Where Are The Chinese Fighters? – Why MMA Has Not Flourished In Chinese Society (In-Depth Analysis with Videos)

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In a Chinese New Year special, DynastyClothingStore.com dives into the seldom-spoken topic of Chinese fighters in MMA. Brace yourselves… this is the longest blog entry we’ve ever done. It is not for the casual reader. If you call yourself an MMA fan though, we know you’ve been dying to ask these questions. We’ve got the answers, and the videos.

But if you’re too lazy, scroll down all the way to the bottom for the “Too Long, Didn’t Read” version, where we sum up this near 7,000 word article in one short paragraph.

Strapped in tight? Here we go.
Strapped in tight? Here we go.

Being the birthplace of Asian martial arts (as the Chinese phrase goes: “all martial arts come from Shaolin” – albeit with influences from India), China (a.k.a. The Middle Kingdom) possesses over five thousand years of history, and is the central origin of all Asian people and culture that can be traced back to the ancient times. While they won’t openly admit it, neighbouring nations such as Japan, Korea, and all of South East Asia owe their historical and cultural roots to China, in one way or another.

Why is it then, in a society of more than 2 billion ethnic Chinese people scattered across the globe combined, we have not had any successful Chinese fighters (so far)? Why is it that Japan, a tiny island comprised of only about 125 million people, has produced some of the sport’s most legendary MMA fighters, and Korea is taking the lead in pushing the next wave of successful Asian fighters, while China (and its neighbouring Chinese populations in and of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau) is still the odd country out of the party? Why have Chinese fighters failed to find success at prize fighting and what is it that makes Chinese people “different” than other Asian fighters?

We’re going to look at the legitimate factors that have contributed to the slow acceptance of MMA in Chinese society, as well as dissecting the potential bullshit “reasons not to train MMA” agenda that Chinese martial arts masters preach. We’re about to see how much of it is with good reason, and how much of it is just Chinese people making up excuses and not being good at fighting MMA.

China Top Team
China Top Team

Factor #1:
Historical & Political Situation Stopped Growth & Development of Martial Arts in modern China

What Happened in China:
Without opening a gigantic textbook on the history of modern China, we’ll be as brief as we can. Right after the communist party (Mainland China) drove out the nationalists (Taiwanese) in 1949 to Taiwan after World War II, they banned the right to train martial arts in China for fear of people overthrowing the government, and burned down the Shaolin temples.

What?

That’s right. Martial arts, having originated in China, were banned from being practiced for the next thirty (30) years (until 1989 when the government decided to rebuild the Shaolin temple and “lift the ban on martial arts”) in the mainland.

What Happened Around The World:
Exact facts and dates aside, we know that this is the same era and time when the Japanese embraced western catch wrestling / professional wrestling in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and added it to their existing Judo and Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Karate flourished and offshoot hard styles emerged such as Kyokushin Karate, challenging western kickboxing styles. Soon, kickboxing and grappling were combined as “Shooto”, derived from “shoot fighting” as pro wrestlers called it (a more realistic version of pro wrestling techniques), and we all knew that turned into MMA in Japan.

Japanese MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba
Japanese MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba

Koreans have adapted Taekwondo mainly from Karate during their time from being occupied by the Japanese, as well as Judo, and have become very strong in these martial arts during this time as well. Interestingly, the founder of Kyokushin Karate, Mas Oyama, was ethnic Korean (a.k.a. Choi Young-Eui / Choi Baedal), who went around all of Japan beating every Karate master there was to form what he called “The Ultimate Truth” (Kyokushin), the first and foremost style of full contact karate.

Mas Oyama fought bulls and invented the 100-Man Kumite.
Mas Oyama fought bulls and invented the 100-Man Kumite.

Mitsuyo Maeda of course brought Judo newaza (ground fighting) to Gastao Gracie, Carlos Gracie, and Helio Gracie in 1914, and the Gracies and other Brazilian families have been developing their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu undisturbed for the better part of a century.

Founder of Gracie Jiu Jitsu
Founder of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Helio Gracie

Somewhere in Russia, two dudes (Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov) who trained Judo in Japan came back home and combined it with wrestling to make Sambo, a hybrid martial art and combat sport defined by its intention to be “a merger of the most effective techniques of other martial arts”, and someone named Fedor Emelianenko was born.

An exception to the rule...
An exception to the rule…

Struggle For Stability & Modernity:
Having been ripped apart, raped, and pillaged by foreign powers during WW1 and WW2 (pretty much every nation you could think of who wanted a piece of China, including but not limited to: Japan, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia, the Dutch, Portugal, etc.), losing Hong Kong to the British, Macau to the Portuguese, and a good chunk of Chinese leaving for Taiwan (Formosa), the Chinese people as a whole were a social and economical mess.

Propaganda was running wild.
Propaganda was running wild.

Under the great leadership of the communist party (note: sarcasm), China underwent horrible famines and failed their attempts at modernization without commercialism / capitalism, and basically shut themselves out of any cultural trade or development for half a century. Japan on the other hand was embracing change, western technology and teachings, rebuilding after the war, and enjoyed massive growth and development. Chinese people during this time were struggling to pick themselves back up, and simply were not training any martial arts or developing their game because they weren’t allowed, or even socially or economically stable to do so.

Turning Martial Arts Into A Performance Art:
Kung Fu practitioners during this time (1949 and onwards) could only mildly train forms to hide their techniques, similar to how Brazilians trained Capoeira as a dance to hide their deadly attacks during times of slavery. This was largely compressed together as “Wushu”, an umbrella term / sport combining all Chinese martial arts techniques. Wushu then went on to become more of a performance art / sport, emphasizing forms and athleticism as a showcase of Chinese martial arts rather than competitive sport fighting.

Chinese Wushu

The Need For a Real Combat Sport:
Somewhere along the way in the 1970’s, some guy in the Chinese military decided to call bullshit on all this fancy stuff, and combined traditional kung fu fighting styles (Chinese martial arts were categorized into four families: Ti (To Kick), Da (To Hit), Shuai (To Wrestle), Na (To Grapple or Submit), basically Chinese “mixed martial arts”) to form a hybrid Chinese art known as Sanshou (Sanda), which means “free fighting”. It was a Chinese style of kickboxing combined with wrestling take downs and Judo throws. It’s distinction that made it “Chinese” was it’s leg catching techniques. A Sanshou fighter has great awareness of kicks and can catch any incoming kick and trip / take down / dump their opponent. It is now largely known to the world today through UFC fighter Cung Le who uses this Sanshou style as his main style of attack.

