What is Lei Tai (擂台)?
"The pretty is not practical and the practical is not pretty"
- General Qi Jiguang (戚继光)
The Chinese term Lei Tai (擂台) refers to a fighting platform, similar to a boxing ring we see in the west, however, the biggest difference between a Lei Tai and a Boxing Ring is that the traditional Chinese fighting platform has no ropes surrounding it, making throwing your adversary off the stage part of the strategy for winning.
The Chinese term Ziyou Boji (自由搏击) means "free fighting", and is used to refer to all types of combat sports. The common term Sanshou (散手 - lit. scattered hands) has been, more recently,used to mean "free sparring", and is commonly used in Chinese martial arts schools for their fighting programs. At the ZYKFA our students learn their sparring techniques under a full contact environment, we do not teach our students the typical light contact sparring that is seen in many Karate schools. We believe that for our students to fully understand Northern Shaolin as a martial art they must learn how to apply it in a live environment against resisting opponents.
Traditionally fighting tournaments take place on a Lei Tai (fighting platform). Lacking the outward beauty and gracefulness of forms training, it shows how a trained fighter is capable of implementing the fighting system we teach. This type of training allows our students to demonstrate their understanding of the theories, concepts and strategies within the Northern Shaolin style as well as its techniques (技術), movement (運動), speed (速度), power expression (發勁), structure (結構), breath control (氣息控), not to mention demonstrating the character (性格) of the fighters.
Currently there are two similar, yet distinctive, sets of rules in the world of Chinese full contact fighting. One is known as Sanda (散打) the other is Kuoshu Lei Tai (國術擂台). Both use the Lei Tai as their fighting stage, however they have different rules, equipment, scoring, legal targets and strategies.