Kung fu experts who are eager to show their mettle are now lining up to take on a mixed martial artist’s challenge to fight.
MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong issued a challenge to traditional Chinese martial arts masters last week following a tremendous 10-second victory over a Tai Chi master. In the now viral fight in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Xu swiftly defeated the master named Wei Lei. Wei practices the slow and steady form of Tai Chi known as Yang style.
Prior to his victory, Xu, a 38-year-old self-taught MMA fighter, expressed that the traditional martial arts have become outdated and are now only good for keeping the body fit. According to the Beijing News, Xu claimed that freestyle fighting or boxing is a more reliable style in combat.
He then demonstrated his belief by easily winning over the Tai Chi master who was not even able to land a single hit. The lopsided fight has ignited debate among netizens over whether traditional Chinese martial arts have indeed been outclassed by modern styles of hand-to-hand combat.
While some Chinese netizens have found Xu to be arrogant, hoping that someone will humiliate him, others heaped praises for the MMA fighter for speaking out about the belief.
In an effort to further prove his claim, Xu has extended a challenge to other masters who think that they can beat him in a post on Chinese social media, reports South China Morning Post. He stated that the fight will be “anything goes”, hinting that it will be a no holds barred battle.
Xu further said that he could even take on two or three fighters at a time, noting that while he could end up losing, he is not afraid to do so. The Beijing-based fighter even offered 1.2 million yuan ($174,000) in prize money and said that the fight will be broadcast all over the country.
Among the handful of challengers willing to take him on is Lu Xing, who is the president of the Sichuan Tai Chi “pushing hands” school. He expressed on Weibo that he is fighting to “teach [Xu] a lesson.”
“He is deeply biased against the traditional martial arts and his words were insulting. I challenged him so he could have a fresh perspective of Tai Chi and the true traditional martial arts,” Lu was quoted as saying.
He also claimed that he is 80% confident he would defeat Xu because tai chi masters had “an iron fist, air foot and iron back, which took more than 20 years of hard training”.
Another tai chi master who wants to prove Xu wrong is Henan native Wang Zhanhai, who is versed in the Chen style of fighting. Xu’s other challengers include Li Shangxian, also from Guangzhou, who practices the Shaolin Meihua Zhuang form of Chinese boxing, and a warrior monk named Yi Long.