I have to admit, I find this whole story to be immensely interesting, although multi-faceted. The more I think about it, the more complicated it seems to be.
On the one hand, you have the cut-and-dried stance of Xu Xiaodong. Like those at Bullshido, he asserts its a simple matter of put-up or shut up. He thinks all Traditional martial arts are nonsense and so far, he has beaten up a Tai Chi “master” and a Wing Chun “master,” both in seconds. So, in these “contests,: he seems to have made his point. This conflict has defintely stirred up a hornet’s nest in China. There are reports of various types of state suppression of Xu and his ability to use social media to promote himself. There has been speculation that the Chinese state makes a lot of money from Kung Fu tourism and Xu’s activities might be bad for business.
In a new wrinkle, a Chinese tycoon is offering a total of 10 million yuan ($US1.45 million) to anyone who can defeat Xu! This should ensure more and higher profile events going forward. Hopefully those challengers who come forward will be wise enough to test out their fighting prowess against some other MMA style fighters in less public arenas before going for it on camera.
What I was thinking, however, especially in the case of high-level energy practitioners of Tai Chi, etc, is I don’t really expect the baiting approach of Xu to induce them to fight. Developing Chi is associated with Zen and other forms of training designed to raise awareness and awareness diminishes the power of the ego to control emotional centers and other behavior. That is, a true master of Tai Chi is not likely to be too ruffled by Xu’s challenges or induced to fight by them! So almost by definition, those who choose to step up to these challenges are having an ego-response, right? However, with millions on the line, which could in the right hands do so much good, one wonders if this will change the minds of those who might actually be able to fight with Tai Chi or some other high-level kung fu, who has the highest qualities of their art (such as being able to absorb energy or “issue it” (fa jing).