If you do any perusing of YouTube or the endless threads of martial arts forums online, then you will likely have seen a video going around of a young MMA enthusiast, “Mad Dog” Xu, Xiaodong, who suggests he can, will and has taken on any challenger in traditional Kung Fu systems. One fight, in which he claims to “prove” Taijiquan (“Tai Chi”) to be ineffective, showcases him easily handling a “Tai Chi Master” who is clearly nothing of the sort.
The Internet being the Internet, the most uninformed and often untrained “dabblers” who hop from martial arts school to martial arts school, have weighed in on this silly exhibition bout. When this viral video was presented to me, recently, I could not help but ask: “why didn’t he just go to the Chen Village and ask to fight one of the top fighters there?”
The answer is simple: he knew he would get his rear-end handed to him, as the this cleaned-up version of the famous Western maxim goes.
Billed as “Taijiquan v Thai Boxing!”, on September 28 in Jiaozuo, Henan, China, five instructors of Chen Village Taijiquan Xue Xiao fought five Thai Boxing champions from Thailand.
Chen Taijiquan has a proud record as one of China’s most traditional fighting arts. We all know that it is a great form of exercise beneficial for everyone regardless of age and level of fitness, but somehow the martial aspect has been downplayed in the West, and to a lesser extent in China itself, to the point that many see it as nothing more than yoga done standing up, or calisthenics – the least challenging form of exercise, only fit for geriatric people.
Yes, Taijiquan can indeed be practiced for health – so can any martial art for that matter! It can be done for personal cultivation, but it is also a powerful and dynamic martial art!
The best way to show this is for elite practitioners of the historically-secretive Chen Village, to show this martial aspect to the world. This event is being billed as a “Champions Showdown” and even a cursory look at the fighting records of the competitors shows, before the fight, made it clear that it proved to be great night’s action and a stiff test for the lads from Chen Jia Gou (Chen Family Village)
Fighting at 75Kgs, Chen, Jianqiang is the current over 80Kgs China national Push Hands champion. A hugely experienced Taiji competitor and winner of many push hands titles including – 2008, Henan province open-weight champion, 2009 Hunan province Championships 80kg champion and consecutive wins at the 2011 & 2013 Jiaozuo International Taijiquan Push Hands competition.
His opponent was runner up at the 2011 Thailand Bangkok tourney and was the 2012 Thailand WBC Muay Thai Tournament Champion. His fight record is an impressive 79 fights with 63 wins, 6 losses and 10 draws.
Wang, Jin Hu from the Chenjiagou school was runner up in this years China national push hands tournament and was a gold medallist at the 2012 Chen Village international tournament in the traditional handform, long pole and push hands divisions.
His opponent is a seasoned and successful fighter boasting a professional Thai boxing record of 125 fights, with 114 wins, 8 losses and 3 draws. He was the 2010 Thailand Bangkok Prince’s Cup Tournament champion. He was also competed under MMA rules winning the 2011 Beijing 3MMA championships and competing in the 2012 Xian MMA championships.
At 60kg Wang Yan was the 2008 Henan province push hands champion; the 2009 Hunan province championships winner at 65kg; and won consecutive push hands titles at the 2011 and 2013 Jiazuo International tournament.
His opponent was runner up in the 2010 Thailand Bangkok “King’s Cup; winner of the 2011 Zhanjiang Sino-Thai tournament and the 2012 Thailand Bangkok “Prince’s Cup”. He has a professional Muay Thai record of 58 fights, with 48 wins, 7 losses and 3 draws.
Also at 60kg, Chen, Jiagou’s Zhang, Yanfei was runner up at the 2007 Jiaozuo International Taijiquan Conference and winner at the same competition 4 years later in 2011. This bout is made at 65kg.
His opponent has a fight record of 57 fights, winning 40, losing 14 and drawing 3 times. His championship wins include: 2009 Thailand Chiang Mai International Thai Champ; 2010 Thailand free Style Tournament; 2011 Jiangsu Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do World Cup Championship; and the 2012 Inner Mongolia Championship.
The final bout is made at 70kgs and features the Chenjiagou Taijiquan School’s Ren Gaochen who first place in the 65kg class in 2012 in Chenjiagou in the international push hands tournament.
