A Chinese ‘tai chi’ master was defeated by a free-combat fighter in just 10 seconds in a race held in Chengdu last week.
In my Dec 2016 article “No Chinese ‘Kung Fu’ in Hong Kong riot”, I was one of the very few people who straightforwardly pointed that ‘kung fu’ is by its nature slow and is totally not suitable for real fight.
Bruce Lee is the only one who really could engage in combat with his signature ‘Jee Kune Do’ because he, with very unique talent, trained himself very hard to speed up his motion.
All other so-called ‘kung fu’ masters merely make their livings on show business. In a ring, any Western boxer of any class can knock out a ‘kung fu’ master in the first round.
The core spirit of ‘kung fu is essentially the same as Confucianism, namely, to train oneself for discipline and thoughtfulness.
Both are not for combat, nor aggression of any kind. The truculent element in the Han Chinese civilization is little and scanty. For this reason, despite their bigger population size, the Han Chinese’s Song Dynasty (960-1279) was erased by the Mongols (Yuan Dynasty 1271-1368), and their Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was eliminated by the Manchu tribe (Qing Dynasty 1644-1912).
For two thousand years, the Han Chinese recruited young intellectuals through open examinations to serve in the public administration up to the level of prime minister whereas the Emperor could enjoy their palace life freely whenever they wished so.
These scholarly bureaucrats placed emphases on domestic affairs rather than overseas expansion, on personal self-cultivation rather than military training. That was why even though it was the Chinese who invented the fire powder, we did not make efforts in turning it into weapon of mass destruction.
Therefore, the Chinese had never developed anything similar to what the renowned historian Professor Niall Ferguson described that enabled the West’s domination over the world — the ‘Six Killer Apps’ (competition/capitalism, science, property/slavery, medicine, consumerism, and Christian work ethics).
China’s recent development of the islands in the South China Sea is mainly for ensuring a safe sea passage to serve the new Silk Road Project. There may be some disputes over these islands’ ownership but Beijing is always ready to make win-win deals with friendly nations for sharing the economic benefits.
The Chinese have been showing the world that ‘kung fu’ is for fun and for visual enjoyment, not for combat and definitely not for war. You are always welcome to join this sport anytime and anywhere, and it is quite good for your physical health.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.