See what passes for traditional martial arts today
China Daily

(File photo: China Daily)

The referee wished the two fighters luck and the bell rang. Just four seconds later, one punched the other in the nose, making him fall to the ground.

In the next 26 seconds, the man was knocked down twice more before the referee pronounced his opponent victorious.

This happened in Zibo, Shandong province, on Sunday. The vanquished fighter is Ma Baoguo, a 68-year-old self-acclaimed "master" of "Hunyuan mental tai chi" and the victorious one is Wang Qingmin, a 50-year-old boxing fan from a local club. Both Wang and his club claim he is just an amateur.

Expectedly, many on social networking sites were ruing the traditional martial arts' failure to stand up to modern boxing, an argument that is at best flawed.

Just by wearing traditional clothes and giving the discipline Ma came up with a name that includes the word tai chi-which according to ancient Chinese philosophy means the force behind all reality-one does not become a "master of traditional martial arts".

Some on social networking sites left comments saying Ma was good at blowing his own trumpet. Given his exaggerated and loud claims, one wonders why some even take his self-assumed title of "traditional martial arts master" seriously.

Very few people today promote the traditional martial arts, which were born in the cold weapon era. After all, the environment to practice the traditional martial arts does not exist anymore.

However, many are putting on traditional clothing and registering under a salable name to just milk the ancient form for some fame. Not surprisingly, it took just one punch from an amateur to knock the mask off.