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  • (San Shou, San-Shou) (Contributor: Edmund Tsoi - nelumbo@globalserve.net) Intro: In Chinese, Sanshou (loose hands) refers to the free application of all the realistic hand-to-hand combat skills of Gongfu. It is divided into three categories: Sport Sanshou (Chinese Kickboxing), Civilian Sanshou, and Military Sanshou (AKA Qinna Gedou). Origin: China History: After fighting directly with the superior American forces during the Korean War, the Chinese government realized that new scientific R&D is important for its military forces. Army chief Peng Dehuai directed a great military training campaign (Da Be Wu) after the war. Martial arts masters from each of China's 92 provinces were brought together with medical experts to compare and evaluate their techniques. A new hand-to-hand combat system was developed based on three criteria: simplicity, directness, and effectiveness against a larger, stronger opponent. This system of fighting was thoroughly tested in training camps throughout China, and in border conflicts with Soviet troops. The Chinese military published manuals on Sanshou in 1963 and 1972. Besides military Sanshou, civilian Sanshou continued to be developed by underground martial arts schools and individual martial artists in communist China. Civilian Sanshou warriors sharpened their skills by street championships where they challenged each other. These kinds of challenges were very popular during the cultural revolution (1966-76) and usually ended by being broken up by the police. In recent years, sport Sanshou has been developed and promoted by the Chinese government. In the early years (1980s), there were no formal championships for Sanshou. Only demonstrations were available on national T.V. Most of the Sanshou participants were military and police men. Therefore, sport Sanshou kept its flavour of military kickboxing and wrestling. Lately, the Chinese government have promoted Sanshou into a nation-wide sport and held formal national and international championships every year. Description: The Sanshou as practiced by the Chinese military is based on the Chinese Art of War, physics, anatomy, bio-mechanics, and human physiology. It is a complete system of realistic unarmed combat covering the skills of striking, grappling, wrestling, groundfighting, and weapon defenses taken from various Chinese and foreign martial arts and hand-to-hand combat styles. It focuses on applying the principles of combat rather than on techniques. The various divisions of the military and police force have slight differences in technique, but they all employ the same principles. Because of the increase of violent crimes in China, civilian Sanshou was created by the Chinese government so that Chinese civilians can learn self defense skills. It is also a complete system of striking and grappling, but without the lethal techniques that are required in the military. Many "underground" martial artists also developed Sanshou fighting skills. The sport of Sanshou is rising in popularity all over the world. It is a kickboxing style that is fought on a platform called a "Lei Tai". Fighters wear boxing gloves, headgear, and body protectors. It is full contact kicking and punching with throws and sweeps allowed. Knees, elbows, headbutts, joint manipulation and chokes are not allowed, but fighters can be thrown off the platform. Training: Military and civilian Sanshou training involves many punching, kicking, grappling, wrestling, groundfighting, and weapon defense drills with a partner. Contact sparring with protective gear is also emphasized. This is where the different skills are blended together into one fluid art. There are no forms or formal stances, and no qigong exercises. Sport Sanshou training is similar to kickboxing training, except that throws and sweeps are also drilled extensively. Physical conditioning is also important in sport full-contact fighting. In Toronto Canada, Sanshou instruction is available through Chinese Self-Defense Studies, the first and only organization outside of China that teaches Military Sanshou. Information on Chinese Self-Defense Studies can be found at the following http://www.globalserve.net/~nelumbo/sanshou.htm. Sub-styles: Military Sanshou (AKA Qinna Gedou) Civilian Sanshou Sport Sanshou (Chinese Kickboxing)

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