UFC Fighter and Sanshou world champion Cung Le
UFC Fighter and Sanshou world champion Cung Le. Cung Le is Vietnamese, but that fact aside, he’s been the only successful fighter so far to make use of a Chinese style in MMA.

The “Westernized” Colonies:
Hong Kong (The Pearl of the Orient) and Macau (The Las Vegas of Asia) flourished under British and Portuguese rule, respectively. Many Kung Fu masters including Ip Man (Bruce Lee’s teacher) had fled to the shores of Hong Kong to escape the war and Japanese occupation. Yet they were only just cities, not large enough to influence new Chinese martial arts styles to emerge (there is of course Bruce Lee, more on him in a bit) but did refine their existing styles of Wing Chun and Hung Gar through many infamous “rooftop challenge matches” between Kung Fu masters. We don’t know what was going on with Taiwan at this time. Having been under Japanese occupation, one would think they’ve done something with their martial arts in a free market economy, but sadly all they’ve managed to do was produce the William Hung of MMA, Andy Wang.

One Anomaly:
There is, of course, the man the myth the legend Bruce Lee. He was the first to get a taste of America, said “fuck this shit” and started doing his thing at this time period. Traveling to the States because of his street fighting behaviour and getting into trouble with the local Triads and police in Hong Kong, he was planting the seeds to his philosophy that “there is no best style”, and propagating the first psychological motions of mixed martial arts fighting.

Bruce Lee just plain didn't give a fuck about what the old masters had to say.
Bruce Lee just plain didn’t give a fuck about what the old masters had to say.

But by the time he returned to Hong Kong, became an overnight superstar and subsequent death, Chinese society had already lagged behind about 20-30 years in their development of modern martial arts. While Bruce Lee’s teachings should have caught on with the Chinese people, it somehow didn’t… at least, not in the fashion that we as MMA fans would have hoped for. Tradition still held on tight to many of our martial arts disciplines, and no one came close to pushing the boundaries as much as Bruce Lee did ever since.

Factor #2:
Traditional Martial Arts Thinking, Romanticism, & Believing Into Our Own Bullshit

You see, Chinese people were (and still are) too attached to traditional thinking and culture, especially when it came to traditional Chinese Kung Fu (more on the cultural and economics aspects later). Bruce Lee himself was attacked by Chinese Kung Fu masters in the States for teaching westerners his Kung Fu / Wing Chun (which ironically, sparked Bruce to abandon Kung Fu and start cross training in Fencing, Boxing, and Judo). This example alone, demonstrates the stubborn mentality the Chinese people had at the time, unlike the Japanese and other western fighters, who were traveling the world and cross training in different styles to become better martial artists.

The Chinese version of The Holocaust, The Rape of Nanking, were still fresh in Chinese peoples' minds at the hands of the Japanese
The Chinese version of The Holocaust, The Rape of Nanking, was still fresh in Chinese peoples’ minds at the hands of the Japanese.

However, it is fair to note that after the Chinese suffered at the hands of foreign oppression for the better part of a century, this “not sharing with foreigners” mentality is understandably deserved. Since Chinese Kung Fu masters hung onto their beloved Chinese techniques and traditional thinking, a number of negative consequences happened as a result.

1. Kung Fu Was A Secret… That Nobody Knew
Chinese Kung Fu was too secretly guarded and rarely taught or passed down to anyone, especially not to foreigners. This led to many old masters with esoteric styles not having many students, and the failure of passing on techniques means the death of their style and knowledge, eliminating any hopes of growth and development. There used to be hundreds of styles of Kung Fu ranging from all four categories of styles as mentioned before (directly influencing the likes of Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and now Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), but now only a select number remain known and practiced. The notable ones that remain today are Wushu, Wing Chun, Choy Li Fut, Tai Chi, Hung Gar, Ba Gua Quan, Xing Yi, various internal styles, and to a much lesser extent, Shuai Jiao (traditional Chinese wrestling, similar to Mongolian wrestling / Judo), and of course Shaolin Kung Fu (a plethora of animal styles such as Crane Fist [Karate], Praying Mantis and more).


Great demonstration… now can you do that in a live fight?

2. Self Defense, Not A Sport
Because Chinese martial arts systems are mainly based on self defense and contains no sport fighting elements (as opposed to Karate, Taekwondo, and Judo that have adopted sport / point fighting elements), you are never really able to use it or practice it in a live combat environment, contributing to the lack of development, modernization, and refinement of their style of Kung Fu, causing students and masters to continue to (falsely) believe that their style works (even when others have already evolved beyond most of their styles through decades of trial and error, sparring, and refinement).


Lightning fast… but can it do damage?

Out of all the Chinese martial arts, Wing Chun has been the only prominent art that has held its own in practicality and effectiveness against other styles throughout the years. Of course, we know the MMA gloves destroy any hope of any Chinese fighter using Wing Chun as a style, although UFC commentator Joe Rogan has commented that he would like to see a fighter use Wing Chun’s chain punches from the mount.


Why yes, it can! A real Wing Chun practitioner destroys a Kyokushin Karate guy… but they end up fighting on the ground anyway.

3. False Romanticism
Because Chinese martial arts were losing popularity (due to reason #1), took too long to learn and were too difficult to implement because of the lack of any live sporting element (reason #2), Chinese Kung Fu was regulated to being only a traditional martial art that believed in it’s own bullshit, even when it started to get picked apart by other styles in fight competitions.


Kyokushin Karate vs. “Drunken Boxing”. Please, stop embarrassing yourselves.

Chinese Kung Fu and martial arts myth and lore were so vast and rich, that many people (all across the globe) loved Kung Fu / Wuxia films, and still do. You can just ask hip-hop super group the Wu-Tang Clan. Front man RZA, engineered the group’s sound and persona off of classic Shaw Brothers Kung Fu films that he saw as a kid in the States. RZA now trains under former Shaolin Monk Shifu Shi Yan Ming, who opened up the USA Shaolin Temple in New York.

