We may be reaching the end of the ‘Tai Chi Master vs MMA guy’ phenomena that has lit up the martial arts world in the last couple of years. I mean, how many more old guys do we need to see knocked out to make the point?
In light of the most recent fight, Will of Monkey Steals Peach has interviewed Byron Jacobs, who is deeply embedded in the martial arts world of Beijing, to get a fuller picture of events. I think it gives the most all-encompassing overview of the phenomena, and why it is happening, I’ve heard yet. See what you think:
I’ve blogged about my friend Byron Jacobs before – he’s a Westerner deeply immersed in Chinese culture and martial arts and living in China at an interesting time.
We’re currently in the era where Chinese martial arts are opening up to the West in a way they’ve been prevented for doing for a long time. MMA and Jiujitsu (BJJ) is finally making an impact and people are starting to realise that modern training methods offer something that traditional methods are lacking. It will be interesting to see how the future plays out for Chinese martial arts, and what happens to traditional arts and skills.
Byron has just recorded an episode of the Real Fake Swords podcast where he addresses these issue and tells you what it’s actually like in China when it comes to martial arts. It’s fascinating (and probably different to the way you think it is) and well worth a listen. (If you are pushed for time start listening at around 15 minutes in.)
I hadn’t heard of Real Fake Swords before, but it looks like a good podcast series. I notice they’ve got episodes with other interesting martial arts personalities.
My Facebook friend Byron Jacobs is the Technical & Events Manager and Technical Committee Member at International Wushu Federation in China. That’s a pretty high up in Chinese Martial Arts for a guy from South Africa 🙂
This is a YouTube video about him:
As you can see from the video, he’s fluent in Chinese and lives in China. He trains Xingyiquan under his Sifu, Di Guoyong.
Recently Byron appeared in an episode of the Chinese TV documentary “Da Dao Taiji” in which he was interviewed about traditional Chinese martial arts, its utility in the modern age and the problems it is facing both in the mentality of practitioners and their methods today. I don’t think they were quite expecting such a frank interview!
Unsurprisingly, it was edited quite heavily, and they only kept some of these “inconvenient truths” in the documentary.
The good news is that here on Tai Chi Notebook you can view his whole interview, complete with subtitles. It may have been too hot for Chinese TV, but nothing is too hot for you, my dear readers!
(As an interesting sidenote, the new laws in China were passed last year prohibiting people with tattoos from being shown on TV, so they had to smudge out his tattoo for the aired version of this!)
Enjoy the inconvenient truths video:
And here is the entire episode 2, as it appeared on Chinese TV: