San Shou Kickboxing: Modern challenge fights in Chinese martial arts

Kickboxing North London

It may seem strange that a Wing Chun school should be practicing San Shou (San Da) Kickboxing, but did you know that San Da is now a modern format of combat in which all Chinese martial arts can compete against each other?

It is important to note that within the Chinese martial arts there is a wide spectrum of approaches to fighting. Some arts specialise in Shuai Jiao (throwing techniques) and Chin Na (joint manipulations), while others specialise in striking with the upper or lower body. Some styles specialise in a close range of fighting such as Wing Chun Kung Fu. In the past, Kung Fu schools would fight bare hand on a Lei Tai (a raised platform) to see which was the better fighting art. Consider San Da as the modern development of traditional Lei Tai contests used to test the fighting arts of Kung Fu, but governed by rules to reduce the risk of injury. 

Regardless of the differences in approach to fighting, San Da provides an opportunity for differing Kung Fu styles to compare in a modern arena. There is an agreed set of rules that cover the different ranges of fighting i.e. Long range (kicking & leg catches), Mid Rang (punches, knees, & elbows), Close range (grappling). It is akin to Mixed Martial Arts with no ground fighting, but instead a focus on striking and throwing (stand up fighting).

There are few Chinese Martial Arts Schools that incorporate San Da boxing training into their practice. In keeping with the Chinese tradition of testing your fighting skills on the Lei Tai, we train San Shou (San Da) rules in order to represent the effectiveness of Wing Chun. At our gym, San Da training is taught separately from our ordinary Wing Chun classes in order to allow a greater focus on the sparring and grappling aspects of San Da Kickboxing.


So which is the Best Martial Art?

There is no such thing as the best martial art; all are equally effective for self defence against an ordinary person. However, when comparing martial arts styles against each other then you have to consider that there are shared fighting characteristics (e.g. Timing & Distance Judgement) that cross over to all martial arts regardless of style. If you want to compare styles of fighting then you must also focus on developing attributes that cross over to any martial art and this includes fitness and conditioning.

We believe that in order to learn how to compare to another martial art you must have a full understanding of that specific art and then adapt your techniques and knowledge accordingly. That way we are working to incorporate the movements, characteristics, and theory of Wing Chun in a combative format that is San Da Boxing, while still maintaining the tradition of Chinese Martial Arts.

We are open minded in our approach to training martial arts at the London Wing Chun Academy. In keeping with the Chinese Martial Arts tradition of testing fighting skills in Lei Tai contests, our gym constantly adapts our training  methods, while incorporating modern aspects of into our approach. This makes our gym a unique place to train Wing Chun and completely different from any other Wing Chun school in London. Just look at our Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, strength, fitness, and conditioning program and you will see this for yourself.




The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing ChunSan Shou KickboxingBrazilian Jiu JitsuWC4 Self DefenceYogaFunctional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick BoxingMembership starts from £25 per month. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>