MMA vs Chinese Martial Arts
For years the approach found somewhat of a success. Traditional martial arts dojos began sprouting around the world. A more recent practice of foreigners booking training retreats at traditional martial arts academies throughout Asia has taken trend. Things were looking up for the health of CMA.
But then came the infamous video that shook up the martial arts world. According to the MMA advocate Xu, the intention of his challenge was to expose the frauds in the world of martial arts. He wanted to prove the efficacy of the martial styles found in competitive fighting in the fight world. But Xu has also received considerable backlash for his actions and words afterwards, so much that for a while it forced the Beijing trainer into hiding.
Outsiders to the world of martial arts may find the reaction extreme, but what may not be so well understood by the layman is that the fight represented much more than just proving which style was more effective than another. It was symbolic of challenging tradition and the values embedded in that tradition. It was essentially a criticism on culture and a certain way of life.
Furthermore, saying that a particular martial art is ineffective is basically taking away would-be practitioners from starting in said art. When a fighting form stops receiving students, it eventually dies. Master Chang certainly sees the trend, in fighting and in other areas of life.
“So you wanna fight? Man. Don’t do Chinese Martial Arts. Do boxing, MMA or jiu-jitsu. You go in there and you fight. That’s all you have to do,” says the Master. “You want to be healthy? Just take your pills, or go down to the acupuncturist. She’ll put some needles in you. You’ll be fine. You want to do some pretty movements? Do modern wushu.”
Purpose of Chinese Martial Arts
For those unfamiliar with traditional CMA, it might be worth mentioning that many of those lines within the system have a considerable study based in the internal development of a person’s spirit and character. People don’t solely focus on how hard one can punch, how well one can fall or how efficiently one can immobilize their adversary.
Conceptually, the purpose of many of traditional forms is to create a harmonious union between the external and the internal. Use it as a tool to become a more evolved human being. When looking at it from that perspective, the bout that took place in China carries a bit more depth, and in some ways, more consequences.
“People go with simplicity. They react to aesthetics so they don’t want things to be too complicated because it’s harder for them to understand. That is the way of things, but that shouldn’t be the way of things, because we’re actually going farther away from the core of what we as human beings are,” says Master Chang.
“Luckily as human beings, we have a mind that can think and we have a body that can regenerate itself and through our thinking mind. Through our regenerating body, we can create something. And to give that up is, I feel, to give up something that is basic, something that is so important to our identity as human beings. We’re giving up a piece of ourselves in favor of a fad and that’s a tragedy.”