What Is Chinese Wrestling Called?- Shuai Jiao

Among the many martial arts techniques present in China, Shuai Jiao is the oldest. In its earliest form, head butting was allowed, and the players wore a helmet with horns. This technique of Chinese wrestling resembles Judo. But it has unique takedowns not found in other styles. Today, the Shuai Jiao technique has evolved to a high level of sophistication and efficiency. For this reason, Shuai Jiao is part of Kung Fu police and military training in China. In this article, you will learn more about Shuai Jiao, the history, rules, and differences to Judo. 

What is the meaning of Shuai Jiao?

Shuai Jiao, also known as Chinese wrestling, originally meant jacket wrestling. To understand it better, Shuai means ‘to throw to the ground’ and Jiao means ‘horns’. But, in modern use, it means to trip or wrestle using the legs. Conclusively, it means to throw to the ground through wrestling with legs. Thus, it is a stand-up grappling style, and there is no ground grappling even though there are hip throws, hand techniques, and leg sweeps. Ending up in a dominant standing position is the end goal. 

Shuai Jiao rules

There are several rules as you compete in Shuai Jiao. First, you need to be at least 18 years of age. The scoring is in point form, from one to three, and you get no point when you both fall without using the technique. Each match consists of two rounds with different timings for the men and women. The competitor must supply all the necessary uniforms and equipment. Also, you play according to your weight class, and you should be conversant with the allowable and illegal techniques. Additionally, there are fouls where you get verbal warnings and penalties.

Shuai jiao history

chinese wrestling shuai jiao

Shuai jiao has a history of over 4000 years. The first recorded use of the technique is in a military engagement where they used horned helmets and wounded their opponents with a primitive type of grappling. It had different names in various dynasties. Plus, as the techniques improved it evolved from an ancient form of the battlefield to now where masters of the art are employed in the military and police in several nations worldwide. 

Shuai Jiao vs Judo

Shuai Jiao is also known as Chinese wrestling. It is a Chinese martial art with a primary focus to undermine the opponent with its unique focus on stand-up grappling techniques. On the other hand, Judo is a Japanese martial arts style and focuses on controlling and overpowering the opponent through grappling techniques and takedowns. 


Shuai Jiao is a form of martial art you can use as a competitive sport, for self-defense, and as a way to exercise and stay fit. Today it is gaining popularity and is more accessible. For this reason, more competent teachers are now teaching outside of China. Plus, its effectiveness is still being proven as a martial art in street and close military combat. 

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