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ARE MOST MARTIAL ARTS FAKE?
In 2017, a mixed martial arts fighter named Xu Xiaodong continually harassed masters of the traditional Chinese martial arts, dismissing them as overly commercialized phonies, challenging them to a no rules fight.
After much taunting by Xiaodong, Wei Lei, a practitioner of the “thunder style” of tai chi, accepted the challenge. The fight ended in brutal fashion when Mr. Xu flattened the tai chi practitioner in about 10 seconds.
After exposing the tae chi master, Mr. Xu was not prepared for the ensuing outrage by the Chinese.
When video of the beating appeared on the internet, many in China were deeply offended by what they saw as an insult to a pillar of traditional Chinese culture.
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The outrage was so significant that even the state-run Chinese Wushu Association posted a statement on its website, saying the fight “violates the morals of martial arts.” The Chinese Boxing Association issued similar criticism.
In addition, an article by a state news agency, called Mr. Xu a “crazy guy,” saying that the fight had caused people to question whether Chinese martial arts were of any use and even to ask, “What exactly are traditional Chinese martial arts?”
The reaction were so furious that Mr. Xu went into hiding.“I’ve lost everything, my career and everything,” he said “I think many people misunderstand me. I’m fighting fraudulence, but now I’ve become the target.”
As a 21 year "martial artist," I have have had my own experience with studying a martial art that I initially thought was a legitimate form of self defense, then learned otherwise when the "traditional martial arts" were exposed by a Brazilian JiuJitsu practitioner named Royce Gracie at UFC 1. It was then when I realized I had drank the koolaid dished out by my 2nd degree black belt instructor. After the first few UFC's, I remember distinctively asking my instructor how he believed he would do in the UFC. He replied, "our art is made for the street and has lethal strikes, the UFC has rules."
Looking back on the experience, I am embarrassed that I wasn't savvy enough to ascertain I was being fed bogus martial arts techniques after my first few weeks of training. I'll admit, I was guilty of being mesmerized by the tattered black belt hanging from my pudgy Sensei's waist. The logical man in me looked at my instructor at approximately 5 foot 7 and a pudgy 180 pounds, and thought, there is no way this guy could take me, a 6 foot 1 220 pound former D1 Football prospect. But again, the tattered black belt and the newly introduced "lethal knife hand strikes" had me convinced my instructor was basically immortal and the art I was learning was going to be all I needed to protect myself and my family in a self defense situation.
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Shorty after the UFC exposed the traditional martial arts as a less effective form of self defense, I entered the police academy. During the first few weeks of the academy, we were forced to defend ourselves in a scenario called "fight day," an exercise in real world self defense. The instructors put us through a series of push-ups and sit-ups, followed by a 400 meter run. Directly after the run, the recruits would put on a pair of boxing gloves and fight for a couple of minutes non stop until one quits, gets knocked out, or the whistle was blown. Prior to my turn, I remember thinking to myself "I could do a parry, then a quick ridge hand to my opponents face and probably end this fight real quick." I remember being exhausted when we put the gloves on and I tried to "parry," then block the first few wild punches from my much bigger opponent with no success. I remember thinking to myself, "why isn't this guy not leaving his punch out like the instructor use to do when I learned the punch block techniques in the dojo." During this altercation, I quickly learned these parry's and blocks were completely unrealistic when another person is throwing punch after punch and not leaving their punch out, waiting for me to finish my technique. After trying to parry and block the first few punches with no success, I started punching ferociously back at my opponent, resulting in an all out "slugfest" that left us both with pounding headaches and mutual respect for one another.
Shortly after this eye opening altercation, I turned in my 3rd degree brown belt in this traditional martial art and put on a Brazilian JiuJitsu white belt. I had not only seen enough during Royce Gracie's UFC 1 dominance of the traditional martial arts, but my own experience of not being able to pull off a single technique as a brown belt during my before mentioned physical confrontation in the police academy had me convinced the art I was studying was not effective in a realistic self defense situation.
After practicing Brazilian JiuJitsu for several years, I have used this "gentle art" to defend myself successfully in dozens of self defense situations on the street. I can honestly say, Brazilian JiuJitsu has NEVER failed me during a physical confrontation on the street. In fact, just last week, I was faced with a use of force scenario where the subject resisted my attempt to peacefully detain them, then actively tried to assault me with punches. Because of my Brazilian JiuJitsu training, I successfully clinched with the combative subject and was able to apply a foot sweep, taking the subject to the ground in a safe manner. Once on the ground, I gained a position of control by mounting the subject while the subject burned their energy out trying to get me off. Once the subject tired, I was able to place them in handcuffs with very little resistance and both of us walked away with only a few scratches.
Because of this scenario and dozens more like it where I used Brazilian JiuJitsu to successfully defend myself on the street, I believe BJJ is truly one of the most effective martial arts for real world personal self defense.