Sanda (or Sanshou) is the combat sport component of the Wushu (Chinese martial art) system.  Sanda was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the study and practices of traditional Kung fu and modern combat fighting techniques.  It combines all practical modern combat and fighting techniques, plus traditional Chinese martial art influences of ChinNa (seize & control joint methods) and ShuaiJiao (wrestling).  At first glance, Sanda looks like MMA and kickboxing, but it competes on a different set of rules and competitors have a different range of techniques that can be utilised. 

As part of the development of Sport Wushu by the Chinese government, a standard curriculum for Sanda was developed, with reference to traditional Chinese martial arts and backed by scientific efficiency.  


Competing in Sanda

The Sanda competition is a full contact fight between 2 competitors that takes place on top of an 8m x 8m raised platform known as the “Lei Tai”.  Sanda allows all forms of punches, kicks, grabs and throws from any school of Wushu.  The legal areas for attack are the head, body and legs.  There are 3 restricted areas, the back of the head, the throat and groin.  Attacking a fallen opponent is not allowed, except when he falls deliberately due to the execution of an offensive technique. Sanda protective gear typically includes the use of boxing gloves, mouthpiece, groin cup, helmet, chest protector, shin guards, instep guards, trunks and t-shirt (optional). The Lei Tai is 60 cm high and surrounded by protective mats 2m wide.

The use of combined punches, kicks, sweeps, grabs, throws and push in Sanda is very unique.  The  pushing of an opponent off the platform is not found in other combat sports.  Sanda scoring system is simple, a general guide to scoring points being:

2 Points:

- pushing the opponent off the platform

- throwing the opponent down and remaining standing

- by kicking the opponent's head or body

- by sweeping the opponent down from the floor and standing up.

1 Point:

- punching the opponent's head or body

- kicking the opponent's legs

- throwing an opponent and falling after him

- sweeping an opponent from the floor and not standing up.


The official rules of Sanda competition are available here: