Xu Xiaodong vs Wei Lei

Discussion in 'Internal Martial Arts' started by Tobyk, May 19, 2017.

  1. Tobyk

    Tobyk New Member

    Hi Guys,

    As some of you would not doubt be aware, several weeks ago 38-year-old Xu Xiaodong (retired, self-taught MMA stylist) fought 42-year-old Wei Lei (Taichi "Grandmaster") under no-holds-barred rules. The bout was held in China, and the youtube video has since gone viral. The fight itself has gained enormous notoriety in China, as Xu Xiaodong is challenging centuries-old beliefs about mystical martial prowess in traditional styles such as Taichi. You can search for "xu xiaodong" or "wei lei" on youtube to see the fight. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but let's say that it's not very pretty...

    I really, really applaud Xu for coming out and making a stand against so-called mystical powers. In the past, I spent a few years learning Taichi, and in hindsight, didn't learn much martial skill at all. I did learn several forms, weapons and push hands, and kept hearing it is a real martial art. I did not see much evidence of this during my training, but there was this one guy from Indonesia who knew Chen style Taichi. He was very good, and explained that being part of the Chinese minority in Indonesia, he got into lots of street fights. He said that of all the people he fought, a boxer gave him the most trouble. During a particularly vigorous push hands session with another student, he tore one of that student's shoulder muscles. Pushing hands with another (somewhat overweight) student, he told me afterwards that the other student had a lot of his weight forward and was ripe for an uppercut... an uppercut in Taichi? It was obvious he knew other styles besides Taichi.

    I thought that by sticking around I'd eventually be taught something useful, but no such luck, so I eventually quit. And yet, in the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping that someone, somewhere, knew the secret techniques that would turn the slow-motion Taichi dance moves into deadly skills.

    And now I see Xu Xiaodong's challenge to all traditional stylists in China! I love this guy!

    I didn't know much about Xu Xiaodong, and just saw this interview which was taken some time after the fight with Wei Lei (with very passable English subtitles):
    (The subtitles are very quick, so maybe turn off the sound and play it at half speed to make easier reading.)

    It's a long interview, and Xu seems very honest with his answers. He doesn't disparage traditional styles at all, and there are exchanges such as:

    Interviewer: So what is your understanding? (in regard to defeating Wei Lei/a Taichi "master")
    Xu: In my understanding, Taijiquan has some good stuff, but in so many years, we have not met good ones.
    Interviewer: ... Maybe it is Taijiquan itself which is lacking in fighting skills?
    Xu: It is lacking in 99% of practitioners. Maybe there are one or two, in the whole of China, who have true skills. All the others are frauds.
    Interviewer: So of those one or two with real skills, are those skills inherent in their Taijichuan, or do they practise something else, beyond Taijichuan?
    Xu: They do practise Taijichuan but they also practise other things.
    Interviewer: That's how they gain fighting skills/
    Xu: Right.
    Interviewer: ... So this obviously means that so-called Taijichuan does not bring fighting skills?
    Xu: I cannot say it like that.
    Interviewer: Why?
    Xu: Because there are so many... 40 million people practising Taijichuan in the whole world. How do I stand against 40 million people?

    Really riveting stuff!!!

    What about you guys? What do you think of the fight?

    Let me be clear: I do not hate traditional styles. I do not hate Taichi in particular. I just think that there are a lot of people out there trying to make money by teaching absolute crap and telling people they can use it to defend themselves. I know some of you on this forum are practitioners and also teachers of Taichi/Taijiquan. I'm a lover of all martial arts, as long as they teach useful martial skills.

    But now to hear a guy from mainland China echo those same sentiments, and challenge his own countrymen in a land of a billion people? Absolutely priceless!!!

    I'd be very interested to read what you have to say about Xu Xaodong and Wei Lei.

  2. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

  3. Tobyk

    Tobyk New Member

    Hi LFD,

    Thanks for the welcome! I did a search on "wei lei" and "xu xiaodong" but came up empty. Different spelling! Thanks for pointing me to the old thread, I'll take a look.


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