Xu Xiaodong is back at it again.
‘It’—in case you are unfamiliar with the Beijing based MMA instructor, who goes by ‘Mad Dog’—is whooping traditional martial arts masters who are accused of being charlatans and fakers.
After a break from these bizarre style vs. style fights Xu got back in the cage (which this time was set up in a forest clearing in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province) recently to face Chen Yong, a self-proclaimed sixth-generation Tai Chi master.
Footage of the fight was uploaded to Fight Commentary Breakdowns (which features many Xu clips and other style vs. style fights).
As you can see this was barely a contest. Within seconds of the fight, Xu threw a front kick at Chen, then a right leg kick, left jab combination. Off the jab Chen reeled back to the fence like he was on a wire. He then waved his arms to signal he was finished.
According to Jerry Liu of Fight Commentary Breakdowns Chen had called for this fight with Xu to be postponed twice, so he could get in extra training. Maybe he was training how to get out of a fight without getting seriously hurt.
Unlike Chen, many traditional martial artists have taken a beating when fighting Xu (or other MMA fighters inspired by Mad Dog’s crusade).
This whole thing started in 2017. That’s when Xu began arguing with traditional martial artists on Chinese social media platform Weibo. Xu’s contention was that MMA was supreme for both self-defense and combat sports and that traditional styles had little-to-no use in actual combat settings. Xu also argued that so-called masters who claimed they could wield supernatural-like powers through qi channeling and pressure point manipulation were con-artists exaggerating their skills to sell school admissions and videos.
This argument boiled over when Xu and tai chi practitioner Wei Lei agreed to fight behind closed doors at a gym in Chengdu. The fight ended in 10 seconds, with Xu knocking Wei out cold.
Footage of this fight went viral. And Xu soaked up all the attention. He issued an open challenge to any traditional martial artist and offered a cash prize to any who could beat him. A number of individuals responded to the callout and a local juice tycoon even offered to add to the bounty for anyone who could beat Xu.
All this attention ruffled the feathers of the powerful Chinese Wushu Association and the Chinese government.
Over the past few years, while Xu has racked up a handful of viral KOs of tai chi and wing chun players, he has also faced pressure from the traditional martial arts community and the government.
Xu’s social media accounts have been closed down and wiped by the State on multiple occasions. He was also sued for defamation by a tai chi master (whose lawsuit was bankrolled by the Chinese Wushu Association). That lawsuit resulted in Xu having to apologize to the plaintiff for seven-straight days. Xu also had to pay a fine and have his social credit rating slashed.
Xu’s social credit rating was reduced to a level where he could no longer rent or own property or travel on high speed public transit.
Despite these obstacles Xu remains keen on exposing what he calls ‘fake martial artists’. During these past few years Xu has also showed he’s not afraid of speaking out against the government.
He has gone on record to defend both protestors in Hong Kong (who were battling mainland China’s power grab on the territory) and whistle blowers who revealed the chaotic handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.
Such activities have resulted in visits from Chinese police and officials.