Martial arts

Chinese kick-boxer knocks out tai chi master with one punch in latest blow to traditional martial arts

  • Zhu Chunping, 47, lasts only five seconds against Yao Hantian
  • The 22-year-old Yao has been training kick-boxing for just six months
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 9:04pm

Traditional martial arts has suffered another blow in the battle for supremacy with more modern forms of combat after footage emerged of a Chinese kick-boxer flattening a tai chi master with just one punch.

The 47-year-old expert Zhu Chunping, who has been practising tai chi for decades, hit the canvas five seconds into a bout with Yao Hantian, a 22-year-old amateur who has only been training kick-boxing for six months.

The cross-disciplinary fight took place earlier this month at an event put on by the Shanghai-based Shengshi Yinghao Club in Suzhou, eastern China. The card also featured seven kick-boxing matches and one MMA bout, with around 1,500 spectators watching.

Doctors rushed into the ring to check on Zhu, with Shengshi Yinghao Club director Li Yong admitting the organisers had not expected things to end so quickly.

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“Upon examination, Master Zhu was fine. He recovered for one minute then walked down the ring by himself,” Li, who also coaches Yao, told MailOnline.

At 1.7 metres, Zhu is one inch shorter than Yao but three kilograms heavier at 75kg. Organisers said Zhu is also a master with traditional weapons such as swords and sticks.

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Li said the fight was not arranged to determine the supremacy of one form over the other, but for mutual improvement.

He also defended tai chi after the outcome of the fight had prompted ridicule of Zhu and the traditional form, but admitted it was an outdated style compared to modern combat sports.

“Tai chi can improve one’s health and temperament and has a lot of philosophy of martial arts in it,” Li said.

“A lot of the kick-boxing techniques come from tai chi, such as shoulder roll and the way you use your strength while kicking. It is an important part of modern boxing.”

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Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong sparked controversy last May when he pummelled self-proclaimed tai chi master Wei Lei in just 11 seconds. Such was the outrage of some, a Chinese tycoon offered a total of US$1.45 million to anyone who could defeat Xu and “defend the dignity” of martial artists.

Xu said he was assaulted in September 2017 by two strangers claiming they represented traditional martial arts. He said the attack went on for 15 minutes, and forced him to withdrew from public life for a few months.

But the 40-year-old resurfaced in April this year, beating kung fu master Ding Hao in under two minutes.

He broke his silence earlier this month, vowing he would keep on exposing “kung fu fakery” but claimed he had been barred “indefinitely” from organising tournaments for fighters at his Beijing gym.

Li appeared to share some of Xu’s sentiments, saying that modern masters do not know how best to convey the sophistication of traditional arts.

“All they do is boast that they could fight, which leads to the opposition between modern boxing and those ‘fake’ kung fu masters,” Li said.

“Chinese kung fu is great, but it has been used in the wrong place by people with their own agenda.”

Tai chi is said to have been invented in 17th century China, and is one of the most popular sports with Chinese state media claiming it is practised by more than 250 million people worldwide.