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Chengdu contest a blow to traditional martial arts hype

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-02 07:25

Chengdu contest a blow to traditional martial arts hype

Monks perform Chinese martial arts in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb 20, 2017. [Photo/Chinacutlure.org]

ON FRIDAY, a martial arts competition between a mixed martial arts expert Xu Xiaodong and tai chi master Wei Lei was held in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province. Wei was knocked out within 20 seconds, which triggered fierce online discussions about the effectiveness of traditional Chinese martial arts. Beijing News comments:

Some worry that traditional Chinese martial arts, such as tai chi, are not effective in real fights and competitions.

That worry is unnecessary. Neither Xu nor Wei is a top practitioner of their martial art; even if they were, Wei's failure could not possibly mean the failure of tai chi, let alone traditional Chinese martial arts as a whole. It was only a competition between two individuals, that's all.

However, the competition should also break a long-held superstition about traditional Chinese martial arts. For long, films and novels have portrayed traditional Chinese martial arts as bestowing supernatural powers, so that many people have unrealistic expectations of them.

This practice actually dates back to the late 1900s. As China was invaded and some parts of the country turned into colonies of the imperialistic powers, some Chinese put their faith in traditional Chinese martial arts as away to defeat the foreign invaders. In this way traditional Chinese martial arts became invested with unreal expectations and superstition.

This in turn has enabled some fraudsters to cheat practitioners and profit from the process, which has curbed the development of traditional Chinese martial arts because the cheats ruin the reputation of martial artists.

We hope the competition in Chengdu will result in a more rational appreciation of traditional Chinese martial arts.

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