Chinese Martial Arts Thread


This thread started roughly a year ago discussing the Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong who defeated a bogus Taichi master and then a WingChun "expert" who claimed to hail from Ip Man's lineage. Ever-since, the Chinese government has censored Xu Xiadong and his matches from further causing distress among the Chinese martial arts community. I have always been displeased with this. I believe that China is all about progress and advancement; when tradition gets in the way, it must be relegated. Allowing Chinese aspiring martial artists to be robbed of their time and money learning kung fu styles with little or no combat application is an affront to Chinese progress; they should know that to fight, they must learn SanShou, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujitsu even if the training is much tougher and injuries are more frequent when sparring. Only this way can China become home to the fiercest and most accomplished fighters in the world. The government was holding the nation back for false pride in tradition.

That's what I thought before. Now I see from another perspective that the desire of the Chinese government to preserve traditional Chinese martial arts over a conversion to more effective modern styles of combat is about peace and progress, not pride. Imagine two divergent universes:

In universe one, Chinese traditional martial arts are preserved and absorb most of the Chinese market for martial arts training. Forms such as Chang Quan, Wing Chun, TaiChi, Qin Na, etc... are popular. In these forms, the practitioner trains in holistic ways without sparring, but conditions his body by exercises that improve his health for daily life, but do not make him impressively powerful or athletic. He is taught to never resort to force unless he can't back out of the fight, and at the end of the day, he has impostor syndrome: on the outside, he displays the air of a confident martial artist who can defend himself, but on the inside, he's scared to fight because he doesn't want his friends to see how ill-prepared he actually is. This creates a nation full of relatively healthy people who are reluctant to become violent and are content to hide behind, "I will back down because my master has taught me ethics and I don't want to hurt you" whenever confrontation rears its ugly head. It's healthy for society and easy to manage.

In universe two, China's government decries traditional martial arts as useless and to improve the ability of Chinese citizens as martial artists, SanDa, Muay Thai, BJJ (MMA) become mainstream. Droves of young men train multiple times a week in gyms by learning to strike hard, move fast, and break joints as they apply their techniques in sparring sessions. These men push themselves far beyond what is needed to live a healthy life and become very athletic and strong... and then, like athletes, they crash when they push their bodies beyond their limits. Young men with joint damage, tendon/ligament tear, chronic back injuries, cracked bone, etc... drive healthcare costs up, and these injuries can cause life-time impairment. Academically, they struggle due to concussions sustained from being repeatedly struck in the head while sparring, and national talent for technology diminishes. These combat arts fuel aggression and violence: fights are common when men who are eager to show off disagree with each other, and in a country of 1.4 billion, that is chaos for the police on Friday and Saturday night. When people who are untrained or trained in non-sparring martial arts come to blows, fights rarely lead to any injuries and usually entail hair-pulling, slapping, and stepping on each other's feet. Fights between 2 well-trained MMA fighters seeing red often lead to chronic debilitation or even death as they crack ribs with Muay Thai knees, fracture skulls with roundhouse kicks, and cut off oxygen to the brain with rear-naked chokes (held too long). The drain on society to care for the crippled and those who leave the workforce because of debilitation or death is significant. And for all this violence, the country is actually less-prepared to fight a modern war because modern wars are not fought with fists but with technology, technology that violent macho warriors with multiple concussions stand little chance of developing.

Only after seeing it from this angle can I understand and accept the Chinese government's decision to censor Xu Xiaodong's desire to revolutionize martial arts in China.
 
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Equation

Lieutenant General
This thread started roughly a year ago discussing the Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong who defeated a bogus Taichi master and then a WingChun "expert" who claimed to hail from Ip Man's lineage. Ever-since, the Chinese government has censored Xu Xiadong and his matches from further causing distress among the Chinese martial arts community. I have always been displeased with this. I believe that China is all about progress and advancement; when tradition gets in the way, it must be relegated. Allowing Chinese aspiring martial artists to be robbed of their time and money learning kung fu styles with little or no combat application is an affront to Chinese progress; they should know that to fight, they must learn SanShou, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujitsu even if the training is much tougher and injuries are more frequent when sparring. Only this way can China become home to the fiercest and most accomplished fighters in the world. The government was holding the nation back for false pride in tradition.

