Shuai jiao (Chinese: 摔跤 or 摔角; pinyin: Shuāijiāo; Wade-Giles: Shuai-chiao) is a Chinese martial art which combines grappling and striking. It was originally only a style of sport wrestling, but later striking and blocking were added to it. It sometimes also refers to modern Chinese and Mongolian wrestling.
The word "shuai," 摔, stands for "to throw onto the ground", while "jiao" may be one of two characters: the first and older, 角, stands for "horns" and the second and recent, 跤, stands for "wrestle or trip using the legs". In modern Chinese Shuai Jiao is always written using the more recent characters 跤, and should be translated as "to throw onto the ground through wrestling with legs". The use of the character 角 is due to the fact that in the earliest form of Shuaijiao, players wore helmet with horns and head-butting was allowed. This form of Shuaijiao is called 'Ciyou Xi'.
Shuaijiao can be divided into the following styles:
Beijing Style - This is in essence the lineage from the Manchu Buku style that was practised by the Imperial Palace Guard, Shan Pu Ying (善扑营, literally the Expert in Wrestling Unit). The main characteristic is the use of the legs to kick and off-balance opponents. It is considered a gentler style than the Tianjin Style.
Tianjin Style - This is the lineage of Ming Dynasty Shuaijiao mixed with Manchu Buku. The main characteristic is the use of legs to kick and off-balance. It is considered a harder and rougher style than the Beijing Style.
Baoding Style - This is the lineage that is called Kuai Jiao (Fast Wrestling). The main characteristic is the fast application of technique. Another characteristic is the adaptation of Shaolin Quan from Ping Jingyi, a famous teacher of Shuaijiao who learned Shaolin style from the Meng family of Nanguan County even though he was a Muslim Hui.
The above three styles are sometimes called Hebei Style Shuaijiao or simply Shuaijiao. Wrestlers wear a jacket called Dalian.
Shanxi Style - This is the lineage of Song Dynasty Shuaijiao. It is mainly practised in the counties between the mining city of Datong in northern Shanxi and the provinvial capital Taiyuan in central Shanxi. The main characteristic is leg catching techniques, as traditonally wrestlers wear only tight knee-length pants.
Mongol Style - This is the lineage from Mongol Boke.
Xinjiang Style - This is the lineage from various Turkic styles. The main characteristic is waist techniques.
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