Chinese Qin Na or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
These very interesting photographs depicting Chinese Qin Na, or “joint locks,” . The joint locks shown on these grainy, black and white photos taken at the turn of the century (1900) in Southern China, show a striking resemblance to submission holds commonly used in what most of the western MMA world refer to as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This raises the age old question of where did the grappling martial arts originate?
A Brief History of Modern Chinese Martial Arts:
After all the bloodshed of World War 2 (1945) and then China’s Civil War (1950’s), it was the sentiment of China’s newly formed Communist Government that “brother should not fight brother” and subsequently the practice of all “full contact” martial arts were banned. It was during this time that, “forms” or Tao Lu, were invented. Tao Lu, which are the dance-like, choreographed moves that many people associate with Chinese Kung Fu, are nothing more than stamina and coordination exercises that gave the Chinese people an opportunity to practice something they craved, martial arts, without having to break the government ban on full contact martial arts. During the time period between the 1960’s and 1970’s martial arts as a whole lost favor with the government and as such, martial arts instructors and practitioners either left the country or ceased to practice their art. Some continued to practice in secrecy, but there was very little public promotion or acknowledgement. As a result, full contact Chinese martial arts suffered heavily as a result of the exodus of skilled instructors and practitioners.
It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s did the government begin to change its stance towards full contact martial arts. During the 1980’s it was deemed that the practice of full contact martial arts was indeed good and Chinese Sanda was born. Sanda resembles what the western world refers to as kick boxing. It incorporates the common forms of striking, punches and kicks, with throws, but adds an element unique to traditional Chinese martial arts, the jie tui or “leg catch.” The jie tui technique is utilized when an opponent throws a kick at you, and you simultaneously catch your opponents leg and sweep him to the ground at the same time. It is a very explosive technique that requires speed and accuracy. This technique has been demonstrated in professional MMA competition by Sanda (known as San Shou in the west) expert Kung Le. On another note, contrary to popular western belief, the word “Kung Fu” doesn’t mean martial art, nor is it a type of martial art. Directly translated, kung fu means “great skill.” Therefore, someone can have kung fu in cooking, martial arts, carpentry or even underwater basket weaving. The word Kung Fu has become a blanket term used to describe martial arts.
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