“The perception of power – if it’s tense or squeezed – that can be seen a mile away. So I just like to place and just let it go – it’s four ounce gloves, so you just need to ‘tip’ the chin.”
I have to admit, I find this whole story to be immensely interesting, although multi-faceted. The more I think about it, the more complicated it seems to be.
On the one hand, you have the cut-and-dried stance of Xu Xiaodong. Like those at Bullshido, he asserts its a simple matter of put-up or shut up. He thinks all Traditional martial arts are nonsense and so far, he has beaten up a Tai Chi “master” and a Wing Chun “master,” both in seconds. So, in these “contests,” he seems to have made his point. This conflict has defintely stirred up a hornet’s nest in China. There are reports of various types of state suppression of Xu and his ability to use social media to promote himself. There has been speculation that the Chinese state makes a lot of money from Kung Fu tourism and Xu’s activities might be bad for business.
In a new wrinkle, a Chinese tycoon is offering a total of 10 million yuan ($US1.45 million) to anyone who can defeat Xu! This should ensure more and higher profile events going forward. Hopefully those challengers who come forward will be wise enough to test out their fighting prowess against some other MMA style fighters in less public arenas before going for it on camera.
What I was thinking, however, especially in the case of high-level energy practitioners of Tai Chi, etc, is I don’t really expect the baiting approach of Xu to induce them to fight. Developing Chi is associated with Zen and other forms of training designed to raise awareness and awareness diminishes the power of the ego to control emotional centers and other behavior. That is, a true master of Tai Chi is not likely to be too ruffled by Xu’s challenges or induced to fight by them! So almost by definition, those who choose to step up to these challenges are having an ego-response, right? However, with millions on the line, which could in the right hands do so much good, one wonders if this will change the minds of those who might actually be able to fight with Tai Chi or some other high-level kung fu, who possesses the highest qualities of their art (such as being able to absorb energy or “issue it”) aka fa jing.
“Every 20 pounds equals a belt…and every 10 years equals a belt.”
And you know what a big deal a belt is in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
There are many fantasies and delusions people bring to martial arts, most of them fed by the movies, but also by word of mouth mythologies. This is where we hear about “dim mak” (death touch) and about some guy taking out three or four people effortlessly because they are a master of this or that fighting art. You can even see some videos of such feats, so its not completely delusional. But its mostly delusional.
I can tell you from my experience and the experience of my friends and teachers, many of whom are very highly trained. Weight matters. Strength matters. Youth matters. These are all qualities an opponent can bring to a fight that will put a big “thumb on the scales.” Martial arts training is one factor among many in any fight. An old martial adage says, “First courage, then power, then skill.” Courage means you don’t run. Then power. Now, their algorithm isn’t exactly correct, in my opinion. I think there are many 30 and 40 year olds who are stronger than 20 year olds of the same size and fitness level. I think this is even scientifically accurate (not just observation). I’ve heard strength peaks somewhere between 25 and 30. But the idea is sound. Martial arts skill is one arrow in the quiver. Its an equalizer, but not a magic bullet (or wand).