Netizens question modern Chinese kungfu's combat skill

By Sun Haoran Published: 2020/5/20 22:48:59

Photo: Screenshot of video via

A video clip on a 68-year-old Taiji master knocked out by a 50-year-old amateur in a martial arts match went viral on the Chinese internet with many netizens mocking modern Chinese kungfu saying that it is more like a performance than an actual combat skill, and an expert noted that the main reason people practice kungfu nowadays is to build up their bodies and improve their health.

"We are living in a law-abiding society now that kungfu has lost its heart and soul which is mainly fighting," Zhao Jisheng, a professor with the College of Physical Education and Sports at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Zhao said that modern Chinese kungfu is more of a show than an actual combat and is also a cultural heritage in addition to strengthening one's body.

A video recently shared by thepaper on its website showed that Taiji master Ma Baoguo was defeated by martial arts enthusiast Wang Qingmin, wearing boxing gloves, in just 30 seconds in a competition held in Zibo, East China's Shandong Province.

The video had received more than 2,200 comments as of Thursday.

Many Chinese internet users scoffed at Ma saying he should feel ashamed to be called a kungfu master. However, Ma posted a video on thepaper the day after the match in which he claimed that he could have broken Wang's nose, although some of his critics expressed their disappointment in the result.

"I was such a big fan of Chinese kungfu that I even waned a shifu just like the turtle in the Kungfu Panda movies," said one netizen. "But now I know that kungfu's beautiful body moves with extra-powerful fighting can only be seen in the movies or novels."

"My friends and I watch professional wrestling, such as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), much more than modern Chinese martial arts competitions because we only care if you can knock out your rivals," said another.

However, there were also netizens who questioned whether the match shown in the video was real, or if it was a planned one to make Chinese traditional Kungfu look bad.

In responding to this, Wang's club - Shandong Jinding Zhida martial arts fitness club - made an announcement saying that it is not a governmental organization and didn't plan the video or receive any money from anyone, thepaper reported on Tuesday.

The club also noted that Wang will not accept any media interviews or combat invitations.

"The reason why Chinese martial arts did not become an Olympic sport like Japan's judo and South Korea's Taekwondo did is because there are too many schools and there is no unified standard," said Zhao.

"Chinese martial arts must be in line with international standards, focus on actual combat and adopt the advantages of various martial arts if it wants kungfu to move forward and win back its glory," Zhao noted.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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