He rose to fame for exposing fake kung fu. Now he just wants to ‘survive’
For professional fighters, nerves before a match come with the job. But for Xu Xiaodong, China’s most controversial mixed martial artist, successfully leaving the country on a clear, cold day in November seemed like an impossible challenge. Standing in the departure hall of Beijing’s new international airport on a planned trip to Bangkok, Xu looked calm. But beneath the barrel-chested facade, the 41-year-old was full of worry. He felt like he was taking a huge gamble. Would he be allowed to board the flight to Thailand to take part in the most important fight of his life?  Two years ago, before Xu began taking on China’s kung fu establishment, the answer would have been a resounding yes. But
‘The Matrix’ can thank this man for its iconic fight scenes
Hong Kong martial arts director Yuen Woo-ping’s action scenes are the defining feature of The Matrix trilogy, yet Yuen himself never sought to work in Hollywood. When the films’ sibling directors, the Wachowskis, were preparing the first in the trilogy, a producer for the film had to track Yuen down in Hong Kong and convince him to go to Los Angeles to discuss choreographing the martial arts scenes in The Matrix. “I’d already been asked to work in Hollywood a couple of times, and I’d said no. I didn’t feel that my English was good enough to work there,” Yuen said. “What happened then was that one of the producers of The Matrix contacted Shaw Brothers [a Hong Kong production company] to find
China’s ‘Mad Dog’ fighter enters the battle of his life
The 41-year-old mixed martial arts fighter Xu Xiaodong has been a controversial figure in China ever since he became famous for beating up what he called “fake” kung fu masters. Unafraid to talk about almost anything, his brash attitude has brought him stardom but also unexpected – and unwelcome – knocks on his door. In November, he set out to prove that he’s more than a tough guy who dared to challenge a cherished Chinese tradition. In the video above, Inkstone follows Xu, nicknamed “Mad Dog,” as he fights the biggest fights of his career, for fame and freedom.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more stories about life, culture and politics in China.
Kung fu nuns break stereotypes
Training with swords and machetes, these nuns from Druk Amitabha Mountain Nunnery in Nepal are challenging gender stereotypes with martial arts. Watch the video, above, to see them in action.
It’s time to admit most traditional martial arts don’t teach you how to fight
I still remember my first ice hockey fight. All the movies I’d watched as a kid, where highly choreographed fight scenes looked like expertly planned dance routines, had horribly lied to me. By the time I realized I was in a fight, at the tender age of 16, it was already half over and I’d taken three or four solid shots to the face and my jersey had been pulled well over my head, rendering me blind. The experience was jarring: unfiltered chaos, blurred vision in one eye from an errant thumb poke, a ringing eardrum from getting punched in the side of the head, the taste of my own blood and swallowing a tooth. There was just disorganized, violent confusion with a skyrocketing heart rate and bu
Wing chun practitioner gets knocked out in 72 seconds by MMA fighter
You would think the kung fu frauds who get royally embarrassed by Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong would learn their lesson. Alas, one of the wing chun “masters” came back for some more punishment. Ding Hao was one of Xu’s most memorable victims – dropped on his backside multiple times before the referee mercifully stepped in after a few minutes. He blamed his performance on not being fed enough rice by event organizers before the fight. The judges also somehow inexplicably scored the fight as a draw last year. Perhaps that gave Ding some misplaced confidence because he got back in the ring this weekend to fight another Chinese MMA fighter nicknamed “A Hu.” On paper it seemed like an easier f
Drugs, sex and gambling: a tour of Bruce Lee’s San Francisco
Martial arts icon Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  Now, thanks to his daughter, Shannon, and her producing partners, his long-fabled passion project, the TV series Warrior, set in his birthplace, has completed its first season.  In the show, our Bruce-esque protagonist, played by British actor Andrew Koji, is a young martial arts prodigy called Ah Sahm, who arrives from China in 1878. The series follows him as he looks for his estranged sister in San Francisco’s Chinatown – then a den of iniquity, specifically: opium, gambling and prostitution – and dealing with violence and racism. Warrior has been praised by critics and fans alike for its gritty realism and depiction of pe
Bruce Lee’s last home is being demolished
The former Hong Kong mansion of Bruce Lee is now being torn down, despite calls from Lee’s fans to preserve the property known as “Crane’s Nest” as a museum.  The two-story, 5,700 square-foot townhouse, located in the upscale district of Kowloon Tong, was where the martial arts legend spent his final years. But it will soon be demolished to make way for a Chinese cultural studies center.  The demolition work kicked off on Tuesday. In the morning, the entrance to the compound was locked, while several construction workers worked around the main building, which was surrounded by bamboo scaffolds.  The owner of the property said the existing building had fallen into disrepair. But the decision