Shuai Chiao is a complete self defense system of the Chinese martial arts. It developed from fighting techniques to become a tournament sport and self defense style. The artist applies the techniques vigorously and efficiently in order to subdue his opponent with the least possible amount of harm.
From the point of view of modern athletics, Shuai shiao is a sport which has benefits beyond the general advantages of participation in physical activity (e.g., physical fitness, general health, mental alertness, enhanced coordination, etc.). The study of Shuai Chiao enables the student to defend himself without weapons. Because the emphasis of the art is to subdue the opponent as painlessly as possible, the art is regarded primarily as one of throwing techniques. However, it also teaches punching, striking, kicking, grabbing, controlling, breaking and other effective martial techniques to employ if necessary.
Shuai Chiao has a distinct advantage In that one can actually practice and apply the techniques without fear of injuring anyone. For example, in the fist styles it is impossible to actually apply many techniques in practice because of their seriously incapacitating nature. Therefore, in practice one must either pull one's techniques, or stop short of the target, or wear heavy and cushioned protective gear thereby distorting one's focus, coordination, timing, etc.
Shuai Chiao, however, alleviates this problem because one can practice the real and effective techniques as much as one desires. Also, because Shuai Chiao does not depend on contrived circumstances (i.e., having bulky uniforms to grab, someone approaching for attack in an unrealistic manner, etc.), the practice of its techniques always relate to real situations. This is because Shuai Chiao is based upon the natural laws of force and energy, and the principles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Since Shuai Chiao relies on controlling the opponent at the joints rather than on grabbing uniforms or clothing, it is applicable under the normal conditions in which one lives.
Another benefit of Shuai Chiao training and practice is that the sparring is actual simulated combat. There are really no differences between sparring and combat except that in practice one is extra careful not to harm the adversary. The value of this is that one can experience all of the conditions of an actual combat situation, and therefore, in the event such a situation should really occur, the Shuai Chiao artist would be better prepared, and stand a much improved chance of successfully handling it.
A similitude is the example of someone who is an accurate shot in basketball practice, but cannot score in a real game. As long as you are shooting from wherever you please, with nobody defending and no pressure involved, you can perhaps become extremely accurate. But if you never practice in an actual game, perhaps you can never learn to get open to shoot, or cannot shoot with someone guarding you, or cannot develop the proper and necessary mental attitude or strategy. This way, despite all of your practice shooting, you are unprepared for an actual contest.
Shuai Chiao Training conquers this fault. Not only do you gain strength and speed, and skill and precision in techniques through solo practice, but also you get the opportunity to test your skill, and the reliability of your techniques in a combat situation. The student also becomes accustomed to the pressures of such a situation, and can test his strategies and tactics. This leads the student to a truer understanding of the principles involved, because If the student adheres to the principles, his techniques will be successful. And if he strays from the principles he will fail; and, most importantly, the student will understand why he failed before it is too late.
Often we see a martial artist who appears strong and performs beautiful and elegant forms, yet when confronted with a combat or sparring match, proves unable to get it together. Although this artist may be able to break many boards, or kick and punch a bag with tremendous power and accuracy, because these bricks and bags are not alive and moving, and thinking and skillful as he, the situation is contrived and not practical.
Shuai Chiao training through its many facets solves this. From solo practice and sparring the artist learns to coordinate his mind, energy, speed, strength, accuracy and techniques to be successful in any situation.
Shuai Chiao also includes techniques, some extremely debilitating, even deadly, directed against the opponent's vital points. However, for obvious reasons, these are not allowed in tournaments. Only the advanced students are taught these techniques.
There are numerous proverbs that describe the true spirit of Shuai Chiao. One is "the moment you are touched is the moment you lose, or are thrown." Another is that "even if you are inferior to your opponent in throwing techniques, never allow him to control you. Always by virtue of your hand techniques and body movement keep your opponent under your control." (Thus it is better even to be thrown than to be controlled.) Also there is the proverb that "one year of Shuai Chiao training is superior to three years of training in any other fist style."
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