This clever guy had "The American Dream" and escaped from his touring Monk mates to spread Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu, his way.
This clever guy had “The American Dream” and escaped from his touring Monk mates to spread Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu.

Bruce Lee, back in the day, was already implementing the earliest of MMA techniques in his movies… and nobody noticed it because they were always in love with Bruce’s “Kung Fu”.

Whoa what the fuck? That's a grappling headlock from Judo side control!
Whoa what the fuck? That’s a grappling headlock from Judo side control!
Bruce actually applies a sloppy, early modified armbar on poor Sammo Hung! With the first set of MMA gloves ever made we might add. Holy shit!
Bruce actually applies a sloppy, early modified armbar on poor Sammo Hung! With the first set of MMA gloves ever made we might add. Holy shit!

International superstars who followed the footsteps of Bruce Lee such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen, enjoyed many years of success as martial arts film action stars. Yet ultimately, they are just film actors. While Jackie Chan was schooled in the Beijing Opera martial arts, his moves are a combination of real Chinese Kung Fu, theatrical stunt work, and clever choreography.

Jet Li was a 5-time national Wushu champion and has legit martial arts skills spanning many different Chinese styles such as Shaolin Kung Fu, Long Fist, Taichi Quan, and others. But he was no prize fighter.

Donnie Yen, perhaps the most “modern” out of all his peers, has many years of legit Chinese martial arts training and cross training in newer styles such as Taekwondo and Boxing, but even he never stepped foot in a ring.

Chinese people seemed to have become attached to their idols and heroes in the entertainment world and embraced this type of romanticism of their martial arts, and forgot that the world outside Chinese martial arts was changing rapidly and leaving them behind.

4. Disbelief, Denial and Excuses
As far as we know, when the foreign fighters challenged real life folk hero Huo Yuan Jia in 1910 (played by Jet Li in “Fearless”), he smoked them all by historical accounts.

But… that was when nobody knew MMA.

When Chinese fighters started losing these sport competitions and challenge matches decades later (aside from Sanshou fights which Chinese fighters still rule with an iron fist over even Muay Thai fighters), because of their stubbornness to embrace change and growth, they started living in denial, and made up excuses for their failures. They shunned the training of other martial arts (mainly the grappling / ground game), called them “gay” or “nonsense”, and claimed Boxing and Muay Thai used “gloves” that took away the strengths and usefulness of Chinese Kung Fu.


Japanese “Kiai Master” scam artist gets his ass kicked by an MMA fighter.


American version. The Human Stun Gun gets debunked by MMA.


Trolling or not trolling, still funny, and still sad.

5. The Martial Arts “Avoiding Conflict” Paradox
Martial arts, when written in Chinese, “Wushu”, can literally be separated and interpreted as “the art of avoiding conflict”. Jet Li talked about this in his most important film “Fearless” a.k.a. “Huo Yuan Jia”.

Now we could all just go home at this point, because Jet Li is absolutely right about averting conflict, and even he himself admitted in a behind the scenes interview in “Cradle 2 The Grave” that he was no UFC fighter. But what about some of the other stuff these Chinese masters are saying? They say “MMA is trash”, the grappling is “gay”, are for thugs, goons, and gangsters who just want to fight, and isn’t a martial art. They claim that people who do MMA aren’t martial artists and don’t understand what is respect, honour, etc.

Let’s put our conspiracy hats on for a moment.

These masters could very well be using these claims to make excuses for the fact that they weren’t cross training or were too afraid to adapt themselves, fearing they’d fail to do so (trying to save “face” and reputation as a Kung Fu school). One of the most common “reasons” Chinese martial arts practitioners come up with to defend their style is that Chinese martial arts and people don’t train Kung Fu to fight others. They say they train it for health, for self defense, and to kill when attacked, not to bully others and compete in a sport that’s only a “game”.


Ip Chun explains Martial Arts is for self defense, health, and not for fighting.

There is of course truth to this statement… that is until I saw this:


Oh dear god. I trained my entire life in Chinese Kung Fu only to fight like this?

Self defense is great. Training for the health benefits are great. Having to never use your martial arts because you’ve reached martial arts mastery in the mind and body is also great. That is what martial arts is about. We understand that and we don’t have a problem with that at all.

But here lies the paradox:
If I train in something that I’m not allowed to use, or will never get to use, is there even a point?

Now what if I get provoked and had to use it in a fight? Sure, I could beat up some other Karate or Taekwondo guys with my Wing Chun Kung Fu… but what about MMA?


Wing Chun vs Boxing… someone gets knocked the fuck out.


…ends with a snap.

If what these masters are saying is true; I cannot train MMA and still be a noble martial artist who avoids conflict!?

That sounds like classic, grade A, Chinese KONY 2012 kool-aid bullshit to me.

kony2012
…and I still haven’t watched this video, LOL!

Martial arts is about the practitioner, and what he/she does with it, not the martial arts style itself. Just because MMA attracts the douchebag crowd to learn it and fight others… does not mean douchebags weren’t training Chinese Kung Fu decades ago for the same intentions, when it too, was the “cool” thing to do on the block.


This is touching. Ip Chun really is a bad ass martial arts master. He even talks about the evolution of his style of Wing Chun to become a more complete martial art. I have no doubt about this man’s knowledge and have all the respect in the world for him. But let’s be honest with ourselves. This is a movie. You can see the stunt double acting as Ip Chun when it’s not a close up shot. Any Wing Chun fighter who tries to only use Wing Chun would get crushed in MMA.

To be fair, we aren’t bashing Chinese martial arts. We aren’t even bashing traditional martial arts. They are the father of all Asian martial arts and should be respected. If you learn something useful, are able to defend yourself, and aren’t looking to fight or compete, then all the power to you.


Kung Fu, especially Wing Chun, is pretty awesome when done right. MMA is just a sport with rules anyway, not allowing eye gouging and groin strikes, right?

But that’s not what this is about.

We know traditional martial arts are powerful, and we understand MMA is just a sport with rules.