His opponent is a seasoned campaigner who has had 95 fights, winning 78, losing 10 and drawing 7. His successes include: 65kg champion of the 2010 Thailand Muay Thai year-end finals; runner up at the 2011 Thailand Muay Thai King’s Cup; and champion of the 2012 Thailand Muay Thai North-South War.
So why haven’t fights to the contrary of Xu’s claims gotten any press? It’s called bias, and cognitive dissonance.
Here’s the “Bias” part: If the millions of people sharing the video of “Tai Chi Master Ma Baoguo,” who got “Knocked Out 3 Times in 30 Second[s]” had done their homework, they would have realized that “Tai Chi Master Ma Baoguo” is not really a big name in Tai Chi circles. Even while I began studying the Nei Jia systems of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang in 1999, and have instructed in Yang style Taiji since 2005, and Chen style Lao Jia Taiji since 2009, I had never heard of this guy.
Something else I noticed that was omitted was Ma Baoguo’s age. The man was less than a year shy of 70 years old, when he fought the young man. Typically, a young man fighting an old man in a regulated bout, would be seen as an unfair match up. Still, the videos have been all over the world wide web, purporting to authoritatively “prove” that Taijiquan is “ineffective” versus combat sports fighters.
Now here’s the “Cognitive Dissonance” part: the sad reality is that when faced with evidence that contradicts their established and entrenched position, most people will adjust their views on just about anything else to modify, but preserve, their original position that was disproven.
Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger (1919-1989), arising out of a participant observation study of a cult that believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen.
While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and to “put it down to experience,” committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members).
Here, cognitive dissonance would occur in the reader who saw that viral video of Xu’s, shared it, and believed the sales pitch of the cult of personality that surrounds Xu (amongst “You Tube Fighters” who flock to his channel, which he makes a tremendous amount of money from). Such readers would watch the videos in this article, and scramble for a way to claim that this wasn’t really “Mad Dog’s” assertion being disproven by the eager youth of the Chen Village.
So, at this point you may be thinking “if Taijiquan can really do anything in combat sporting fights, then why hasn’t anyone stepped up?”
Here are just some of the videos of a few young fighters from the Chen Village, handily-winning against professional Muay Thai fighters. This is not to disparage Muay Thai – far from it! It is to say that a style is not “debunked” or “disproven” when one anecdotal person is beaten in a fight. When that person is almost 70 years old, fighting a young man? That would seem to prove even less, other than the manipulativeness and duplicity of the person promoting himself in MMA circles, by using such deceptiveness and lies by omission.
What specifically has been omitted is the fact that such fights have happened numerous times, with the victors hailing from the Chen Village. Check out the fight videos below! Note that you may have to click on the links, depending on your browser, and if you have an account on YouKu.
As you can see, the Chen Village WON the challenge, defeating their challengers in three out of five bouts. Strangely, “Mad Dog” doesn’t seem to want to face off with any of these young men. Instead, he has focused his attention on calling out 77-year-old Chen, Xiaowang, who he was proven to have slandered, with blatant lies against his martial arts background and capabilities.
So what is behind all of this? What is certain is that “Mad Dog” Xu Xiaodong is a master of marketing himself and his assertions. He is very good at promoting anecdotes that back up his assertions, while simultaneously trying to hide proof that counters his claims, as we have seen above.
But more recently, Xu was associated with a number of anti-Chinese government protests. Now say what you will about the People’s Republic of China, there is little question that there are well-financed political interests who see to delegitimize anything Chinese. We see this in the myriad videos of Xu, which claim he “Exposed China”! Not just a fake martial arts “master,” as he claims, but entire systems, lineages, and yes even China itself. If this doesn’t reek of propaganda to you, then, as the grandmas in the South tend to say, “bless your heart!”
Do you practice Taijiquan? Let’s see if we can get the word out to those who are falling for this “Mad Dog” marketing gimmick.
Looking to find out more about Tai Chi, which just so happened to be Bruce Lee’s First Kung Fu Style? Give us a call at 937-254-7035 to schedule a time for you to come in and start trying classes out! Also, don’t forget to add TAMA Martial Arts and Kali America on Facebook. Check out Kali America’s OFFICIAL website and follow us on Instagram!
 “China orders Xu Xiaodong to publicly apologise and pay damages for insulting tai chi ‘grandmaster’ Chen Xiaowang“. South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
 Tim Bissell, “Xu Xiaodong questioned by authorities after showing support for Hong Kong protests“. South China Morning Post