many style-versus-style competitions. Muay Thai
is frequently pitted against Sanshou as is Karate, Kickboxing and Taekwondo.