Hell, just look at Lyoto Machida who successfully used Karate in MMA, which was thought to not work before he became a champion. Anthony Pettis, Benson Henderson, and Anderson Silva are all Taekwondo black belts, all successful in MMA.

What we’re trying to find out is why Chinese people have sucked at MMA, and failed to adapt their techniques for MMA (Sanshou being the only exception). It has come to our attention that their stubbornness to adapt has been one of the key contributing factors to the lack of success of Chinese fighters.


Bryan To, a Hong Kong kickboxing champion, makes his MMA debut. For the love of Buddha, please learn the ground game first before you step into an MMA fight, you’re embarrassing yourself and your entire country.

Okay, so martial arts were banned in China for three decades and their country was in turmoil for basically a whole century. Yet you’re not fully convinced. Neither are we. If Chinese fighters are so successful in the Sanshou arena, they should have the same drive to learn the ground game and kick ass in MMA, right?

Well it turns out it isn’t as simple as that. Let’s dive deeper into Chinese society and psychology and see what pushes these Chinese youth away from pursuing combat sports in the first place…

Factor #3:
Traditional Chinese Culture, Society, and Teachings Kill The Pursuit of Sports & Fighting

As if the aforementioned five reasons of Chinese martial arts culture weren’t enough to slow, if not stop, Chinese youth from cross training and becoming great fighters, there’s a whole boatload of cultural factors as well. Where do we even start? Let’s categorize it like this: Money, Sports, Family, Society, and Psychology.

Courtesy of DynastyClothingStore.com
Courtesy of DynastyClothingStore.com

6. Chinese Culture Is All About Money
You should be well aware of this stereotype by now. The overprotective, strict, control freak Asian parents. The “Tiger Mom”s. The smart Asian kid who gets perfect grades. “Too Asian”, too many Asians taking over universities all across north America. The yellow peril who came to America to steal all our jobs.

I'm Rich Biatch!!!
I’m Rich Biatch!!!

When they say “Asian”, what they really mean is “Chinese”. This is not a jab at Koreans or Japanese. All Asian parents are equally strict, but there are slight differences. As far as I know, Chinese culture is the only one that literally revolves around money. Who else gives out lucky red pocket (lai see / hong bao) money every Chinese New Years? There’s Christmas and the exchange of gifts… but that’s not the same thing as giving away straight cash… and what makes money again?

Sure as hell not fighting.

Ask any Asian. Which subject / occupation did their parents want them to study, and who are they now? They are probably involved in one of the following fields:

1. Doctor / Dentist / Health / Medicine
2. Scientist / Engineer
3. Law
4. Business / Entrepreneur / Real Estate / Finance / Accounting
5. IT / Computers

If you tried to study anything else… you were a loser. Abandoned. Kicked out. Neglected, unloved child. Disowned. Or maybe you were semi-supported, but were still forced to go to university, even though that you knew you would benefit much more from a hands-on college program. Many Asian kids are forced to study what their parents told them to study, but end up doing what they want to do anyways, often (again) a few years behind their peers who started before them. If you failed at it, you’d be constantly teased by your parents, comparing you to other Chinese parents and how successful “their” kids were.

This is a very Chinese problem that is unique to Chinese people and culture. Choosing to become a fighter? Damn near unfathomable.

Takanori Gomi

Slightly Off-Topic: Similarly in Japanese culture, if you did something shameful or brought shame to the family, you would never be forgiven. This is why there is such a high suicide rate in Japan because they have trouble dealing with forgiveness and redemption. Takanori Gomi himself was disowned by his father when he told him he wanted to pursue fighting. His last name Gomi means “trash”, and wasn’t even his real last name.

7. Sports Were Never A Priority

Sports and athletics? Now that’s completely out of the question. Asians don’t support their kids in athletic programs. With the exception of the Chinese government hand picking babies to train for gold medals in the Olympics, they just don’t have competent sports programs. Developing children to fight MMA? They don’t give a shit about that. Parents make their kids take piano and violin lessons.

We need Yellow Pride, holmes.
We need Yellow Pride, holmes.

In contrast, American schools and colleges have all the amateur wrestling programs in place. American families encourage their kids to wrestle in elementary school, high school, and college, and to take part in extra curricular activities all the time, producing many more high level athletes and mixed martial arts fighters (wrestling is arguably the most important base martial art to have for MMA as more than half of UFC’s champions all know and use wrestling).

8. Family Values
Chinese people are taught to work together and value your family. You listen to your family. You don’t go out and reach out to achieve your own destiny. You usually took up the family business or listened to your parents by working an occupation of their choice, not yours.

I just made 200k this year. Fighting? I think I'll take a vacation instead.
I just made 200k this year. Fighting? I think I’ll take a vacation instead.

Whereas white folks kick their kids out after high school and force them to move out and create their own lives, Chinese families all live together, sometimes packed with up to three generations’ (grandfather / grandmother, father / mother, sons / daughters) worth of family members under one roof.

Chinese kids are taught to be filial. If you cared about your family and listened to them, you sure as hell wouldn’t defy them to become a mixed martial arts fighter.

9. Asian Society Doesn’t Understand Fighting, Thinks It’s Only For Gangsters and Thugs

Traditional Asian / Chinese thinking praises martial arts and Kung Fu… but competing in a combat sport like kickboxing or Muay Thai?

That is barbaric!
That is barbaric!

No way.

In Chinese society, they think that only thugs and Triad gangsters train and fight kickboxing. Fighting is seen as something “ugly”, or something only kids who are failures / dropped out of school / gangsters would do. “Good kids” practice Wing Chun… or Tai Chi. Or play the piano and violin…

Chinese parents are too protective of their kids to allow them to ever compete professionally, and in the rare occasions that they do let them, more often than not they’re westernized, don’t support their kid’s decision, or under the government’s pressure to send them off to an Olympic training facility for the rest of that poor kid’s life.

Gloves Come Off

Most recently this type of thinking has started to change, due to… you guessed it, Chinese people making movies about kickboxing! Now parents are more understanding of combat sports and how they build friendships and skills. But we still have a long way to go.

