Have the courage of your convictions
On a long enough timeline...
There is a Chinese MMA fighter named Xu Xiaodong. Xu is not a professional fighter. He is more in the top-tier amateur. He lost his most famous bout against Andrew Pi even after he broke his opponent’s arm with a kick! So, he is never going to appear on TV in a million-dollar MMA fight.
But Xu sincerely believed that the martial art he was learning was a reality-based art. MMA (mixed martial arts), for those who don’t know, is a fighting system that is squarely in the “hit them/subdue them” style of martial art. Xu looked around China, and he saw an awful lot of martial arts teachers that seemed to be teaching something that looked a lot more like pure fantasy: Teachers who would knock students down with merely a shout or a gesture. He also noted that it was always the teacher’s own students who were magically knocked down.
Xu began challenging these fighters to step into the ring with him. Needless to say, he quickly and resoundingly defeated every opponent. Keep in mind that many of these men (they were all men) had titles such as “Grand Master.”
Interestingly, the Chinese authorities took a very dim view of this activity. They saw this as Xu making fun of, or belittling, Chinese culture. In 2019 a Chinese court ordered Xu to pay reparations to a Grand Master for saying that he was a fraud and apologize for seven days in a row. They also lowered his social credit score to the point that he could not rent, own property, stay in certain hotels, travel on high-speed rail, or buy plane tickets. Later that year, he accepted another challenge, but he was only allowed to fight if he wore Chinese clown makeup. Yeah, you read that right—he had to wear clown makeup. But Xu won the fight, and the next fight, while also wearing clown makeup.
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