Shuai Jiao (China)

Shuai Jiao (China)

  • Name of sport (game): Shuai Jiao
  • Name in native language: Chinese: 摔跤 or 摔角; pinyin: Shuāijiāo
  • Place of practice (continent, state, nation):


  • History:

    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, 2,697BC. 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). Throughout the centuries, the hands and arms replaced the horns while the techniques increased and improved. The name Jiao Ti also changed and was referred to by many names popular at that time in history or by government decree.
    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. Over many centuries the art was taught to the Imperial Military. And in this century is taught in the police and military academies of China and Taiwan (ROC). Shuai Jiao embodies the principles of both Internal and External styles and the vast majority of martial arts have their roots in Shuai Jiao.
    In ancient times, practitioners of Shuai Jiao competed against one another bare-chested, in modern times training is undertaken in a heavy quilted canvas cotton jacket. One important point is that Shuai Jiao does not depend on the opponent’s jacket or clothing in order to throw them. The priority is to grab the muscle and bone through the clothing in order to control and throw the opponent. The use of the competitor’s jacket, that has short sleeves above the elbows and the jacket itself wraps tightly around the torso with a canvas belt, adds variety of techniques in controlling and throwing the opponent. Fast footwork using sweeps, inner hooks and kicks to the opponent’s leg are combined with the controlling-striking arms that create a two directional action making a powerful throw. Chinese martial arts pants and wrestling boots are usually worn, but bare feet are acceptable for the novice.
    There are many other major styles of Shuai Jiao: Beijing; Tian Jin; Mongolian (Boke); and Bao Ding which is also referred to as Kuai Shuai (Fast Wrestling). There are diverse types of wrestling indigenous to the minority groups in China such as the Uighurs in Sinkiang and Yis in Yunan province. Most of the Shuai Jiao practitioners in the late Qing Dynasty were based in the Northern China; until the establishment of the Republic of China 1911, when the art was then introduced to Southern China.
    Famous masters of the late Qing early Republic of China are: Ping Qing-I, Chang Feng-Yen, Pai Chun-Feng, Ku Jui-Nien, Man Lao-Ming, Shih Lao-Chin, An Lao-Hua, Wu Szu, Shan Tien-Pao, Li Jui-Tung, Chu Kuo-Chen, Wang Tzu-Qing and Ma Liang. They followed by the well known figures of modern Shuai Jiao: Chang Tung-Sheng, Chang Tung-Ju, Chang Tung-Po, Chang Tung-Chi, Yen Shan-I and Ma Wen-Kuei of the Bao Ding style; and Shen San, Yang Chun-Hen, and Pao Shan of the Beijing style; and Mu Hsiang-Kuei, Lui Shao-Tseng and Pu En-Fu of the Tian Jin style.
    When the Nationalist Government established itself on Taiwan (ROC) in 1949, a few champions of Shuai Jiao migrated to Taiwan (ROC) and introduced Shuai Jiao. The most famous Master was Chang Tung-Sheng, others recognised Shuai Jiao Masters are: Jeng Hsing-Ping, David Lin, Chi-Hsui Daniel Weng (USA), Li Wing-Kay (Brazil), Yuan Tzu-Mou (France), Hwang Ching-Zeng (Germany), and Luis Lin (Sweden). These Masters have been responsible for promoting Shuai Jiao overseas to Europe, the United States and South America. The next generation includes Masters: Chang Da-Wei (Taiwan ROC) – the grandson of Chang Tung-Sheng – Rob Simpson (United Kingdom), and Antonio Langiano (Italy).
    Modern Shuai Jiao evolved from an ancient form of battlefield combat. Its techniques are the culmination of tested grappling experience in the best environment – the battlefield. This practical and devastatingly efficient method of combat has evolved into a sophisticated and effective – no nonsense – system of martial arts. Its philosophy shares the same principle of internal systems of Chinese martial arts: Yin and Yang. In fact, the advanced Shuai Jiao practitioner utilises both Internal and External principles and views these principles as two sides of the same coin meeting at a junction, and complimenting each other, but coming from totally different origins. In modern times Shuai Jiao Masters are employed by the police and military of a number of nations across the world including China and Taiwan (ROC). So even today, Shuai Jiao’s effectivness as a martial art is still being proven, in both close military combat and the street.

