Just recently I heard about a Chinese fighting art ….. on the tennis court!
As I was talking with a team mate, I learned from him that he had been a practitioner of a style I had briefly heard about years back, but I never really looked into any deeper.
Originated in China the style is called Sanshou (free hand) and at times Sanda (free fighting).
It is both a self-defense system and a combat sport.
Sanshou combines a number of extremely vital and effective elements such as kicking, punching, throwing, grappling and applying joint locks.
One of Sanshou’s special emphasis is the so-called kick-catch, whereby one person throws a kick and the other person catches the kick and then trips the other person’s leg they are standing on.
Thinking about it, that’s what we even practiced way back in my Shotokan karate days. I just made that connection while writing this.
Sanshou as a sport is regulated by a bunch of different rules depending on amateur or professional status and also on the location of where the fights take place like China or the U.S.
Among all the successful and very skilled Sanshou fighters, one practitioner has really stood out for me during the years and he has without a doubt made a name for himself. He is the Vietnamese American kickboxer, mixed martial artist and actor, simply known as Cung Le from San Jose, California.
Cung Le has won too many titles and championships to list here, but I will mention that he won the Strikeforce Middleweight World Championship by beating legendary mixed martial arts champion Frank Shamrock about 2 years ago. Cung Le actually broke his opponent’s arm by executing devasting kicks during their fight.
Cung Le has been actively pursuing his career on the Big Screen and was awarded a role in Bodyguards And Assassins starring Donnie Yen which was released last December.
I found a video clip that I think you will enjoy if you like action-filled fight scenes. Warning: It can be a little rough and tough at times.