That's what I thought before. Now I see from another perspective that the desire of the Chinese government to preserve traditional Chinese martial arts over a conversion to more effective modern styles of combat is about peace and progress, not pride. Imagine two divergent universes:

In universe one, Chinese traditional martial arts are preserved and absorb most of the Chinese market for martial arts training. Forms such as Chang Quan, Wing Chun, TaiChi, Qin Na, etc... are popular. In these forms, the practitioner trains in holistic ways without sparring, but conditions his body by exercises that improve his health for daily life, but do not make him impressively powerful or athletic. He is taught to never resort to force unless he can't back out of the fight, and at the end of the day, he has impostor syndrome: on the outside, he displays the air of a confident martial artist who can defend himself, but on the inside, he's scared to fight because he doesn't want his friends to see how ill-prepared he actually is. This creates a nation full of relatively healthy people who are reluctant to become violent and are content to hide behind, "I will back down because my master has taught me ethics and I don't want to hurt you" whenever confrontation rears its ugly head. It's healthy for society and easy to manage.

In universe two, China's government decries traditional martial arts as useless and to improve the ability of Chinese citizens as martial artists, SanDa, Muay Thai, BJJ (MMA) become mainstream. Droves of young men train multiple times a week in gyms by learning to strike hard, move fast, and break joints as they apply their techniques in sparring sessions. These men push themselves far beyond what is needed to live a healthy life and become very athletic and strong... and then, like athletes, they crash when they push their bodies beyond their limits. Young men with joint damage, tendon/ligament tear, chronic back injuries, cracked bone, etc... drive healthcare costs up, and these injuries can cause life-time impairment. Academically, they struggle due to concussions sustained from being repeatedly struck in the head while sparring, and national talent for technology diminishes. These combat arts fuel aggression and violence: fights are common when men who are eager to show off disagree with each other, and in a country of 1.4 billion, that is chaos for the police on Friday and Saturday night. When people who are untrained or trained in non-sparring martial arts come to blows, fights rarely lead to any injuries and usually entail hair-pulling, slapping, and stepping on each other's feet. Fights between 2 well-trained MMA fighters seeing red often lead to chronic debilitation or even death as they crack ribs with Muay Thai knees, fracture skulls with roundhouse kicks, and cut off oxygen to the brain with rear-naked chokes (held too long). The drain on society to care for the crippled and those who leave the workforce because of debilitation or death is significant. And for all this violence, the country is actually less-prepared to fight a modern war because modern wars are not fought with fists but with technology, technology that violent macho warriors with multiple concussions stand little chance of developing.

Only after seeing it from this angle can I understand and accept the Chinese government's decision to censor Xu Xiaodong's desire to revolutionize martial arts in China.

True, but even in the old days with the traditional kung fu martial styles there were plenty of masters and students from various schools challenging each other to a dual that's just as dangerous harmful to the bodies as you have described. Legends like Ip Man and Bruce Lee themselves get into a lot of fights and injuries of various kinds. There will always be new vs. old fighting styles that some people will like to challenge to test their physical and psychological theories.
 

vesicles

Colonel
The difference between traditonal martial arts and combat fighting is like comparing the Harlem Globetrotters and the NBA. A performance showcasing the athletic abilities vs actual competition.

You see jaw-dropping fancy moves at any given Harlem Globetrotters games, but mostly fundamental basic, simple and even boring moves at NBA games. The fancy moves are for impressing the audience. The simple and boring moves in NBA games are for scoring a basket in the most energy-conserving way.

That’s the difference between martial arts and combat fighting. One is designed as a performing art to showcase one’s athletic abilities and to impress an audience, while the other is designed to kill enemies in the simplest and the most energy-conserving manner.