  • Description:

    The first combination of combat techniques historically used by the Imperial Army consisted of throws, arm and leg strikes, joint steals (knees, wrists, elbows), attacks on strategic body parts, and joint breaks and throws.
    The footwork of the undercuts, internal hooks and kicks to the opponent's legs are combined with the controlling striking punches of the arms, resulting in a two-way action. The result is the opponent's throw.
    Nowadays, training takes place in heavy quilted outfits made of cotton canvas. Using a player uniform that has short sleeves above the elbows and the caftan itself wrapped tightly around the torso with a cloth belt provides many techniques for controlling and throwing the opponent.


    The priority is to take the opponent down whilst standing over them. You may even get points deducted if you secure a takedown yet touch your hands on the floor in doing so. Basically, the idea is to floor the opponent without entering the ground yourself.
    Another distinct aspect of the art is the use of leg grabs.
    The way break falls are taught in Shuai Jiao it is different than in Judo, here you almost curl up into a ball before hitting the ground. This is due to training originating on a hard floor which changed the way in which break falls were thought about. Thousands of years later, and they are still taught in their own, distinct style.


    Rules for Shuai Jiao - source:

    General Rules
    • The Age Limit for Shuai Jiao is 18 – 45 yrs.
    • If there are less than 2 competitors in an age group, the judges reserve the right to combine age groups.
    • Mandatory Safety Equipments: Shuai Jiao Jackets, wrestling shoes (all other soft soled shoes subject to approval), long pants, and support cup
    • Unless competitors already have their own uniform and equipment, the tournament will provide: Shuai Jiao Yi (Jacket) and Shuai Jiao Dai (Belt) to indicate Blue or Red. The contestants should also wear: Shuai Jiao Kuzi (martial arts trousers) the preferred option is Blue trousers with a Red Stripe. Black martial arts trousers are also acceptable. The contestant should also wear Shuai Jiao Xie (Wrestling Boots) or martial arts shoes. The wearing of jewelry, piercings and other adornments is strictly prohibited.
    • The format for the match will be continuous sparring. During the match time will be stopped for: offenses and warnings; uniform and equipment failure; and to seek medical advice.
    • Weigh-in time is 8a.m. to 9:30a.m. at the Shuai Jiao ring. If a competitor missed the weigh-in time, weigh-in will take place at the time when the competitor is called to compete.

    Duration of Bout
    • Each bout is 3 rounds; each round is 2 minutes with 30 minute rest in between each round.

    Allowed Styles
    • All wrestling styles are welcome to participate under the Shuai Jiao rules
    • Sambo, Mongolian, Freestyle, Greco-Roman

    Allowable Techniques
    • Throwing, sweeping, takedowns, wrestling, standing grappling, and shoot techniques; use opponent’s jacket, belt, or limbs to execute allowable techniques.

    Illegal Techniques
    • Strike the opponent with the head, digits, palm, fist, forearm, elbow, knee, shin or foot; bite, spit or gouge the opponent; attempt to dislocate the opponent’s joints; attempt to break the opponent’s bones; pull the opponent’s hair; pull the opponent’s trousers; pull the opponent down once thrown; continue to grapple on the area once the opponent has been thrown; stamp or stand on the opponent’s foot; use the hand or forearm to cover the opponents face; and block continuously (to a count of 5 seconds) without attempting any techniques.

    • Competitors will be matched by gender, age and weight, in the first instance, to the following weight categories. If there are insufficient numbers to run a category (i.e. less than two contestants) then categories may be combined at the discretion of our judges.

    Scoring Points
    • 1 Point
         • Contestant remains standing whilst causing the opponent to touch down on the area with: a hand; an elbow; or a knee.
         • Contestant throws/sweeps/takes down the opponent causing them to land on their back; and lands on top of the opponent’s torso.
         • Contestant forces the opponent to step out of area. Opponent falls through his/her own imbalance.
    • 2 Points
         • Contestant remains standing while causing the opponent to touch down on the area with: one hand and one knee; both hands; both elbows; and/or both knees simultaneously.
         • Contestant remains standing while effectively sweeping or throwing the opponent causing the opponent to land on his/her head, side, chest or bottom.
         • Contestant effectively throws the opponent causing the opponent to land on his/her side or back; and remains standing.
    • 3 Points
         • Contestant effectively throws the opponent, causing the opponent to rotate through a minimum of 180 degrees and to land on his/her back, and constestant remains standing and balanced.
    • No Points
         • Both contestants fall simultaneously or leave the area without the use of recognized technique or acceptable countering or finishing technique.

    Competitors may use the following techniques: Shuai Jiao (throwing, wrestling and standing grappling); Kuai Chiao (fast throwing – shoot techniques); Da Shuai (open hand techniques to throw/sweep/take down); Na Shuai (joint manipulation to throw/sweep/take down); Dian Shuai (pressure point manipulation to throw/sweep/take down). The competitor may make use of the opponent’s jacket, belt, or anatomical handles to execute his/her technique.

