A self-proclaimed tai chi master who challenged a popular Chinese MMA fighter in the boxing ring tapped out in mere seconds.
The much-awaited fight in southern China ended soon after the tai chi practitioner Chen Yong took a jab in the face from the MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong, ten seconds after the match began.
In what Xu told VICE World News was his “shortest” fight, Chen surrendered after Xu’s left fist landed squarely to his face following two kicks, sending the tai chi master to the fence. Chen grimaced in pain, and a referee declared Xu the winner.
A video of the Nov. 28 fight has been watched nearly a million times on YouTube. (The bout starts about 27 minutes in.)
Xu rose to internet stardom in 2017 for exposing what he called “fake kung fu” in China, in the process angering some Chinese martial arts practitioners and authorities.
Tai chi is a martial art based on the concept of yin and yang, popularly used around the world as a form of meditation and exercise. In challenging Xu to a fight in late 2018, however, Chen asserted that his school of tai chi could be applied in real combat.
“It’s about jin,” Chen said in a television interview then, referring to the concept of inner strength. He said this strength could be used in boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai.
Explaining why he lost to Xu, Chen said in a video he was “blinded by the sun” and literally blamed the floor.
“The moment I stepped into the cage I realized the ground was so soft. I have been practicing for a year on hard surfaces, soft surfaces inhibit tai chi,” he said in a video translated by the Fight Commentary Breakdowns channel on YouTube. “The power and force that comes from tai chi can’t be found on soft surfaces.”
Xu said that he “agrees” with Chen’s explanation and welcomes another fight if he is paid an appearance fee.
Chen joined a long list of self-proclaimed masters in the country to have embarrassed themselves in front of Xu, a 41-year-old mixed martial arts trainer.
In a high-profile match in 2017, Xu defeated tai chi master Wei Lei in a bout that lasted for only 20 seconds. He has since won fights against dozens of others, sometimes in comical fashion.
Accused of making a mockery of Chinese culture, the MMA fighter has been banned on Chinese social media. He has instead amassed huge followings on Twitter and YouTube, which are inaccessible in China without the use of a virtual private network, or VPN, service.
Last year, he was ordered to apologize and pay nearly $40,000 in damages after calling tai chi grandmaster Chen Xiaowang a fraud.
In an apparent response to Xu’s humiliation of supposed maestros, China’s martial arts regulator, the Chinese Wushu Association, earlier this year asked Chinese martial artists to stop calling themselves “masters.”
Alan Wong contributed reporting.