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Sanshou (Chinese: 散手, lit. free hand) or Sanda (Chinese: 散打, lit. free fighting) is a modern Chinese hand to hand combat, self-defense system, and combat sport. Rather seen as an independent style it is consider just one of the components of chinese martial arts and is normally taught alongside other wushu. The term Sanda has a longer history and is more commonly used. Sanshou was the official name given to the martial art when it was formalized and standardized by the Chinese government. Later the official name reverted back to Sanda.

It is composed of some aspects of traditional martial arts fighting styles in China, but mainly based on scientific one on one combat efficiency. Sanshou is composed of chinese martial arts applications inculding most aspects of combat including striking and grappling. Sanda tournaments are one of the two sport wushu disciplines recognized by the International Wushu Federation[1].

Sanshou's history involved barehanded or "lei tai" fights of which no rules existed. However as a competitive event sanshou developed in the military as these bouts were commonly held between the soldiers to test and practise barehanded martial skills, ablility and techniques. Rules were developed and the use of protective gloves etc. were adopted. It was originally by the nationalist party (KMT) at the first modern military academy in Whampoa in the 1920's. Later it was also adopted as a method by the People's Liberation Army of China.

One can see Sanshou as a synthesis of traditional Chinese kung fu fighting techniques into a more amorphous system and is commonly taught alongside traditional chinese styles of which sanshou techniques, theory and training methods are derived from. The emphasis of Sanshou is on realistic fighting ability.

As an unarmed self-defense system, Sanshou includes punches, kicks and grappling (throws, locks, chokes)

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  • Sanshou.com - Official San Shou Kung Fu Kickboxing Resource

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