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Daily Drip

This MMA vs. Tai Chi Fight Might be the Most Embarrassing Ever

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Xu Xiaodong is back… again. The MMA trainer’s relentless campaign to “expose fake kung fu” shows no sign of slowing down.

Xu rose to fame in 2017 after his ten-second defeat over a martial artist previously billed as “one of the greatest tai chi masters in China”. Since then, he’s challenged and consistently overcome numerous others in his mission to expose kung fu frauds.

But Chen Yong, another self-proclaimed “master” of tai chi, may have just suffered the most embarrassing loss so far.

The highly anticipated match was two years in the making, originating in 2018 after Chen asserted the combat value of his tai chi. “It’s about jin,” he said, referring to a traditional concept of internal strength. He went on to claim he could use jin to win wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai fights.

MMA, it seems, is a different story. Chen managed to avoid one body kick, before taking a second kick full force to the thigh, followed by a standard lead hook to the face.

At this moment, the viewer can almost see Chen’s train of thought, as he seems to realize for the first time that he has in fact voluntarily signed up for precisely this.

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Chen stands with his hand on his face, taking stock of the situation for a full minute, or six times the duration of the fight. He laughs sheepishly as he realizes that he will exit the ring as either a coward or a fool, opting for the former and signaling his resignation.

In a post-fight explanation, Chen offered that he was “blinded” by the sun, and also blamed the floor of the cage.

“The power and force that comes from tai chi cannot be found on soft surfaces,” he explained.

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Xu seemed to graciously accept Chen’s reasoning, saying that he would be open to a re-match, as long as he is paid an appearance fee.

This summer, as defeats have continued to stack up, the Chinese Wushu Association issued a statement saying that martial artists should not refer to themselves as “masters” or “head” of a specific style.

Chloe Yorke
    Chloe was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Shanghai and San Francisco. She is currently studying Chinese at Durham University in the UK and is passionate about Chinese art and culture.