Taichi vs Mixed Martial Arts

By Xah Lee. Date: .
Tai Chi vs MMA - the fight everyone in China is talking about!. 2017-04-29

see discussion https://plus.google.com/+johncbaez999/posts/4XNTb8D7x6w

i think there's a few points the previous comments haven't addressed. (strong opinions follow!!!)

first, the question is, whether kungfu style or mixed martial arts “style” would win in a fight to the death situation. That's the question am interested in, and in a scientific way as much as possible. A simple question, but can be complex to define precisely. However, we are not interested in philosophy or ways of life kinda questions.

to put it more precisely, we are interested in: if a person trains for say 3 years in traditional chinese kungfu, in all ways and means as today possible (including, participate regularly in competitive “sport” in the ring as in MMA), versus a person trained in MMA style, what's the probability that the kungfu guy will win, if the two person were to fight to the death in a naturally arisen situation of conflict on the street. (instead of 1 person, we can imagine the question is 100 kungfu fighters vs 100 MMA fighters, as that way we can say statistical significance.)

most traditional kungfu as we know are outdated, movie dramatic, filled to the brim with philosophical voodoo, drinking tea, dao/zen. We got this picture from kungfu movies.

on the other hand, the MMA proponent often fail to address that ring fight is very different from fight to the death. For example, MMA, over the years, in order for it to be legal sport, has developed more rules, such as not gouge eyes or hitting testicles, no hitting throat, no headbutt, no hit spine.

though, i think it's fair to say, MMA ring fight do approximate real survival fight significantly. If kungfu fighters are good enough, they should be able to easily adopt the ring and have some 50% chance of wining MMA competitions.

kungfu truly haven't advanced much today in comparison to MMA. Because MMA is “practical”, with results shown, money to be won. Techniques and training are advanced with sports science in the past 20 years. While kungfu is mostly shrouded in lots of philosophy and stuff. There are ring-based kungu (e.g. called shangda in china, like MMA), but most kungfu or kungfu schools are not grounded on that, in part because the context of kungfu isn't a sport competition like MMA is.

the other thing to note is that, there's a big difference of willingness to participate in a ring match between persons who happened to become great in kungfu, vs persons who are MMA fighters. MMA is sport oriented, spectator oriented. People are in it for the competition, to win and win money, as a career. So, you see lots of MMA because it is a show. While, people who become effective kungfu fighters (we assume there are), are not in the show biz, and may not be willing to abandon their life/career to become a career fighter, or risk status quo to accept 1 ring fight. (as a example, real skilled gun shooters, such as those of mafia, assassins, cutthroats and desperado, are not the types you would see in Olympics gun shooting events.)

also of interest, that there are specialized kungfu techniques such as iron (sand) palm or iron head, where basically via years of controlled damage to their hands, their hands skin and bones are deformed and full of scars, become calluses, insensitive and hardened, takes years of training. Such hand will be advantageous in a fight. (and there are techniques for other body parts too, such as head, groin, and full body) People pre-modern times can do that. But even if kungfu community become more scientific and competitive as in mma in years to come, such techniques are likely a thing of the past. I mean, here we basically have specialized body modification. Such takes years to do, and do not guarantee mma win, because the ratio of effort/effectiveness for mma win is small. (mma forbid headbutt too. and if it comes out that certain technique kills a person, it's gonna be forbidden. (eye gouging of kungfu, throat hitting, or a twist of the neck, are rather easy techniques that kill a person on the spot, and don't require much training at all. But in mma, anyone who twist a guy's neck, he'd be crazy and is a “murderer”.)).

so, who would win?

I agree with +John Baez view. I think kungfu could win, or 50% of time.

then, there's the question of what exactly constitute kungfu style. Because, if kungfu community actually started to train people for ring fight, it may gravitate more towards MMA style, which is exactly what MMA is. (note, there are mma fighters who are trained in primarily in kungfu, one can watch lots of it on youtube. But when the kungfu guy fight in mma, you don't see any of the spectacular kungfu poses. You just see mma vs mma, at least for the untrained eye.)

i'm romantic and think that kungfu with all its spectacular forms, do have a stance against mma, just that we need more kungfu community to get away from the dao/zen shit, and even so, we won't see it much. We just see mma vs mma.

am eager to see the coming match. John, let us know when you see it? thanks. Very interesting topic.

+Simon Gates i've watched all Bruce Lee and IP man movies. (by the way there are 2 lines of ip man movie series, by different directors. i enjoyed both. (i think there are 3 lines... i forgot).)

i agree that kungu fighter would lose in mma. But again, that's not about fighting to the death.

as i mentioned, fighting to the death includes a lot techniques of kungfu, some specialize hitting eyes, throat, and groin. (snake, eager claw) and includes special training that gives devastating blows, such as iron palm, iron head.

put in another way. Let's say there's no law and we have a mma game of fighting to the death. (which, basically is how things are before say 1900s.)

now, to train that, we can imagine one of way is to focus exclusively hitting throat, and snatch eyes. Sure, opponent isn't a stone. But the chances of moves happen in a real fight, is still pretty high, even if the opponent tries to grapple. Say, in 1 thousand of such death match, maybe 5% are dead due to a “lucky” hit to the eye or throat. That 5% is quite significant.

sicne mma bans that, the question of who wins in fungfu vs mma is rather silly.

if we randomly force any kungfu masters into mma ring right now, sure, kungfu lose. But it's that, if you force a wrester to fight in water with a swimmer, the wrester dies 100%.

by the way, kungfu is the traditional term. It literally means “skill” or “craftmanship”. Its meaning is “skill” and also martial arts.

Wushu 武术 is basically performance sport based on kungfu, similar in nature to gymnastics. Wushu literally means “martial arts”, but it's not a term we use for such in Chinese. We say kongfu. Wushu is championed by China to be a Olympics competition. Wushu is what Jet Li has been champions of many times when teen.

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