Ditan Park Wrestling

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During my visit last Saturday to Ditan Park, one of the coolest martial arts I saw was shuai jiao. This is a type of Chinese wrestling. Based on my observations, a wrestler scores by making his opponent fall; no need to pin.

There was a wrestling ring raked into the dirt. On one side of the arena there was a table set up with the guys who were clearly the elders of the Ditan Park shuai jiao scene.
Table with tea thermoses on top, surrounded by older men. 

They kept laughing, yelling advice, and shaking their heads during the matches. This guy in particular was clearly the head dude. After many of the falls, he would jump into the ring and show one of the wrestlers how to fix some mistake he had just made.
Old, smiling man in a white tank top t-shirt watching the match. 

There were a few rounds, starting with the beginners. By the mid round the wrestlers had a little more swagger and were clearly better, moving faster and having better technique.
Young wrestler in a red shirt adjusting his belt. Wrestler in red throwing a wrestler in blue.

The highlight, though, came when the local champ (in red below) arrived. (The whole match seemed to be waiting for him to show up.) His opponent was no slouch, having been Beijing's representative in the national shuai jiao competition.
Wide angle shot of two wrestlers wrestling as the crowd watches.

Of course, this being China, the champ interrupted the match to receive a cellphone call.
Zoomed in shot of a muscled wrestler in red talking on his cellphone. 

After his call, he put down his phone and proceed to kick the other dude's butt. He launched himself at the smaller guy and just flattened him.
Wrestler in red pulling down a wrestler in blue.

It was a very friendly atmosphere with lots of smiling and laughing between the contestants and coaches. They clearly were having fun and respected one another. There didn't seem to be any of the real hostility than can come with fighting sports. The large crowd seemed to enjoy it too. I did.

More on shuai jiao from Wikipedia.

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Frank Aarts Reply


I live in Beijing and find this very interesting. I would like to go and do a story on this. Can you tell me exactly what is the best time to view this spectacle??

Kind regards,


Tony Reply

Frank -- it's definitely worth checking out. I was in the park around 8:00am on a Saturday. I think this wrestling was around 9:00am.

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