Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Xu Xiaodong, also known as “Mad Dog” Xu, has been attracting a lot of attention in the past few months, not just for his fighting skills in the ring as an MMA fighter but for fighting to expose all the self-proclaimed kung fu masters, whom he regards as frauds.
According to 41-year-old Beijing resident Xu, China has been infested with “fake kung fu masters” who are nothing but fraudulent people and have no idea even about the martial arts they teach and preach about. To expose them, Xu uses the traditional method of challenging them to a fight.
Some of them, enraged at Xu’s constant bold statements, accept the challenges or publicly challenge him to fights too.
The latest challenge comes just days before Macau’s ‘Summer of Wushu’ is set to begin. An opening ceremony for the International Wushu Festival will be held today, while the Wushu Masters Challenge will begin on August 1. In its fourth iteration this year, the latter event will present a Lion Dance Championship, Dragon Dance Championship and Wushu Summer Festival amongst others.
The organizers, the Sports Bureau (ID) and the Wushu General Association of Macau said that the four-day event “not only includes the essence of martial arts but also brings together cultural characteristics of various places.”
War of words
In the most recent case, known Tai Chi master Fan Shuai Xin has called on Xu for a fight in which he will aim to prove his Tai Chi talent and skills and also to prove that the art he represents is not “just folk,” as Xu has implied on several occasions.
The wars of the words between Xu and Fan began long ago, with Xu naming Fan a “Tai Chi Idiot Liar,” saying that he is “the biggest martial arts scam in China.”
“Mad Dog” accuses Fan of staging fake martial arts competitions and tournaments that are broadcasted on television channels in China.
“They [just] play around on the stage,” said Xu in a video posted on his Weibo account, a social media platform known as China’s Twitter. In the video, Xu replicates the actions and moves of the fighters in the ring, namely one where Fan is contending with his master.
The video concerned shows the final of the Chinese Wushu Championship in which Fan fights and loses to his master, Wang Zhanjun.
“Anyone who is a martial arts person can see that this is a fake fight,” Xu says, adding, “a master versus apprentice fight, the apprentice loses, the master is champion. I accept this challenge, Tai Chi Liar.”
Price to pay
The bold attitude of Xu has, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, already cost him benefits and money, with the media outlet reporting that Xu had been sentenced about two months ago by a Chinese court to pay RMB400,000 in compensation and ordered to publicly apologize on social media for seven consecutive days to Tai Chi “grandmaster” Chen Xiaowang.
The sentence came after a defamation case presented by Chen against Xu for insulting him in the same way he did to many others.
Chen is a board member of the Henan Institute of Sport and has the backing of the powerful Chinese Wushu Association, which has not taken lightly Xu’s mission to expose “fake kung fu” by shaming the traditional martial artists who he believes are scamming the public.
On his website, Chen names himself as the “nineteenth generation lineage holder of Chen family taijiquan” and “one of the few holders of the highest rank of ninth Duan Wei conferred by the Chinese Wushu Association.”
These are accolades that have put him in a prominent position worldwide concerning the martial art.