Are traditional martial arts 'useless'?

Updated 2017-05-04 16:00:28
A participant performs Taichi during a Taichi national contest in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2015.

A participant performs Taichi during a Taichi national contest in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2015.

Editor's note: A video showing Taichi master Wei Lei getting knocked out in less than 20 seconds by a MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter Xu Xiaodong sparked a heated debate about whether Chinese traditional martial arts are effective in actual combat. What do you think?

weiwu (China)

To be honest, I don't believe traditional kung fu such as Taichi and others can beat the mixed martial arts, because the former lacks fighting skills. I support Xu, and hope traditional martial arts can be enhanced and used in a real fight. The real fights do not have any standards, so the competitors can do anything to defeat his rival.

1105852048 (U.S.)

Why should the authenticity of taijinquan be questioned, when there is ample proof in Chinese culture and history? I have seen a different taiji master fight a MMA fighter and easily won the match. Thus, who wins entirely depends on the skill of each participant.

Kevan (China)

I think it is visually interesting and good exercise. However, for self defense it is pretty poor unless you have trained for years. Military and security organizations teach effective, proven self defense techniques which are quick to learn and efficient. They don't teach kung fu. Also, if you look at the UFC, you won't see much kungfu there either.

Michael (U.S.)

Unlike a MMA fighter, Taichi is not meant for acutal combat but a means of seeking health and peace through movement. Street fighters often use the overwhelming tactics - be it punches or kicks, to gain the upper hand. I'm curious why a Taichi master would choose to issue such a challenge: surely it goes against the ethics of the art?

Jeremy (UK)

Most people don't practice tai chi for combat. They seek it for health and spiritual reasons. Also, it takes many, many years of training for the successful application of tai chi. I believe a well trained tai chi practitioner can easily defeat a well trained MMA fighter. Tai chi uses the opponents force against him and they all are pretty aggressive.

Rogers (Canada)

A big problem with most traditional martial arts is their terribly unrealistic training programs. Most practitioners end up asking themselves, "I wonder if what I am learning would work in real life?" Boxers don't ask this. Muay Thai practitioners don't ask this. Brazilian ju-jitsu fighters don't ask this. Why not? Because they don't have to. They KNOW what they are learning will work, because they regularly train against actively resisting opponents under highly realistic conditions. This is what MMA fighters frequently call "alive" training. If a martial art isn't built around "alive" training, you might as well be tap-dancing.

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