T Nation

Kungfu and MMA


Having been inspired by the "put-up or shut-up" attitude of the modern martial arts scene, my Sifu wants to do a special combat/MMA oriented training camp at his Beijing School this summer. Is anyone down?

The details are here on my blog:




Do I need to say it first?

C'mon son.


I want to say it but this board seems to have taken a "if you don't like it, don't post" attitude lately.


Seriously, I can't believe that this has been online for almost a day and nobody has flamed me. I totally understand the skepticism, but I've managed to win a few fighters over already so it's more than worth it.

I won't know how good an idea this was until after we all compete at the end of the trip. However, we'll all be eating a very clean diet and getting a ton of sparring and conditioning work done, not to mention having one hell of an adventure. It's definitely an experiment, but hardly likely to be a waste of time.


Hmmm, combat/self defense oriented, maybe. MMA oriented, not so much. Sure, you could maybe pick up a trick or two, but if you don't have a solid base in some form of combative striking art (boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Kyokushin, etc...) where they actually put on the gloves and go live, and a grappling art (various forms of wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, etc...) where they go live trying to control/submit each other you are going to be in for a very rough time in MMA.

I've actually done some more combat oriented Tai Chi before, and while some of the concepts are cool and could be applied effectively with enough practice within certain contexts; none of the Tai Chi practioners (that I've met anyhow) would last a single round against a good MMA fighter if you just put the gloves on both of them and put them in a ring/cage. Their concept of fighting just isn't, in many cases, very conducive to MMA.

Since you seem like your mind is made up though, hopefully you'll learn something that will help you in your training. When you say that you will all compete at the end, is that with each other, or in an MMA show/tournament?


So far at least two people with amateur MMA records have applied, so it looks like we'll be fighting in at least some MMA fights against Chinese professionals. Albeit not top tier professionals.

Basically the idea is to get three really good Kunfu masters together with a group of people that are comfortable getting hit in the face, and see if we can't make something interesting happen. Basically, we will be using Kungfu technique adapted to MMA rules. So the training will consist of TMA instruction, sparring, debate, experimentation, TMA instruction, repeat. Also a lot of pushing and dragging a heavy wheel barrow up a hill, smashing concrete with a sledge hammer, calisthenics and so forth.

I also have to say that the men involved in this project as coaches are really really good fighters in their own right. We have a former PLA hand to hand combat instructor, an Yiquan master who has also held titles in jacketless shuaijiao, and my teacher Zhang Manjun who is an irrefutable bad-ass. I'm sure that if we combine that with intense exercise, sparring, competitive pressure and an open mind, we can bring home some highlight real victories. Even if a few of us just go for kickboxing or something even tamer.

As I told the folks over at bullshido, I take cautious optimism as a compliment. I would be a little put off by somebody who just swallowed my claims whole. However, for the few guys curious and brave enough to give it a try, a shit ton of fun and a thoroughly blown mind is in store. All of this will be caught on camera hopefully, so that I won't have to awkwardly make a bunch of impressive but unsubstantiated claims on the internet anymore.


Here's another relevant article on the same blog


He has obviously practiced those forms a lot and is very smooth/skilled at performing them. But how well you can perform a set of movements into thin air has very little bearing on how well you can actually fight. I'm not saying that he can't, just that until you post a video of him dominating a fully resisting opponent (and since you are planning on competing in MMA, a fully resisting skilled opponent) I'm not going to be convinced.


You know, some people just refuse to listen, and keep trying to insist that you can use a hammer to take out a screw and a stapler to frame a house out.


Its just not the ideal discipline to apply to MMA. You may be able to perform some very pretty, flowing movements for a demonstration, and even be decent at evading your opponent, but I highly doubt that kungfu will do very well when put in a meat grinder with Muay Thai fighters and wrestlers. It is not a sport focused on complete destruction of both the opponent's body and his will like Muay Thai is, nor will you have the skills necessary to defend yourself when getting manhandled by a skilled BJJ competitor.

While a kung-fu knockout would be pretty nifty and would be a great youtube video, the odds of a kung-fu guy knocking out a skilled striker in a cage seem pretty slim. Pretty hand moves like in your videos of the "giant killer" will likely get you a stiff right to the jaw for all of your trouble, and fancy dodges and evasions work until you get pushed against the cage and pummeled for a round.

Your videos in your first post include guys going at full speed dodging childlike punches, and countering with shots that have no force behind them, and a dude who spends 3 minutes catching the slowest kicks ever. Notice how everyone's hands were down at their shoulders or lower, and they were hanging their chins out to get cracked. Also, a decent kickboxer is not going to throw kicks slow enough for you to catch, and all you will do is take some nasty body kicks.

I'm calling bullshido on this stuff. Very cool training concepts, very pretty, masters totally deserve respect, but this is not the sport to take to an MMA contest against a dude who wants to decapitate you with his right leg.


That's my opinion as well. If we were talking about self defense (where you may be dealing with things like lapel grabs, wrist grabs, "dummy" chokes, haymaker punches, unskilled tackling or throwing attempts, you are not wearing any gloves, are free to attacks eyes, throat, groin, etc...) then i'd agree that taiqi has some good concepts. Heck, some of the concepts (like not resisting but instead using your opponent's force against them, similar to aiki in Japanese arts) can still be applied effectively in MMA, but the actual applications (techniques) found in taiqi just aren't very applicable.

But, I'll also say that I'd love it if you proved me (us doubters) wrong. If you can post a video of a taiqi master beating a legitimate Muay Thai kickboxer, or MMA fighter in the ring I'd love to see it.


if there were to ever be a man able to deflect a punch and return a crippling KO blow, well, watching MMA would be even more enjoyable.

MMA will progress, and it will become more technical. And I am sure that within 20 years, you will be seeing more of Kung Fu in MMA. But why don't we see it now? Well, first the techniques in Kung Fu require serious reflexes. Second, no prominent MMA school teaches Kung Fu. They might voluntarily, or involuntarily use a couple pages out of the book, but it will never truly stay Kung Fu. Hence is the reason why Bruce Lee invented JKD.

Bruce Lee knew, years before MMA, that fighting does not only require strikes, but also joint manipulation and grappling. "keep what is useful, reject what is not".

Third, many Kung Fu blows are intended to be deadly, or to permanently cripple the opponent. Hard shots to the groin, eye gouging, throat strikes, heart punches, etc.

IF you truly want to see the future of MMA, look at the likes of Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida. Some call it flashy, but I truly believe that they fight the way they do because of its efficacy.


I think the Giant Killer was more of a Tai Chi demo. Which has nothing to do with fighting.