Tai Chi vs. MMA: A Deeper Look To Find Out The Effective One

Not long ago, the internet was left reeling after a 20-second fight between Xu Xiaodong, an MMA coach, and Wei Lei, a Tai Chi.

The MMA coach bested Lei within the first 7 seconds.

Following this controversial fight, the Chinese (and the netizens) was left with a massive discussion on which of the two disciplines- Tai Chi and MMA- was more effective than the other.

Though the fight happened March last year (2017), the battle for supremacy between Tai Chi and MMA is far from over from the look of things.

In our today’s post, we’ll take part in the debate and weigh in our opinion on which of the two fighting sports should take the crown.

Tai Chi vs. MMA:

Before we delve any deeper, let’s look at the story of Xu and Wei…If you didn’t get to see the fight, check it out in the video below.

Here’s what led to the fight;

It all started as an argument between Xu Xiadong (the director of Beijing MMA Association) and Wei Lei (Thunder-style Tai Chi founder) over Weibo- a popular Chinese social media platform.

Needless to mention, the argument was on whether Tai Chi or MMA was superior.

At last, the two decided to settle their argument through a bare-knuckle fight. A gym at Chengdu, Sichuan province, was selected for the big battle.

The fight was over in a matter of seconds, with Xu emerging as the winner.

Just what is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi simply refers to a traditional form of Chinese martial arts that commands high respect all over the country. When you hear people talking about “iron fist” in the country, they’re likely talking about this style of martial arts.

The art is usually associated with many older people, where they use a series of movements to help improve their posture as well as release stress and anxiety.

While this art has been in existence since the 16th century, MMA is a more modern style that involves combining a variety of martial arts (including Muay Thai, Kickboxing, wrestling, karate, etc.) to form a single style- the mixed martial arts.

Tai Chi vs. MMA: Which one takes the crown?

Following the first between Xu and Wei, most media sources decided to dig further. And they found that Wei might not be a real Tai Chi master as he calls himself.

It emerged that he was a massage therapist who trained in Tai Chi for an unknown period of time. His teachers as well as his students easily recognized him and said that he never earned the title of “master” in Tai Chi.

Could this mean that the effectiveness of the traditional Chinese arts depends on the practitioner? If a different “master” took on Xu, maybe we could have seen different results. 

Xu, on the other hand, is a well-known MMA coach who has two gyms in the country. He claims that he had trained in the Chinese traditional art himself claimed that the art was overrated and there was a lot of hypocrisy and fraud in the industry.

In his own words, he participated in the fight to expose the fakes, and in the process, show the world that the old ways aren’t a match for the modern fighting sports.

Our Verdict

Most probably, the effectiveness of Tai Chi depends on the practitioner.

As for the MMA, this is a modern global sport practiced everywhere. It’s actually one of the most popular sports on the planet, unlike Tai Chi, which is confined to China only.

Tai Chi is sometimes associated with stress and anxiety release, which explains why Wei might have gotten knocked out so easily and quickly. MMA, on the other hand, is solely a combat sport that requires extensive training for you to rise to the level of a pro fighter.

As you can clearly see from the video above, XU entered the cage looking more prepared, with building muscles (like he has stepped right from fitness magazine), unlike Wei who was dressed in white flowing silk- like someone who was posing for a 70s Kung Fu movie poster.

In our unbiased opinion, and based on our discussion above, MMA takes the crown. Perhaps we’ll witness a future fight between a real Tai Chi master and Xu or any other MMA pro fighter that will change our views on Tai Chi?

We never know.

But until then, MMA remains our preferred option regarding the effectiveness.

  • February 22, 2018
  • MMA
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