Sanda, formerly known as Sanshou is a holistic and full contact fighting system that combines traditional Kung Fu with modern combat methods.  The fighting system, which was developed by the Chinese military, is multifaceted and includes close range kickboxing with grappling techniques, throws and sweeps.  Sanda is also referred to as Chinese Kickboxing.


Free Fighting
Country of Origin
Primary Focus
Sport, Self-defence


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Brief History

This Martial Art originated as a form of bare-handed practice and pressure test for soldiers in the Chinese military.  Soldiers engage in free full contact fighting to hone their hand-to-hand contact skills. 

These free fighting contests were similar to the Lei Tai (elevated fighting arena) contests by rival masters to test and showcase the superiority of their Martial Art.



This full contact Martial Art emphasises free fighting and comprises of:

  • Da – Upper Body Strikes
  • Ti – Lower Body Strikes
  • Shuai – Throws
  • Chin-Na – joint-locks, chokes and submission holds



The Martial Art in Practice

Sanda is a diverse Martial Art that combines elements of traditional kung fu with modern combat disciplines.  It is full-contact and is an effective form of self-defence.  Practitioners learn a broad range of skills and techniques from striking to throwing and takedowns.

Striking is very comprehensive and consists of:

  • Jab
  • Hook
  • Straight Punch
  • Cross
  • Uppercut
  • Backfist
  • Vertical, horizontal and diagonal elbow and knee strikes
  • Front thrust and snap kicks
  • Side kick
  • Hook kick
  • Spinning back kick
  • Roundhouse kick
  • Axe kick


A wide set of takedowns are also included in this fighting system, such as

  • Sweeps
  • Trips
  • Double and single leg takedowns
  • Kick-catch takedowns


Throws are executed from the hip and shoulders.




  • Junshi Sanda - Military variation
  • Wushu Sanda – a standard curriculum of Sanda that is part of the overall Wushu used in sports competition


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