Sensoring Xu has one purpose: the traditional Chinese martial arts community feels threatened and that might lead to discontent and conflict in the society. Supporters of the traditional martial arts are freaking out. Jet Li was openly calling out Xu. The Chinese government doesn’t want any societal conflict at this moment since it must be focused on something much much bigger. So they told Xu to stop the nonsense.

And in my opinion, challenging the traditional martial arts in an MMA fight is simply a nonsense. The two things are completely different. You don’t see an NBA player challenging a Harlem Globetrotter. Why? One is trained to do actual competitions, but the other is trained to perform. Two completely different things.

So it is nonsense for Xu to challenge the martial artists and it is equally nonsense for the martial artists to freak out and openly challenge Xu.

One should know his place and know who he actually is. The traditional martial artists, especially masters like Jet Li, should know better. They should know that their art is to showcase athletic abilities, not to actually fight.
 
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solarz

Brigadier
The difference between traditonal martial arts and combat fighting is like comparing the Harlem Globetrotters and the NBA. A performance showcasing the athletic abilities vs actual competition.

You see jaw-dropping fancy moves at any given Harlem Globetrotters games, but mostly fundamental basic, simple and even boring moves at NBA games. The fancy moves are for impressing the audience. The simple and boring moves in NBA games are for scoring a basket in the most energy-conserving way.

That’s the difference between martial arts and combat fighting. One is designed as a performing art to showcase one’s athletic abilities and to impress an audience, while the other is designed to kill enemies in the simplest and the most energy-conserving manner.

Sensoring Xu has one purpose: the traditional Chinese martial arts community feels threatened and that might lead to discontent and conflict in the society. Supporters of the traditional martial arts are freaking out. Jet Li was openly calling out Xu. The Chinese government doesn’t want any societal conflict at this moment since it must be focused on something much much bigger. So they told Xu to stop the nonsense.

Yes, agreed. Censors in China follow only one directive: to preserve social stability. Any controversy deemed to be potentially threatening to social stability will be censored, regardless of the subject matter.

If you've watched Jack Ma's Gong Shou Dao, you'll understand the difference between MMA and TMA: MMA inspires someone to go to the UFC and fight for hundreds of thousands of dollars of prize money. TMA inspired a guy to go into business and make billions of dollars. MMA philosophy is useful in the ring. TMA philosophy is useful in life.

That said, there is no doubt that the Chinese TMA community is riding on the coattails of the 80's and 90's kung fu films, selling a fantasy to kids. It's a business model built on deception, and sooner or later it will tumble down like a house of cards, and that fall will cause more damage to Chinese TMA than a hundred thousand Xu Xiaodongs. The Chinese TMA community, or the government, must acknowledge its shortcomings, root out all the fraudsters, and build itself on foundations of Truth.
 

vesicles

Colonel
Also in keep mind that most in the traditional martial arts community know the difference between their art and actual combat fighting. You can tell this from the way martial arts competition is held. Unlike an MMA fight, when two fighters are locked in a cage and fight it out, the traditional Chinese martial arts competition is judged like a gymnastics competition. A single athlete stands in front of a panel of judges and perform his/her routine. Judges give out scores based on how accurate the athlete’s moves are. The highest score wins the day. So the community knows their art is not for actual fighting.

It’s just that, because many traditional Chinese martial arts champions have become movie stars, they need to protect their street cred as actual tough warriors.

Plus, many of them actually begin to believe that they can fight after pretending for so long...
 
True, but even in the old days with the traditional kung fu martial styles there were plenty of masters and students from various schools challenging each other to a dual that's just as dangerous harmful to the bodies as you have described. Legends like Ip Man and Bruce Lee themselves get into a lot of fights and injuries of various kinds. There will always be new vs. old fighting styles that some people will like to challenge to test their physical and psychological theories.
Not "even in those days," it's rather, "only in those days." Traditional martial artists have gotten much more timid now and the reason is mainly that they can't really fight. And even if they did get into duels today, injuries would be unlikely to minimal, owing mostly to the fact that 2 people who can't really fight can't really damage each other but also because Chinese martial arts philosophy implies that being merciful and showing your opponent defeat without harming him is the ultimate show of superiority (点到伟止). In MMA, giving your opponent a permanent limp to remember you by is the ultimate show of superiority.
The difference between traditonal martial arts and combat fighting is like comparing the Harlem Globetrotters and the NBA. A performance showcasing the athletic abilities vs actual competition.