    Winning the Match
    • The winner is determined by the highest score at the end of the two rounds. In the event of a draw the Executive Referee and Assistant Referees will meet with the Chief Referee to determine the winner based on the most technically active performance.

    Warnings and Penalties
    • The Referee may give a private or public warning, or disqualify a contestant depending on the seriousness of a foul or offense.
    • First Warning: no point penalty.
    • Second Warning: one point penalty.
    • Third Warning: disqualification.

    Weight Classes
    • Men’s Featherweight: (145 lbs & Under)
    • Men’s Lightweight: (146 – 155 lbs)
    • Men’s Welterweight: (156 – 170 lbs)
    • Men’s Middleweight: (171 – 185 lbs)
    • Men’s Light Heavyweight: (186 – 205 lbs)
    • Men’s Heavyweight: (206 lbs & Above)
    • Women’s Lightweight: (125 lbs & Under)
    • Women’s Welterweight: (126 – 135 lbs)
    • Women’s Middleweight: (136 – 145 lbs)
    • Women’s Light Heavyweight: (146 lbs & above)
    • If there are less than 2 competitors in an age group, the judges reserve the right to combine age groups.

  • Current status:

    The World Shuai Jiao Federation (WSJF) was formally establised in Langfang, China, on 27 August 2019. The induction was held in Langfang, China (just outside of Beijing) in the beautiful headquarters of the newly formed federation.
    The founding 26 organizations representing were: Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese-Taipei, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
    The top WSJF leadership consists of President Wang Peng, China; Vice-President Da-Wei “David” Chang, Chinese Taipei; VicePresident Wing Kay Li, Brazil; Vice-President Chi-hsiu Daniel Weng, USA; and Secretary General Chenxu Zhou, China.
    The purpose of the World Shuaijiao Federation is to inherit and carry forward the skills and culture of Chinese Shuaijiao and to promote the healthy and orderly development of the sport.

    The European Shuai Jiao Union (ESJU) was established in 2005 to promote and develop Chinese wrestling (Shuai Jiao) in Europe. The ESJU has grown to become the governing body for Chinese wrestling in Europe. The ESJU is governed by the ESJU Council and constitution.
    The European Shuai Jiao Union (ESJU) was established and formally constituted in Oropesa, Castellon, Spain, on 12 June 2005. The ESJU founding member states are: France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The ESJU have developed a programme management approach to the promotion and development of Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling) in Europe: to ensure the effective delivery of its objectives. The ESJU is the official governing body for Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling) in Europe, and is recognised by the international governing bodies based in the People's Republic of China and Taiwan (ROC). The official logo of the ESJU (pictured top left) is based on the flag of the European Union.
    The ESJU is an a-political and non-profit making organisation. The Executive of the ESJU is the Council of the ESJU which is composed of the Presidents of each of the national Shuai Jiao unions, authorised to act on behalf of their union. The President of each national Shuai Jiao union is a resident in the country or region whose interests that they represent.
    The ESJU is composed of national and regional Shuai Jiao unions from within Europe. Membership is restricted to those countries belonging to the European continent. Under the constitution of the ESJU, the European continent is bounded to the north by the Arctic Ocean to the west by the Atlantic Ocean to the South by the Mediterranean Sea and to the east by the Black Sea and the Ural Mountains. The only current exceptions to this definition are Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and islands situated in the Mediterranean Sea. Applications for membership of the ESJU from countries determined to be outside this definition of Europe must be considered by the Executive Board of the Council of the ESJU.

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  • Contacts:

    World Shuai Jiao Federation (WSJF)
    logo world shuaijiao federation

    European Shuai Jiao Union
    European Shuai Jiao Union
    151 Strathmore Avenue
    LU1 3QP
    United Kingdom
    Telephone: +44 1582 876700
    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    European Shuai Jiao Federation


    An example of a national federations:

    Deutscher Shuai Jiao Verband e.V.
    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    German Federation

    United States Shuai Chiao Association
    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Telephone +1 408-647-2400

    USA federation

    British Shuai Jiao Union
    151 Strathmore Avenue
    LU1 3QP
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Telephone: +44 1582 876700

    British Shuai Jiao Union

  • Sources of information :

    History (in Polish) -

    History of Shuai Jiao - Part One:
    History of Shuai Jiao - Part Two:
    History of Shuai Jiao - Part Three:


    The information contained in the article comes from the following sources:

    Source of photos used in this article:

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