10. History Proves Chinese Used Their Brains To Fight, Not Their Fists
The Chinese invented at least 7 revolutionary things including paper, printing, gun powder / bombs, early irrigation techniques, compass, the repeating crossbow (the sub machine gun of their times), the “rocket launcher” that launched a salvo of arrows (the wasp as they call it), amongst many other amazing things too long to list here.

The Chinese were the first to really sail the seas with gigantic fleets, reaching Africa and North America sooner than Christopher Columbus ever did, but instead of committing mass genocide against the native Indians and forcing unwilling populations to conform to their religion, they instead returned to China (because China had everything anyways) after trading with foreigners peacefully.

Sun Tzu Art of War

Chinese people used their brains. They were not barbarians, but were strategists. I’m sure you have heard of The Art of War by Sun Tzu by now. That’s just one example, albeit the most famous one, in western society. Chinese people’s way of fighting was to win without fighting. Thus, in a pure one on one contest, they were rarely tested.

11. Warrior’s Mentality
The Chinese didn’t really have a warrior class because they didn’t really need one. Greeks had their “philosophers and boy lovers”, but also the Spartans as warriors. The Japanese, similar to the British, had to create their army and infuse them with the warrior’s mentality because they both came from a tiny island with nothing on it. The Japanese had to unite the samurai class with their modern army, and the English had to form the United Kingdom. They both needed to conquer other lands for resources to expand or else they would perish. Having a fiery need for conquest will produce great armies with an indomitable fighting spirit.

Once Upon A Time In China

If you want to learn all about this period of Chinese history, watch Jet Li in the Once Upon A Time in China films. He plays real life folk hero Wong Fei Hung and fights the foreign powers who are invading China and tearing his country apart. Jet Li is loved by the Chinese people for a reason, folks.

Chinese people didn’t have this mentality to go to war and take over other people’s lands because they never needed it. China had all the massive land and resources you could ever want, and that’s why the rest of the world came to China in the 18th and 19th centuries to trade with, and subsequently invade China. Back then, it wasn’t the Americans screaming at foreign immigrants to get out of their land, it was the Chinese screaming at invading foreigners to get out of China!

In addition to that, the Chinese were too busy fighting amongst each other (for thousands of years). China is a huge place, with over 50 ethnic Chinese groups wandering around the Middle Kingdom. Chinese had the Han and Manchurians as the brains, who ruled for centuries long, but the closest thing to a warrior class related to the Chinese region were the Mongolians. Shaolin Monks and the Jin Yi Wei (Brocade Guard, the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s personal elite assassination squad) don’t really count, as the Shaolin Monks are well, monks, and the Jin Yi Wei were a small covert group that carried out their missions in secret.

Mongolian blood! Coincidence? We think not.
Mongolian blood! Coincidence? We think not.

Mongolians were the strongest fighters and conquerors in the Middle Kingdom and took over most of the known world at one point, using their superior archery (the sniper rifle of their time), horseback riding and fighting skills, their Mongolian wrestling, and their strength from eating horse meat, sheep meat, and nomadic culture. It is no surprise then, that the only Chinese fighter who has made it into the UFC at this time, is none other than an ethnic Mongolian, Tiequan Zhang (who happens to be a national Mongolian wrestling champion… surprise surprise).

Factor #4:
Physical Limitations, Rules of the Sport, Jet Lag, and Weight Cutting

Chinese people have been held back by history, loved their Kung Fu too much, won’t admit they needed a grappling / ground game and are too stubborn to learn it, and Chinese society, parents, and family don’t care and aren’t supportive of them choosing the path to be a professional athlete. Those are a lot of negative elements going on already, but in case you still weren’t convinced, here are the final set of reasons.

12. Physical Limitations
Most southern and Han Chinese are at a physical disadvantage. This is just fact, they aren’t a huge people. Most weigh around the 100lb. to 150lb. range, being 5’3 to 5’8 in height on average, with average genes and athleticism. Northern Chinese fare better, are more muscular and taller, and have better physical attributes. But relatively speaking, they are also poorer, and probably don’t even know what MMA is yet. The Mongolians to the far north actually have the highest chances of doing well in MMA, as they grow up in a warrior culture that forces them to wrestle and farm everyday since they were boys (we will target this topic more in-depth in a future article), making them strong, durable, and grappling-centric from the very start.

Nutritionally speaking, Dim Sum doesn't give you much.
Nutritionally speaking, Dim Sum doesn’t give you much.

The Japanese are around the same size as the Chinese, but Koreans are significantly larger and stronger because of their Mongolian roots and their protein heavy diet. The Japanese eat a lot of raw fish, and a balanced amount of carbs and proteins. The Koreans are protein and vegetable heavy, eating more like Europeans. Now what do the Chinese eat? Pretty much nothing but useless carbs. Rice, buns, bread, noodles, mixed with greasy meats and veggies, and a lot of oily appetizers and snacks. They are neither protein heavy or vegetable heavy, and this makes them not very physically gifted.

That is also why, if you make a general comparison, Asians that grow up overseas in western countries, are reasonably taller and larger than their brethren back home. They eat what western people eat, and that is a lot more protein, calcium, and vitamins. They also are less cramped, live in sparser populated areas, in a larger room or house, and have physical space to grow. This may sound silly to some, but to give you an example; Hong Kong, a city that resembles a tiny dot on the world map, is inhabited by 8 million people. I don’t think there’s even 8 million people in some much larger towns, counties, or even provinces in other countries.


Wow, you’re really cute. But that won’t hurt a fly.

13. Rules of the Sport
It took us this far… and if you’re still reading this, you would probably know this one already. It’s a topic that’s been done to death, but the UFC, and the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts pretty much favours wrestlers. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the unified MMA rules and for argument’s sake, list every factor that may make strikers / Asian martial arts styles less effective in MMA:

Can't stop the takedown
Can’t stop the takedown!

– Athletic commissions and referees score and favour takedowns much more heavily than strikes or submissions. A wrestler can take someone down, hold them there, not inflict any damage and still stall out a “win”, because it is scored as “dominant”. By this logic, a BJJ practitioner should get points for regaining guard, advancing positions, and submission attempts, even if they don’t damage the opponent or finish the fight. By this logic then, Kung Fu guys should get points for how many times they choose NOT to poke someone’s eyes out from top or bottom guard, or hit them in the throat, thereby brutally killing a man. Of course we know this is not the case and we’re being a little silly, but it makes you think just “why?” takedowns / stalling without damage are scored?