You see jaw-dropping fancy moves at any given Harlem Globetrotters games, but mostly fundamental basic, simple and even boring moves at NBA games. The fancy moves are for impressing the audience. The simple and boring moves in NBA games are for scoring a basket in the most energy-conserving way.

That’s the difference between martial arts and combat fighting. One is designed as a performing art to showcase one’s athletic abilities and to impress an audience, while the other is designed to kill enemies in the simplest and the most energy-conserving manner.

Sensoring Xu has one purpose: the traditional Chinese martial arts community feels threatened and that might lead to discontent and conflict in the society. Supporters of the traditional martial arts are freaking out. Jet Li was openly calling out Xu. The Chinese government doesn’t want any societal conflict at this moment since it must be focused on something much much bigger. So they told Xu to stop the nonsense.

And in my opinion, challenging the traditional martial arts in an MMA fight is simply a nonsense. The two things are completely different. You don’t see an NBA player challenging a Harlem Globetrotter. Why? One is trained to do actual competitions, but the other is trained to perform. Two completely different things.

So it is nonsense for Xu to challenge the martial artists and it is equally nonsense for the martial artists to freak out and openly challenge Xu.

One should know his place and know who he actually is. The traditional martial artists, especially masters like Jet Li, should know better. They should know that their art is to showcase athletic abilities, not to actually fight.
Right, in the context that you provided, it's nonsense, like a boxer going into ballet school and offering to fight anyone. But the biggest problem is that many traditional Chinese martial artists refuse to accept that their "martial" arts are only for performance and of little to no combat value. For many "masters," it would degrade their means of living as students shun the idea of training in martial arts that are not useful in actual self defense. That is why they were desperately driven to fight Xu Xiaodong to prove that their whole lives weren't a lie when they likely knew they stood no chance against him and were just hoping for a miracle.

But as I said 2 posts above, the Chinese government prefers that the Chinese population not switch over to modern combat styles because this creates a more violent and aggressive society plagued by chronic injuries and is likely a bit less intelligent as well, which are all bad things for China's rise. Even though their physical combat capability is heightened, that is of very little value to the development of a modern power.
 
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vesicles

Colonel
But as I said 2 posts above, the Chinese government prefers that the Chinese population not switch over to modern combat styles because this creates a more violent and aggressive society plagued by chronic injuries and is likely a bit less intelligent as well, which are all bad things for China's rise. Even though their physical combat capability is heightened, that is of very little value to the development of a modern power.

I wouldn't worry about that too much. Many lethal forms of fighting styles have been very popular in the US. It was boxing before the 1990's and now MMA. MMA fights in Vegas have been selling more tickets than boxing. Yet, you don't see many ordinary people get injured because of the popularity of these lethal styles. We get more sports injuries from playing football and hockey.

The most likely reason is that most people, like 99% of the populace, lack the physical talent, the motivation and the discipline to train to a level, where they can actually hurt someone.

Most of the everyday injuries that you see from fights, like bar fights, actually are caused by brute force and lack of control of their own power. Basically, some dudes simply do not know how hard they can hit. And in the heat of the moment, one of them hits too hard and hurts someone badly. Therefore, a little training actually helps them control their emotion and allows them to know how to control their power. In this sense, it is actually good to have a little bit training.

Almost all physical training, boxing, MMA, etc. is about controlling your emotion and tuning down the level of violence and aggressiveness. Compared with someone who has been trained, undisciplined and simple explosion of strength by an untrained brute in some bar fights is much much more dangerous.

Like someone who is experienced with firearms, trained individuals understand the lethal consequences of their actions much better. Like someone who has only seen guns in movies, untrained individuals have no understanding and no respect for the kind of power they wield and that can lead to damaging consequences.

