Perspectives on the role of fighting in “martial arts”

3 May

The pioneer of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in China, Beijing based Xu Xiaodong, recently engaged in the following “match” (if you can even call it that!) with Wei Lei, the founder of the so called “Thunder Taiji Quan”.

The brutal truth is, for those increasingly rare individuals who have been involved in the relatively small circle of Chinese martial artists that have remained practically oriented, this was hardly a surprise at all. Nor were the inevitable responses across the internet. The prevalence of Chinese martial artists who lack any basic fighting ability, many little more than con men and frauds, and of those who bury their heads in the sand and refuse to address the problem is a long standing problem. It is not at all new;

(Chinese martial arts) … are in a chaotic state, thus the people cannot know what course to take. Summed up, they have abandoned the quintessence and kept only the scum, nothing more. Although the martial arts of Japan and the boxing of Western Europe are one-sided, they all have their original points. In comparison to an ordinary boxer of our nation, they are countless miles ahead. The people should be very ashamed of this.
– Wang Xiangzhai (王薌齋)

However, let me clarify. If Xu Xiaodong had walked into a park and challenged people doing Taiji Quan for simply exercise or recreation he would, in fact, just be a jerk. NO, Wei Lei claimed he was a fighter, he engaged in ridiculous demonstrations of his “application” and stepped up to show Xu that his Taiji was an effective fighting method. That a man who clearly had zero combat skills stepped up to fight sadly reminds me of another debacle in which lying to yourself is the worst of all lies.

Is there anything “wrong” with doing martial arts without doing “fight training”? ABSOLUTELY NOT. However, I am an advocate of the philosophy that even if you train just for health or recreation, you still train “martially”. The two paths are really inter related.

In this vein, we note that in response to Xu Xiaodong’s statements, Chen Zhenglei who is one of the main leaders of Chen village has now made an official statement in which he claims that Chen style Taiji Quan is now NOT about “fighting” but rather its about promoting health and a way of life. Which is fine, except that we pretty much all know that the circus and carnival tricks promoting Chen style will likely continue.

Click here to read an excellent debunking of the above video and more statements on Chen village’s propoganda.

If one says they just do martial arts for health, enjoyment, as physical education, more power to them. If they then claim they can still fight, shame on them. The man who enjoys racquetball doesn’t think he can replace his racquet with a sword and become a warrior!


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