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Combatives:  Military Martial Arts

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

San Shou

San Shou shi Wushu de Jinghua (San Shou is the Quintessence of Wushu)

The Chinese saying "San Shou is the Quintessence of Wushu" describes the art perfectly. San shou is the full-contact fighting art of modern wushu. In the 1960's, the Chinese government brought together the masters of kung fu from all over China to define a standardized martial system. The resulting art became the standard combatives training for the Chinese military and police forces.

San shou, therefore, incorporates all the best techniques of wushu and kung fu, including kicks, hand strikes, grappling, and throws.

Most san shou competitions look like kickboxing: spectators usually watch two competitors fight as in a kickboxing match, except that the fighters get to use takedowns. In san shou competition, fighters can win by scoring points, knocking out their opponent, or by forcing their opponent out of the ring--similar to sumo wrestling, WWF SmackDown, or Virtua Fighter in that regard. Often, san shou matches are fought on a raised platform known as the "lei tai"--making knocking your opponent out of the ring a ballistic event. While this might sound just like other mixed martial arts events, like the Ultimate Fighting Championships, there are some limitations: knee, elbow, and head butt strikes, and joint locks and chokes, are forbidden.

Military san shou doesn't have such restrictions. Like the division between sport sambo and combat sambo, military san shou incorporates the techniques of sport san shou and emphasizes neutralizing the enemy. As with krav maga, there are no forms, or set sequences of techniques--just pure hand-to-hand combat.

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