I used to know a guy who did some MMA. He told me that he would never fight someone in a bar. Unlike popular believes, it is not because "he didn't want to hurt innocent people". It's actually because he didn't want to be hurt by someone who has no idea how hard they hit. While my buddy was controlling his emotion and only hitting with enough force to stop his opponent, his untrained opponent was releasing enough force to kill him with every punch... Not a good situation to get into...
 

solarz

Brigadier
Not "even in those days," it's rather, "only in those days." Traditional martial artists have gotten much more timid now and the reason is mainly that they can't really fight. And even if they did get into duels today, injuries would be unlikely to minimal, owing mostly to the fact that 2 people who can't really fight can't really damage each other but also because Chinese martial arts philosophy implies that being merciful and showing your opponent defeat without harming him is the ultimate show of superiority (点到伟止). In MMA, giving your opponent a permanent limp to remember you by is the ultimate show of superiority.

Right, in the context that you provided, it's nonsense, like a boxer going into ballet school and offering to fight anyone. But the biggest problem is that many traditional Chinese martial artists refuse to accept that their "martial" arts are only for performance and of little to no combat value. For many "masters," it would degrade their means of living as students shun the idea of training in martial arts that are not useful in actual self defense. That is why they were desperately driven to fight Xu Xiaodong to prove that their whole lives weren't a lie when they likely knew they stood no chance against him and were just hoping for a miracle.

But as I said 2 posts above, the Chinese government prefers that the Chinese population not switch over to modern combat styles because this creates a more violent and aggressive society plagued by chronic injuries and is likely a bit less intelligent as well, which are all bad things for China's rise. Even though their physical combat capability is heightened, that is of very little value to the development of a modern power.

For self-defense or actual fighting, Chinese students should look to Sanda.

I briefly took some Wushu classes in high school, and when I asked my coach when we will start sparring, she told me that we'd need to learn Sanda for that.

I think TMA should look to Sanda for their "street cred", as in TMA training can be used as a basis for learning Sanda. All students would start with TMA, and those who want to learn how to fight would go into Sanda.
 
I wouldn't worry about that too much. Many lethal forms of fighting styles have been very popular in the US. It was boxing before the 1990's and now MMA. MMA fights in Vegas have been selling more tickets than boxing. Yet, you don't see many ordinary people get injured because of the popularity of these lethal styles. We get more sports injuries from playing football and hockey.
I would. Chinese people treat each other more crassly than Americans on a routine basis. Pushing each other out of the way, cursing when customers are displeased, cutting in line and fighting for things that are in limited supply are all too common in China and I believe that under these circumstances, training Chinese people for unarmed combat would lead to a drastic increase in physical confrontation with high chances of grievous harm. I'm not saying the country would fall into uncontrollable chaos and violence, but it would be a small increase to that direction on the spectrum.
The most likely reason is that most people, like 99% of the populace, lack the physical talent, the motivation and the discipline to train to a level, where they can actually hurt someone.
Lack the training, and motivation, but not the talent. Most people, when trained can inflict some damage.
Most of the everyday injuries that you see from fights, like bar fights, actually are caused by brute force and lack of control of their own power. Basically, some dudes simply do not know how hard they can hit. And in the heat of the moment, one of them hits too hard and hurts someone badly. Therefore, a little training actually helps them control their emotion and allows them to know how to control their power. In this sense, it is actually good to have a little bit training.
No, opposite. Most dudes overestimate how hard they can hit, by far. Bar fight injuries between untrained parties are usually sustained by weapon usage such as knives, bar stools, broken bottles. When untrained men first fight, they are usually shocked at how ineffective their punches are and boxing, Muay Thai, MMA can help them focus their energy so that their strikes are more accurate and damaging without leaving themselves open for retaliation. After training, their blows are much more likely to land and inflict serious harm.
Almost all physical training, boxing, MMA, etc. is about controlling your emotion and tuning down the level of violence and aggressiveness. Compared with someone who has been trained, undisciplined and simple explosion of strength by an untrained brute in some bar fights is much much more dangerous.
Not true at all. Have you trained in any actual combat arts like the ones I mentioned above? Untrained brutes don't know how to use their strength to inflict damage. They typically tussle and hit until they get tired and the fight fizzes out without injury. Trained fighters who are provoked and feel like they are defending themselves can maim someone with their strikes. For example, Renzo Gracie was in the news because he refused to back down to a bouncer and when the bouncer wanted to physically escort him out, Gracie broke his arm. Training in martial arts does not makes you a LESS lethal fighter, as you are implying, but MORE.
Like someone who is experienced with firearms, trained individuals understand the lethal consequences of their actions much better. Like someone who has only seen guns in movies, untrained individuals have no understanding and no respect for the kind of power they wield and that can lead to damaging consequences.
I don't understand why you think individuals untrained in martial arts are powerful, loose cannons while those who are trained become reserved and more likely to be beaten in a fight. It is simply not true. The untrained usually wield very little usable power. The common weakness of the beginner is to be timid and reserved when sparring and combat styles like MMA typically train them to be more aggressive and offensive. Trust me; I know. I've trained for years and one of the most common things I hear the instructor tell beginners, including myself at first, is to have no fear and be aggressive.
I used to know a guy who did some MMA. He told me that he would never fight someone in a bar. Unlike popular believes, it is not because "he didn't want to hurt innocent people". It's actually because he didn't want to be hurt by someone who has no idea how hard they hit. While my buddy was controlling his emotion and only hitting with enough force to stop his opponent, his untrained opponent was releasing enough force to kill him with every punch... Not a good situation to get into...
Your guy is atypical. Is he old? Does he have kids? The MMA gyms that I've trained at are comprised in large part by aggressive young males in their prime who would not back down from a fight. As far as they were concerned, they trained so they would never have to back down; if they do, everything they did was a waste. The instructor tells us to have control and reserve when sparring each other, but outside, if you are challenged unfairly, don't back down. Don't strike first, but if the other side strikes you, reply without mercy. If he dies, it's his fault for instigating. It's better than holding back and having him kill you. This is very much in line with American philosophy when it comes to self defense, police behavior, etc...