A legal kick, by the way, because the moment he throws it Jones stands up. Now only if it landed...
A legal kick, by the way, because the moment he throws it Jones stands up. Now only if it landed…

– During the takedown, you’re not allowed to kick or knee the opponent if they are already touching the ground with more than two of their limbs. What? Isn’t this martial arts fighting? That’s pretty bogus. Instead of Wing Chun front kicking the guy in the face for crawling towards you ala douchebag Jon Jones style, you’re forced to “wrestle” with your opponent and develop takedown defense, instead of upkicking them in the face from open guard or elbowing the back of their skull during their shot. Furthermore, if you’re in the clinch and wish to knee the guy in the face, if he drops one of his hands to the ground, you’re not allowed to knee him in the head, only the body.

The Master of the Wall 'n Stall
The Master of the Wall ‘n Stall

– Almost all MMA fights nowadays take place in a cage. A cage helps wrestlers push an opponent into the wall and grab their legs out from under them. You’re not allowed to hit the back of the head, which means again, when you’re being pinned against the cage, you can’t smash their head / neck in.

– You can’t punish a failed takedown when you sprawl because you cannot drop knees to the head.

– Elbows are allowed on the ground, and theoretically a wrestler has more chances to be on top of his opponent which means he can really utilize these elbow strikes, but on the other hand the fighter on the bottom is not “allowed” to upkick the opponent’s face when they are down… and just which technique is more dangerous? The elbows coming down with the added force of gravity that can cut open a man’s face, of course.

Gomi had good wrestling, but he was known for being a knockout machine
Gomi had good wrestling, but he was known for being a knockout machine.

Back in PRIDE, a Japanese run organization, things were very different. Referees scored submissions and ground fighting more than takedowns that led to nothing, spelling the doom for most wrestlers with a lay and pray strategy (yellow cards were also issued for lay and prayers and inaction). You could also drop knees on a downed opponent or soccer kick them, meaning you would get punished for a failed takedown. Fights took place in a ring, where the ropes negated wrestlers pressuring an opponent against them, but had four corners that allowed strikers to back their opponent up to eat punches and kicks all night.

Mirko Cro Cop was the most feared striker in MMA at one point. He had great sprawl and brawl, but the ring also helped.
Mirko Cro Cop was the most feared striker in MMA at one point. He had great sprawl and brawl, but the ring also helped.

The sport has changed now, and if you wanted to make it to the big stage, you needed to learn how to fight inside a cage and know how to wrestle (to some degree). This doesn’t help with Chinese fighters who have the most difficulty adapting to grappling out of all other Asians.

14. Jet Lag
In interviews conducted with former PRIDE fighters and MMA veterans, with proof from scientific articles, it is a widely accepted conclusion that when you fly west (therefore heading East to places in East Asia), there is little to no jet lag, whereas when you fly east (heading back to the Western hemisphere), huge jet lag occurs. It is a bit of a scientific phenomenon, something I will not attempt to go into detail here. More often than not Asian fighters have to fly 12-14 hours to come fight in the United States, and one can see how this can greatly hamper their performance.

Dong Hyun Kim, a vocal advocator of having fairer fighting conditions for Asian fighters.
Dong Hyun Kim, a vocal advocator of having fairer fighting conditions for Asian fighters.

15. Weight Cutting
For one reason or another, Asians don’t cut weight. We’re not sure if it’s because they don’t know how to do it, or if they’re too “macho” and believe that you should fight at your “walking around” weight. In any case, the reality is that professional fighting has now become about your skill level and how much weight you can cut as well. You might’ve been able to get away with it 10 years ago, but now you have monsters that make 155lbs. and weigh 200lbs. on fight night. Just ask Caol Uno when he got clobbered by Gleison Tibau.

Poor Caol Uno got smashed because his opponent was actually about 200lbs.
Poor Caol Uno got smashed because his opponent was actually about 200lbs.

Conclusion: The Future of Chinese MMA?

As far as we know, there are a few MMA gyms popping up in major cities in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan now. In terms of the talent they have produced so far, all of them have pretty much failed, except maybe China Top Team. In Hong Kong, the MMA debut of 3 stand-up based fighters all ended in losses. They continued to lose and subsequently were released from Legend Fighting Championships. As for China Top Team (situated in Beijing), many of the members are Sanshou practitioners transitioning to MMA and have been in the fight game for a while; many of them being too old already to make much of an impact in the UFC.

Ji Xian, a lone Chinese MMA prospect
Ji Xian, a lone Chinese MMA prospect

The lone, shining star in Chinese MMA however is none other than BJJ purple belt, and ADCC qualifier Ji Xian “The Executioner”. He is currently 10-2 in MMA, and a number of his wins are submissions in the first round. Outside of Ji Xian however, the playing field is pretty sparse and it’s anybody’s guess as to who may or may not be legit.


We need more of this.

The easy way to put it, is to wait 5-10 years for the Chinese to produce some legitimate MMA talent. The harder, more realistic question is this: If you are Chinese and you are reading this, are you part of the statistic that is too afraid, too lazy, or too unmotivated to train MMA? Or are you man enough to step up to the challenge? Better late than never, my brethren!

Dynasty Connection United We Stand

Too Long, Didn’t Read: Chinese people need to break away from their beloved tradition that has prevented them from fully embracing MMA. They must open their minds, adapt foreign training methods into their curriculum and train in modern martial arts (wrestling, grappling) in order to succeed in MMA. Then, finally, they may begin to use what is unique to Chinese Kung Fu, and adapt them to MMA to truly create a modern Chinese style suitable for MMA (such as Sanda / Sanshou, Shuai Jiao [Chinese Wrestling]) that will grant them a unique competitive edge.

Like what you see from Dynasty? Click here to sign up for¬†our newsletter delivering¬†product releases and exclusive promos straight to your inbox that you won’t get anywhere else.

