San Da is a martial art, which was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon intense study of various traditional methods. San Da is a complete martial art that teaches punching, kicking, leg kicks, knees, elbows, kick catches, sweeps, takedowns and throws. In 1991, China introduced an amateur sport version of San Da and in 1992 Master Leon Chiu began teaching San Da at Acton, West London. In 1997, the first attempts were made both in China and in the United States to establish professional matches. These matches are referred to as San Shou, a newer term, which the Chinese use to describe full combat fighting.

What is San Da

Sanda means free sparring in Chinese, using mix martial art skills to undermined your opponent with barrage of sequential motions either through combination of kicking or boxing, following by holding and submission techniques to gain absolute victory.

The San Da Front Kick

A charging opponent can be stopped either by a front of sidekick, this is an effective technique in keeping a distance. As Bruce Lee said, the best offence and also be the best defence Intercepting an attack with your own counter attack is the highest form of "defence" in San Da. Intercepting is often achieved through use of the lead leg as it is closet to your opponent and thus will reach its target the most quickly. Front leg kicks are used to probe, as "stop hits" to break momentum, to maintain distance and attack vital areas through the element of surprise.

Stop Kick

Stop kick is also a defence technique and the two most common "stop kicks" are the leading front leg thrust, and the lead led sidekick. As the rear foot retreats, keep the weight on the rear leg as you retract the lead foot. The lead foot will thus be "light" and kicking with it will be made easy.

The Lead Leg Front Kick

The lead leg front kick is ideal for a fighter who stands square and uses more hand techniques. The forward knee is raised and the hips thrust the foot forward. The ball of the foot is used and thrust towards the opponent’s chest, solar plexus or abdomen. The kick is thrust out straight, horizontally to take account of forward momentum and body weight of the attacker, This will double if not triple the power of the kick. In some circumstances the kick to the hip joint is particularly effective as a "stop hit" against the rear leg round kick.

The San Da Turning Kick

The San Da turning kick is a form of the San Da circular kick or roundhouse kick. The San Da round kick is a shin or instep kick that can be used to strike the calf, the thigh, the ribs, the neck or the temple. With regular practise this technique is an extremely useful tool and if used properly it can be a very devastating kick. The devastation of the turning kick comes from the hips swings and the leg follow like a baseball bat, the centrifugal force of the kick hits the target at a tangent, kicking through the target and not at it. The turning kick is the key to hand / leg combinations, providing limitless combination of moves and permutation of choice. Learning to not only defends against a skilful kicking combination but to also find an opening for counter attack is an important advanced skill. For example, an experience fighter will change the levels of his round kicks as he attacks, drawing attention to a low point with his legs and then attacking a higher point with his hands. This is what Bruce lee called Attack by Deception or ABD. However, at the same time; an experience practitioner in counter attacks can find an opportunity when attacked in similar manner. The defender leaves an opening to lure the attacker to an attack and then counter attack follow by a barrage of appropriate combinations or ABO (Attack By Opening).

San Da Holds, Take Downs and Catches

Catch a kick and then throw your opponent off balance, kick out their supporting leg or push them away to a distance. San Da catches are used to break the opponents combinations and while off balance counter attack his weakness created by the catch. The hold is an extremely useful defence particular when the defender is feeling tired or receiving too much damage as the result of an attack, holding your opponent is both a natural and extremely effective defence. All fighters should learn how to respond when seized in the submission. Whether you initiate the hold or not, you must first establish control and balance. The first few seconds are the most important and the most dangerous during a close counter. Once you have established entry, you have several options. In San Da, usually the hold is used to set up take down techniques.

A Good Take Down

A good take down can inflict as much damage, if not more, than a furious combination. The low level hook kick and stamp kick are two of the most basic San Da take down techniques and introduces the fundamental concept of placing your centre of gravity in front and below your opponent in order to imbalance and manipulate them. This basic principle is used in a wide variety of other take down techniques. In the hook or stamp kick, you pivot your body in order to place your leg behind and below your opponent. Your arm is wrapped either around the waist, hand, and shoulder or around the head depending upon how you clinched. Bend your knees and pull your opponent backward, unbalancing them.

San Da Light Sparring

Regular control fighting sequence will help to improve timing, distancing and focusing. The purpose of practising techniques with a partner is not to fight full out or go full speed and power. It is important that the partners learn self-control while practising offensive and defensive techniques, like lion cups, we need to simulate fighting sequences to sharpen reflexes, learning how to fight while limiting damages. By sparring regularly, the student will learn the best offensive combinations, how and when to use them, as well as when and how to retreat after a combination. In this way, the student will learn the most efficient defences after a combination is being delivered and what are the most appropriate responses to these techniques.

San Da Competition

This is the final test of Sanda skill, the years of hard work and dedication can be played out in full on top of the arena or Lei Tei. However, winning a competition is no means of confirming self-defence skills competence or mastery of martial arts. Becoming a champion merely means the champion is the best person in fulfilling the rules and criteria of the competition. Any competition is restricted by rules for health and safety reasons hence wining a competition do not equate to expert in street self-defence. However, it does offer self-motivation, a sense of achievement and a test of courage. The fitness level, the will power and skill required winning a competition means that the competitor had reached a respectable level of competence and for that such achievement should be respected.