Recently, MMA phenom Conor MacGregor was arrested for assaulting a TOUR BUS. You can search for violent crimes perpetrated by MMA fighters if you want (the list is ugly) but this behavior is very very rare if ever seen in traditional kung fu masters.

Personally, I have experienced a great deal of increase in my aggression since I started training in Muay Thai (at MMA gyms). When I was young, I was reticent and avoided confrontation, but since training for years, I have felt more and more confidence to always get the other side to capitulate (although it has never actually come to blows). Just last month in NYC, a thug on the subway cursed at my friend for holding onto a rail support in front of the thug. My friend's instinct was to apologize and move away. I could not bring myself to. I told him I'd stand wherever I please. He threatened to punch me in the face and I immediately lost my mind. I told him in public I'd be happy to murder him in the train with everyone looking if he'd only throw the first punch. He backed down and I continued to antagonize him, following him to the other end of the train and putting my hand inches away from his face. I told him he was a coward if he didn't swing at me like he promised. When he ran away again with his back turned, I yelled at him for being a loser. This whole time, people in the subway were telling me to leave him alone and to stop provoking him. My friend told me to stop. I didn't care. I wanted to beat the shit out of him and leave him permanently crippled for challenging me. I would have never done that in high school, but MMA training put a crazy button in me. In retrospect, I should not have done that; the legal consequences could have been very damaging to my career had he continued to test me. But since MMA training, whenever challenged, I just see red and next time, I doubt I'll be any better.
 
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SDWatcher

New Member
Registered Member
manqiangrexue, this is well intent and please don't take it the wrong way. Training is about control of one's mental state as well as physical. Being calm and confident can go a long way in dealing with confrontations than esculating the situation. There were times when the other side were inches from throwing a blow at me. But merely staying tranquil and at ease had already threw them off-guard and hesitated from continuing any aggression. Make no mistake, I was ready to counter with the utmost force. It was probably revealing from the eyes and the body posture. Actual physical contact and any aftermath are just not necessary in this litigatious world.
 

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