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In order to fully comprehend an wushu sanshou competition, it is necessary to understand the essential hand gestures that help drive the match. Here are just a few of the many signals used by the judges.
Chinese fist salute
Also known as the bao quan li, this Chinese fist salute is a greeting that also implies respect. Clench your right hand into a fist and make contact with your left palm in front of your chest.
Mount the arena
Position yourself in the middle of the arena and stretch your arms out towards the competitors on both sides with your palms up. Then, bend both your arms at a right angle to signal them to mount.
Signal for competitors to salute each other
This is somewhat like an inverted fist salute. Place your left palm on top of your right fist in front of your chest. This is the signal for the competitors to begin their fist salutes to each other.
Indicate the start of a round
Stand while facing the head judge’s direction. Bowing slightly, announce the round number - “di yi ju” refers to the first round, “di er ju” refers to the second, and “di san ju” refers to the third. You must also stretch an arm out and hold up your fingers to indicate the number as well.
Bow slightly while standing between the competitors, give a preparatory call - “yu bei’ (ready). Stretch your arms out, with your palms up, at both sides, and point at the competitors. Then cross your hands in front of your stomach and announce “kai shi” (start).
With your hand and wrist flexed downwards slightly, bow and place an arm between both competitors. Announce “ting” (stop).
Stretch out an arm in the direction of the competitor who had committed the offence and announce the side that he or she is on (competitors’ sides are named either red or black). Using the other hand, signal the prohibited area that has been hit, e.g., place a hand over crotch if the crotch had been the location of the attack.
Striking using prohibited methods
Elbow foul: fold your arms in front of your chest and gesture to one elbow while announcing which side had committed the offence.
Knee foul: bring a knee up in the air and gesture towards it while announcing which side had committed the offence.
Personal foul warning
Point one arm, with your palm facing the ceiling, in the direction of the person who had committed the foul. Announce the side that he or she is on, and bend your other arm at a right angle, making a fist with that hand. Three of these warnings result in a disqualification.
Point one arm, with your palm facing the ceiling, in the direction of the person who had committed the foul. Announce the side that he or she is on, and bend your other arm at a right angle, stretching your fingers out with your palm facing your ear.
Announce the offender’s side and, with your hands in fists, cross your forearms in front of your chest.
Position yourself between the competitors. Holding the winner’s wrist with one hand, raise his or her arm in the air.
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