Ask most people about what they associate with Kung Fu and cutting-edge technology is not likely to be one of the first things that leaps to their mind.

But that might not be the case for long is the developers of a new app known as JabJabX have anything to do with it. Because this app, which has been created by a hot new start-up based in Hong Kong, the spiritual home of Kung Fu is trying to bring the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) to bear on the process of learning Kung Fu.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – JabJabX APP

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Kung Fu JabJabX

It consists of four sensors which are worn in a user’s hand wraps and ankle guards. Each sensor consists of an accelerometer and gyroscope. These collect data which is then sent via Bluetooth to an app which can be downloaded onto your Smartphone or tablet device.

The JabJabX app then analysis your Kung Fu technique as you practice, assessing such things as your punch speed and punch strength. It can provide feedback on full bouts or individual kicks and punches.

It can feed back this data to users along with relevant advice to help them improve their Kung Fu technique. The feedback is uniquely personalised and designed to help individuals, regardless of abilities, to learn and improve from the smallest of errors in their technique.

The founder of JabJabX is called Thomas Yu and he has already won the Big Data for Business (B4B) Challenge which was organised by Cyberport in Hong Kong and Innobator in Shanghai. Whilst the app is still at the testing stage at the moment, it is nonetheless attracting interest from investors in China, Hong Kong and beyond.

JabJabX Chose Hong Kong Because of Its Rich Kung Fu Heritage

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Kung Fu JabJabX

Thomas Yu has been an avid martial arts fan since childhood, but his interest had waned as he studied for his PhD, until he came to write his thesis when he began to reconnect. As a student of Computer Physics, he began to think about how computer science could be used to improve martial artists performance.

In particular, it dawned on him the value of being able to access accurate and live movement data on performances. The idea ruminated with him for a while before a meeting with David Au in his first job and subsequent interest from his app-developer brother Chung Au cemented the concept. And JabJabX was born.

As Thomas Yu told the South China Morning Post the JabJabX developers chose Hong Kong as their base precisely because of its rich Kung Fu heritage. “The city is rich in Kung Fu culture and we would like to revive Kung Fu by using AI technology,” he explained.

With an estimated 481 Kung Fu clubs in Hong Kong alone, it was the ideal place to try and get the idea off the ground.

China’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Kung Fu JabJabX

The timing of the development of JabJabX couldn’t be more prescient. Artificial Intelligence is a big deal in China right now as the Government seeks to develop the countries abilities in the area. Premier Li Keqiang has recently talked about the importance of AI as an area for economic development.

And the Government is putting its money where its mouth is too. According to the WuZhen Institute, a Chinese think-tank, China invested the second highest amount in the world in AI initiatives in 2016, with a total of US $2.6 billion being spent. Whilst this was some way behind the USA, with US$17.9 billion, it was still way ahead of the third highest placed country, the UK, with US$800 million.

Meanwhile, i-Research estimate the Chinese AI market to be worth as much as US$9.1 billion by as soon as 2020, which would be a phenomenal rate of growth if true. This makes it a great time to be moving into the AI sector, especially as the JabJabX is not providing a service which might replace jobs or have other consequences which the public might react negatively too.

And all new businesses in China need the support of the country’s Government if they are going to make a success of their business. With China’s growing relationship with Hong Kong, as well as its status as the biggest Kung Fu market in the world, this is particularly important for JabJabX.

It remains to be seen if JabJabX will be the revolutionary force in martial arts that its developers hope. But it does prove that even the most traditional of cultures are still open to modernisation.

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