Weeks after police busted an attempted Tai Chi versus MMA mass brawl another string of style vs. style street fights has occurred, this time in Vietnam. And while the incidents took place thousands of miles from each other, they share a common connection: Xu Xiaodong, who recently went viral by knocking out a Tai Chi master in Chengdu.
The fisticuffs that took place in Vietnam are thanks to Pierre Francois Flores, of Montreal, Quebec. He visited Hanoi this week hoping to prove the superiority of Wing Chun; a traditional Chinese martial art that dates from the 1800s. According to Flores’ Facebook page, he has studied the self-defense system at Shaolin Wing Chun Nam Anh Kung Fu - École mére in Montreal.
As reported by Vietnamnet, one reason why Flores decided to visit Vietnam was because of a ‘friendly’ fight offer from Vietnamese karate black belt Đoàn Bảo Chau. “Please don’t take this as a challenge, but a martial art exchange,” said Chau as he and Flores spoke online and organized a time and place for their bout.
Flores vs. Chau went down on July 12th in Hanoi. Here’s what happened:
Though the karate master was a game opponent, the much larger Flores was able to control the contest before knocking Chau out with a head kick/punch combo after about a minute. After facing off with one another in a bare-knuckle street fight Flores and Chau dined together, along with other karate masters.
On Facebook Flores described the respect he had for Chau in the wake of their contest:
These pictures represent the essence of a true martial art spirit. I was really impressed by Master Đoàn Bảo Chau's noble attitude and great courage, two character traits in which he surpasses most of the practitioners that I have crossed path with. Before and after the fight, I had the chance to converse with other Masters who accompanied Master Đoàn Bảo Chau and I was equally impressed by them because of their profound understanding of martial arts. Through this exchange, I have gained new brothers and I have a great admiration for the martial art community in Hanoi. I would like to express my gratitude to all who were present on this memorable day.
Flores seemingly scheduled other street fights in Vietnam, some of which are available on YouTube. It appears, this is not the first time the Montrealer has participated in brawls in this part of the world. Another video on YouTube shows him fighting a ‘Mr. Tuan’, also in Hanoi, sometime in 2009.
VN Express International reports that Flores has become a cause célèbre in Asia after he accepted the online challenge of Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong. Xu, who is also known as ‘Mad Dog’, is director of the Beijing MMA Association. In May, he became a viral sensation after video emerged of him knocking out Tai Chi master Wei Lei.
Xu and Wei’s fight came after the pair argued over Chinese social media platform Weibo regarding the merits of traditional martial arts. Xu’s stance is that Tai Chi, and martial arts like it, are a ‘sham’ and not adequate systems of self defense or unarmed combat.
After Xu beat up Wei, he issued a challenge over Weibo to all traditional martial artists; saying if they could beat him he would give them 1.2 million yuan ($174,000). Many martial artists took up the challenge, including Tai Chi master Lu Xing, and ‘China’s strongest Shaolin monk’ Yi Long. Chen Sheng, owner of popular juice brand Tiandi, reportedly offered an additional 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) to any martial artist who could stop Xu.
Soon after Xu issued his challenge, his Weibo account was shut down. Posts on Weibo discussing Xu and his challenge also disappeared from the heavily monitored/often censored site.
According to VN Express Flores wrote about Xu on Facebook, stating that his acceptance of the MMA fighter’s challenge was a “necessary awakening in the face of a phenomenon that threatens the credibility of martial arts.”
Flores is also hoping to secure a fight with Huynh Tuan Kiet, head of the Nam Huynh Dao Kung Fu School. Flores has - according to VN Express - accused Kiet of ‘faking his martial art skills.’ Kiet has reportedly refused the fight.
If Flores does meet Kiet or Xu in combat, expect to see it appear on YouTube. However, Xu has teased that his next video release will be of a 4-on-4 Tai Chi versus MMA fight; held behind closed doors to prevent police interference.