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Sanshou (Sanda) or Chinese Boxing is a martial art that was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the intense study of various traditional methods and combined with advanced technologies in sports medicine and training methodology. Sanshou is practiced as a combat sport, meaning that training is conducted with safety equipment and competitions are conducted under rules restricting certain tactics and techniques designed for the safety of the participants. However, Sanshou is also a competition for martial art that teaches striking, kicking, leg kicks, kick catches, sweeps, takedowns, and throws. The current sport of Sanshou does not include elbow and knee strikes but most Sanshou gyms teach these techniques as well.

The San Shou philosophy is that participation in combat sports is the best road not only to health, fitness, and well-being but to practical self-defense skills as well. To understand better what this means, the student should know the initial elements of the history of Sanda, how and why it was created. In 1924, the Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist Party) established the Whampoa Military Academy in Guangdong (Canton) province, Southern China to train the party's leadership and create a modern military force.

Having formed a strategic alliance with the Soviet Union in January 1923, the academy utilized Soviet methods of establishing party discipline, political indoctrination, and training of military personnel. As Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the leader of the Guomindang said in 1923 "Since we wish to learn their (the Soviet Union's) methods, (Soviet advisor) Mr. (Michael) Borodin were a director of training of our Party." More Soviet advisors arrived in China in 1924, particularly to assist in military training. Of course, military training is what is of great importance to Sanshou. During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Russian forces had suffered heavy losses in close quarters of combat with the Japanese. As a result of these losses, several movements sprung up in Russia concerned with developing better methods of training the military for close-quarters combat (CQC). These movements were later unified and the project made official under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) upon their assumption of power in 1917. The result of this project is what is today known as Sambo. While Sambo was designed to prepare Soviet military and national security forces for real CQC including the use of and defense against bladed weapons and firearms, its creators also felt that a sport form that could be safely practiced on a regular basis was an essential part of the program. Why was a sporting adaptation considered essential to the training? The ability to use your methods in a real situation is dependent upon several factors. First, one must have the tools, offensive and defensive, to get the job done. This is the importance of offering a complete training program under the guidance of a skilled coach. However, the rest of the variables are less obvious but no less important.

Under the tutelage of Soviet advisors, the Chinese endeavored to create a similar method of training their military forces in CQC. In the case of the Chinese, who lacked an industrial base and access to most modern warfare technology, this program seemed perhaps even more important than in the Russian case. The Whampoa military instructors studied the existing Chinese martial arts traditions and created Sanshou. The military San Shou curriculum, designed to prepare military personnel for CQC, addressed what the Chinese had long considered the four basic martial arts skills;


"Da" (Striking) use of fist, open hand, elbow, fingers, head 

"Ti" (Kicking) kicking, sweeping, kneeing, stomping 

"Shuai" (Throw) wrestling, throwing, takedowns 

"Na" (Seizing) joint locks and chokes, i.e. submissions 


In establishing a sports version of Sanshou, which could be practiced in relative safety on the frequent basis necessary for the development of the basic skills and attributes, the decision was made to use kickboxing format. Whether you are verbally harassed, a strike or kick is thrown, you are grabbed or threatened with a weapon, most self-defense situations are initiated while you are standing. Furthermore, being on the ground for any length of time is not advisable both because you are more vulnerable to attack and because the surface itself may present numerous dangers. For these reasons, you should always concentrate on remaining standing and the primary course of study in Sanshou addresses the essential elements of a standing fight. 
Sport Sanshou utilizes striking, kicking, and wrestling but not "submission" ("Na") and/or ground grappling. Originally, elbows and knees were utilized in inter-military Sanshou competition but they have been removed from the international sport version which was established in 1991 with the first world championships. 


The Traditional and Sport Wushu Federation together with the Russian State Academy of Physical Training and Academy of Sports Single combats have to lead the First All-Russia courses of improvement of qualification on traditional Wushu (a direction " the Gold flower ", Tongbei), and to sports and professional versions Sanshou from December, 15 till December, 27th, 2003 in Moscow. Trainers and the instructors having the appropriate preparation and formation have taken part in work of rates, from various regions of the Russian Federation and other countries.​

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