Shuai jiao applications

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Grappling or wrestling is generally seen to constitute vigorous attempts to throw, lock or hold the other person. It is a form of fighting that is extremely tiring.
The 'internal' equivalent is somewhat different.

Three types of grappling

Three avenues of internal grappling are explored in the syllabus:

  1. Pushing hands

  2. Shuai jiao

  3. Chin na

Pushing hands

Pushing hands (and the other
sensitivity exercises) teach the student how to connect, follow and neutralise the attacker. You must be fluid, mobile and adaptive.
The aim is to work in response to the ongoing actions of your partner.

Shuai jiao

Shuai jiao is concerned with floor work, throws, escapes and take downs. The applications are spontaneous and must emerge with the flow of events.
There is an external version of shuai jiao. It is often treated as a competition sport and the body is employed differently to tai chi.

Dealing with a grappler (shuai jiao)

A lot of time can be wasted wrestling. Both parties may become tired and clumsy. Sifu Waller advocates an immediate response to a grapple.
Do not mess around. Do not 'play their game' or do it their way. Get out of the situation quickly. Slip the attack.

Caught up?

If 'caught up', distraction is best. It divides the attention and will create an opening for you to exploit. This is part of 'see the left, see the right' from the 13 methods.

Freeform triangle

If you need to escape from a hold, you cannot use shuai jiao. Shuai jiao is about slipping an attack. It requires the attacker to be in movement. Chin na is for holds.
This follows the precept of the freeform triangle...


Having escaped/evaded the attacker, do not stand there waiting for applause. Incapacitate the assailant efficiently and leave. Messing about will only increase the likelihood of further confrontation.
Do only what is necessary and depart without fanfare.

When I'm throwing you, you don't feel a lot of force, you don't feel a lot of anything; we're kind of moving around and suddenly you fall. That's internal.

(Tim Cartmell)


Abrupt, jerky, fast movement alerts the nervous system and tenses your muscles. Seek to be smooth, soft, calm and comfortable. Do not rush or dither.
Take decisive action, but work at easy, normal-seeming movement. A
hurried person has no control, no composure.
Use your sensitivity. Be cunning. 4 ounces of pressure, root, yielding and calm are essential. Avoid aggression at all costs.

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Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023