• Kung fu as the God That Failed

    Dragon and the Pearl

    Fred Thomassen first came to China nine years ago to learn traditional martial arts, but what he found drove him away from kungfu completely. We were sitting on the mats of his small gym in Beijing, the Big King, as Fred told us a short tale of disillusionment. His partners Nano Lozevski and Augusto “Guga” Miranda sat nearby listening. Nano is a burly, tobacco chewing Muay Thai coach from Norway (via Macedonia), and Guga is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    When Fred recounts his first experiences with Chinese martial arts, his face screws up like he’s describing a meth addicted trust fund kid who jilted good natured Fred out of a pile of money, and then went and snorted it all up his nose. The whole process left him feeling dirty and cheated. While Fred tells the story, Guga smiles like a guy who knows the punchline. After a litany of half-ass masters, indolent coaches, and hours wondering if there were any professionals anywhere in the building, Guga cackles and shouts out something in Brazilian that sounds like “serves you right.” Nano looks at me and snickers.

    Suddenly, I start to feel dirty too.

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    July 15, 2014 • Modern Kung Fu • Views: 632

  • Two Mongolian Fighters: Lao Jiang and Myadagmaa

    Mongolians

    I went to Chongqing last weekend to watch the Kunlun fights event, featuring a few great fighters (Bellator’s George Hickman and recently-signed-to-the-UFC Vuyisile Collosa come to mind). My major purpose was to interview Yang Jianping, which I managed to do and write about in Fightland.

    But two others stood out for me, and unfortunately a lot of that has to do with the fact that I had little contact with these two fighters, and therefore can only sketch them out here.

    Both are Mongolian fighters.

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    July 2, 2014 • Kung Fu People, MMA • Views: 434

  • Vaughn Anderson on Being a Fighter

    Vaughn “Blud” Anderson is an Asia-based fighter who competed in Bellator. Here he is atop Songshan, outside of the Shaolin Temple, talking a bit about the loneliness of being a fighter

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    July 2, 2014 • MMA, Video • Views: 3464

  • Ning Guangyou Hitting the Bags

    Ning Guangyou will be fighting at the UFC Macao event August 23. He is scheduled to fight Yang Jianping, a good looking television star and former fighter for China’s most popular fighting promotion, Wu Lin Feng. Check out this little short Chris and David put together of him hitting the bags …

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    June 25, 2014 • Kung Fu People, Video • Views: 258

  • Kungfu Women and the Summer Solstice

    summer solstice

    Courtesy of Indigowillow

    On this, the longest day of the year, it seems fitting to read about and perhaps put a few words down on the topic of gender. What? Yes … The longest day of the year means the year with the most Sun, the most 阳气, the most Yang essence, the most masculine of days if you believe the Chinese. In some parts of the world, most notably Europe, this day (the Summer Solstice) is celebrated with massive bonfires. A reveling in the energy of the sun and its tiny cousin fire, both a symbol of potency and bright obvious power.

    In China, this day is celebrated often with a bit of water … swimming perhaps … to balance out the Yang energy with a bit of Yin. Yin being the female – soft dark wet – susceptible to the moon and the tides, the hidden power, the power you never see coming.

    I spent the day eating lamb, another source of Yang in China (lamb is not only 羊 yang in Chinese, but is also believed, like beef and dog meat and many other foods, to have strong Yang energy). Normally lamb is only eaten in winter, again, to balance out the cold winds and snows of the ultimate Yin season, sunless and dormant and secretly fecund. But I figured I’d revel in the Yang myself, and if a bonfire isn’t feasible, then a little lamb and some beer in the hot Sichuan sun should do the trick.

    Before I went out to eat, I read three essays (one, two, three) on gender in the martial arts by (who else?) Ben Judkins and I found myself thinking of the Kungfu Women I have met over the years. Several of them fit Judkins’ descriptions of past Kungfu Women: magical, sexual, “honorary men,” yet still so feminine, no matter how many times she hit the bag or stared down a male rival …

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    June 21, 2014 • Kung Fu People • Views: 4397