-Dan Kai Wah from DynastyClothingStore.com

Mongolian Bokh Wrestling & Chinese Wrestling – Origins of Sumo, Judo, Jiu Jitsu

We are back with another installment of exploring some of the lesser known traditional martial arts systems in the East Asia region Рadding to our collection of exploring Karate, Taekwondo, and Wing Chun techniques and their application to MMA. This one is a good one, as we dive into some of the roots of wrestling / grappling in Asia.

As we mentioned earlier – the Mongolians to the far north actually have the highest chances of doing well in MMA, as they grow up in a warrior culture that forces them to wrestle and farm everyday since they were boys¬†–¬†making them strong, durable, and grappling-centric from the very start.

The Mongolians were the “OG’s” of grappling – Original Grapplers. They were practicing wrestling since before time, and used their superior fighting skills, strength, and conditioning to rule over and conquer many other lands.

But just what is Mongolian Wrestling, and why and how did Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire take over most of the known world at one point in time, stretching their influence from China, to Russia, to Turkey, all the way to the doorsteps of western Europe?

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Watch this full episode of Kung Fu Quest – Mongolian Wrestling (a documentary series), where three city boys travel to Inner Mongolia to train Bokh wrestling – with English subtitles for the first time, and see for yourself the true power, culture, and intricacies of Mongolian Wrestling.

 

Interesting takeaways:

  • The Mongolian government made their style of Bokh wrestling, archery, and horseback riding as official sports.
  • Every year in Mongolian societies they would have festivals and gatherings¬†to compete in these three arts.
  • Much like how the Thai government made the art of Muay Thai their national sport. This says a lot – that if a country’s people were to be successful at any given pursuit or sport, such as American¬†wrestling, or Chinese sanshou¬†etc. – it needs to be officially recognized, regulated and taken seriously by the government first, or else it will forever remain a fringe sport¬†or hobby.
  • Mongolian boys are born and trained to do three things in order to graduate to become a real Mongolian man, dubbed “The¬†Three Manly Skills” – they were to master wrestling, horseback riding, and archery as a part of their curriculum and culture.
  • Interesting stop at a Chinese Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling) school in Beijing. For the uninitiated, Chinese wrestling precedes Japanese Judo, Jiu Jitsu by several thousand years in the 1200’s BC era, whereas Japanese Judo, Jiu Jitsu only came into prominence in the 1900’s of the modern era.
  • The three city boys from Hong Kong were no match for the country bred Mongolian wrestlers, no matter how skilled or strong they thought they were. They were too used to their city lifestyle and training methods.
  • It shows that the harsh way of life in living in the countryside, specific wrestling training, and the conditioning of their bodies through diet and horseback riding techniques –¬†produces the best, strongest Mongolian fighters.
  • Real¬†Mongolian masculinity comes from being able to protect your family, loved ones, and being great fighters with skills (skills in other areas of the arts as well).

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Stay tuned, as we at Dynasty will soon have our own Mongolian-inspired grappling wear to honour our Mongolian neighbours and brethren, coming real soon. Sign up to our mailing list and be notified when!

– Dan from DynastyClothingStore.com

How To Treat Fungi & Ringworm Quickly, Effectively, and for Cheap

Disclaimer: This article was not written or endorsed by a doctor or dermatologist. Follow at your own discretion.

Every grappler, wrestler, and BJJ practitioner at some point in their grappling careers have undoubtedly encountered ringworm (or in worse cases, staph). Ringworm is a fungal infection that grapplers get on their skin after sweating and training. Either they didn’t wash their clothing, didn’t immediately¬†shower with soap right after training, or they have an open cut /¬†some kind of a scratch that came into contact with the sweat and bacteria found on gym mats and your sweaty training partners.

ringworm_4x3

You know you have ringworm if a red circular patch forms on your skin, usually inflamed and / or itchy. If left unchecked it will start to grow and even form bubbles of pus or liquid, and really worsen. You must treat and kill this fungal infection before it gets any worse.

Regular creams prescribed by the doctor may not work, as the medication may not be strong enough to stop the infection depending on how bad it is. Getting prescribed anti-fungal medication that you intake into your body can also get expensive. So we share with you our method of treating it quickly, effectively, and for cheap.

How do we know this works and is safe? We’ve treated our past fungal infections at least three times this way, and we can tell you it 100% works with no scarring, and works better than prescribed creams.

Step 1: Get a strong antiseptic such as a bottle of Dettol, or alternative like Clorox bleach

Get it from your local pharmacy store. In our experience we used Dettol, which is a strong antiseptic used to treat wounds to prevent infections.

Step 2: Clean & wash area / take a shower

Wash the infected area with hot water first, or take a hot shower. The hot water will open up the pores on the infected skin / area.

Step 3: Scrub the area harshly (just bleed!)

This part might seem a little harsh, but if your ringworm / fungal infection is bad enough to form small, itchy pockets of pus, you need to kill this infection that’s already seeped inside of your skin.¬†Using your nails, scratch the area¬†with your fingers¬†or scrub it with a cloth under hot water to purposely open the skin / scabs. You might bleed, and it may sting a bit, but you’re doing this to prepare the area for the next step.

justbleedguy
He wants you to kill that fungus.

Step 4: Use the antiseptic on a tissue, and dab it all around the affected area

Be generous with the amount you’re using, as you want to get all around the infected area and kill all the fungus. Don’t take little dabs, literally drown the area out and try to kill your skin with the antiseptic or bleach. This means drowning your open pores, wound, scab, etc. It might string a bit but hey – you’re a martial artist right? This is necessary to completely kill the ringworm or it will just come back later if it’s not completely killed off.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4, 1-2 times a day, for the next week or two, or until it’s gone

Repeat the steps listed above. Do it as many times as you can, or at least one time before bed every night.

If your infection is REALLY¬†bad – use the same tissue or cloth that’s drenched in the antiseptic and leave it covering your skin, and tie it down with tape as you sleep overnight with it on top of the area.

Warning: The antiseptic / Bleach WILL erode¬†your skin. That’s the point. But¬†if you have ringworm in a sensitive area or an area where you don’t want possible scarring such as your face, do NOT do this overnight trick – seek professional help.

For your arms, knees, legs, etc. it’s 100% SAFE to do this overnight trick, as the skin will heal over these areas afterwards and you won’t notice anything other than a slight shadow, like a faintly tanned area after the infection is gone. Or you might not see anything at all.

