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MMA fighter throws down the gauntlet against Chinese martial masters

(People's Daily Online)    16:01, May 02, 2017

A mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter has raised a public challenge to traditional martial masters across the nation after he wiped the floor with a renowned Tai Chi practitioner in an effort that he claimed aims to free the public from “fraudulent Kong Fu scandals.”

“There are no limitations during the competition. [Challengers] shall not wear any protective gear, and eye gouging and groin attacks are allowed. Two or three martial masters who accept the challenge will be chosen and a 1.2 million yuan ($174,165) bonus will be offered for the fight,” Xu Xiaoming, a 38-year-old Beijing-based MMA promoter, wrote on his Weibo account on May 1.

Xu’s remarks come on the heel of his quick victory over Wei Lei, a 41-year-old Tai Chi master on Apr. 27. The 10-second battle has sparked a fierce debate among the public and Chinese martial artists, with many Kong Fu masters denouncing Xu’s taunts of traditional martial arts.

His victory has also raised public doubts about the strength and authenticity of traditional Chinese martial arts. Under the hashtag “TaichiVsMMA” on Weibo, which garnered around 60 million views as of press time, many readers posted comments online calling Wei a “fraud,” adding that traditional martial arts may not be as useful as they appear.

In response to the criticism, Xu told Thepaper.cn during an interview that he was not trying to humiliate traditional martial arts, but he did believe that such practices are outdated for pragmatic reasons.

“There are still some true traditional martial masters, but they may only account for one percent of the total. My purpose is to reveal the fraud in martial art circles,” Xu said.

Xu said he hasn’t received any calls yet from martial masters, and the details of the challenge are currently under discussion. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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