Honestly, this won’t be any different than if you scrapped your knee¬†or¬†got cut in some way¬†–¬†the¬†affected area will always heal over and you will barely notice the infection was ever there.

Step 6: Check the area to make sure it’s gone

You should get to the point that your dead skin will fall off and the ringworm will look like it’s gone, and it no longer itches or forms bubbles.¬†The affected area will be red but it will have formed a scab and the area will have become¬†scaly and dried up – but otherwise it will look fairly clean of signs of fungal infection.

If there are still signs of the ringworm, such as bumps coming back or if its forming on just outside¬†of the¬†original area, continue the treatment until it’s all killed off.¬†Once the skin is clear of bumps, you can stop the treatment¬†and let the area heal.

You’re done. You’ve just successfully treated ringworm / fungi with only a $10 bottle of Dettol.

–¬†Dan from DynastyClothingStore.com

3x National Shuai Jiao Champ Lavell Marshall shares his “Shaolin Strength” workout

This is a guest post from Dynasty Family Brother, 3-time USA National Shuai Jiao Champion, Lavell “Shaolin” Marshall (@rebelinthewindshaolin). Photos courtesy of Stephon Wilkerson (@xtwenty_twentyx).

Shuai Jiao / Shuai Chiao śĎĒŤ∑§ is an ancient Chinese form of grappling / wrestling, dating back several thousand years (as early as 2697 BC) and is the precursor to Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Its techniques can be seen and have been passed down to much more well known martial arts such as Judo in the west, due to America’s history and relationship with Japan. In addition, the sports-focused evolution of Jiu Jitsu and Judo has given these arts much more visibility and popularity than the lesser known, although much older arts such as Chinese and Mongolian wrestling.

“Shaolin Strength” is an ever evolving training method, or training methods rather that I created to improve the physical and mental performance of any person. I took years of Traditonal Kung Fu, Shuai Jiao / Chiao (Chinese Wrestling) and other martial arts training methods, along with movement, balance, sensitivity, calisthenics, weightlifting and combined with my own ideas and creativity to create this training methodology.

I don’t believe in doing the same routine over and over and over again.

There are certain foundation exercises that we do regularly to build certain muscles and connective tissue (such as squats, push press, thrusters, Kung Fu foundation work, pull up variations, etc.) but the order and their combination during the circuits, I change daily, adding and mixing to create a different “impromptu” feeling to your mind and body.

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As a competitive grappler, it’s not about how strong you are, or your speed, agility etc. but rather how you apply it all to what you are doing. When you are fighting against another high level grappler, you have to be able to apply what you have in the most efficient and effective way and be prepared to move and attack / defend at all angles with strength, power and speed.

I see people all the time, who are bigger in size, lifting heavy and then we grapple and I throw them over my head.

They may be bigger but are they really stronger? Is strength how much you lift? Or is it your ability to use and apply these attributes to real life movement and action, during resistance and the constant changing reality we as fighters live in?

Power and strength mean nothing without sensitivity to a fighter of any martial art. So to keep it plain and simple, how can we train the body to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we want it to?! How can we listen to our bodies and work with what we have? Developing and forcing evolution on our own individual selves and not trying to be copies of others – is key.

Here is an example of a typical session of Shaolin Strength training – remember the workouts are never the same so this particular circuit will always be changed around!

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Warm Up
(10x reps each)

– Foam Roll.
– Forward rolls to hop (you hop immediately after you make it back to your feet on the roll, there is no gap or pause in between the movements).
– Single leg forward rolls to a hop (x 10 reps each leg).
– Mobility drills based on Shaolin Kung Fu, dance etc.
– Resistance band throwing drills.
– Movement & Sensitivity work.
– Sweep drills (one person keeps eyes closed and escapes sweeps while the other person with eyes open attacks the legs), kicks, freestyle movement for 2 songs trying to move without pause using stances, footwork, acquired skills, etc.

You have years of movement developed since birth, figure out how to use them and apply them. This is no different than shadow boxing or no-touch sparring movement warm up with a partner except this is more like flow grappling.

Skill Training
(10 minutes)

Choose any skill or skill set you want (flips, hand stand, hand stand walking, single leg drills, V-sit, form work, etc.) and work it for 10 minutes.

Strength Training

– Squats (x10 reps at warm up weight, 3 sets x 4 reps at 80-85% max, 3 sets x 2 reps at 90+% max).
– Clean to Push Press (4 sets x 2 reps at 80% of max, then 3 sets x 2 reps at 80 – 90% of max).
– Push Press (in between sets x 10 reps each leg) of single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, or single leg balance holds, all on a bosu ball.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Circuit
(5x rounds fast as possible)

– Sled drag / pull with anywhere between 3-5 45lb plates. 50 feet drag, 50 feet pull. With the pull drop to a squat / horse stance and pull hard as you can, as it slides to you hop backwards and repeat.
– 7x Tire Flips (after each tire flip, hop to the other side of tire turning 180 degrees in the air so that you’re facing the tire again).
– 10x Sprawl to duck walk to box jump (so in short, do an “up down” a few feet from the box, going right into duck walking then box jump and repeat).
– Barbell complex of 7x high pulls 7x hang cleans 7x thursters (go back to back without dropping bar). Use the amount of weight that you are comfortable with. I make my clients use anywhere from 65-135lbs. Everyone is on different levels. Drop the ego!

After 5x rounds, immediately do:

– 50x lifts / throws of your choice with a partner or throwing dummy.
– Body hardening (100x hits to the body, 50x to the legs and forearm conditioning).
– Horse stance for 5 minutes.
– 3x rounds of as many pull ups and push ups as possible.

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Again this is just one day of conditioning but not every day is this intense. Some days are focused more on movement, reaction training, or explosive training. Some days instead of a grueling circuit, we do strength work, balance work, and rounds and rounds of grappling.

It’s all about finding the balance and evolving for you. I base everything around what you do – and then train you to be able to do anything!

– Lavell “Shaolin” Marshall, Dynasty Family Brother

Enjoy 10% off Dynasty Clothing MMA gear with code “SHAOLIN10” – only at DynastyClothingStore.com