You have to wonder what Bruce Lee might have thought of it all. The late martial arts star's birth place of Foshan -- in southern China's Guangdong province -- is gearing up for a battle royal on December 19 between the forces of Muay Thai kick-boxing and kung fu.
You have to wonder what Bruce Lee might have thought of it all. The late martial arts star's birth place of Foshan - in southern China's Guangdong province - is gearing up for a battle royal on December 19 between the forces of Muay Thai kick-boxing and kung fu.
The fuss all began when the Thai athletes declared they wanted to come to China to "wipe out'' the historic Shaolin Temple - considered one of the birthplaces of kung fu.
But the Shaolin monks refused to rise to that bait.
"In the history of the Shaolin Temple, we never challenge or agree to fight others,'' Zheng Shumin, a representative of the temple, told the Chinese press.
Enter the Emei Martial Arts Association - followers of another style of kung fu and based in Sichuan province - who are now vowing to show these Thai interlopers the "real Chinese kung fu.''
"We should stand up to such defiance,'' said the association's Zhang Ji - and martial arts chat rooms and websites have been abuzz with debates about who will win the battle ever since.
Meanwhile Hong Kong - the city that Bruce Lee called home - is gearing up for the debut of the Mixed Martial Arts movement that in recent years has gained incredible worldwide popularity.
"Mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport in the world and as Bruce Lee is considered by many to be the father of the sport, it only makes sense that Hong Kong have an MMA tournament with some of the best competition the region has to offer," event organizer Chris Pollak claimed in a press release.
The inaugural "Legend'' competition will be held in Hong Kong on January 11 (http://www.legendfc.com) and will feature 18 of the world's top MMA fighters, including China's two-time former national sanda martial arts champion, Zhao Zilong.
MMA pits fighters from martial arts styles such as sanda (China), judo (Japan), Muay Thai (Thailand) and tae kwon do (Korea) against each other in a format that could end in knockout, submission, technical knockout or referee decision. MMA has now surpassed wrestling in the United States for popularity.
January 11, 2010
Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre
Tickets: HK$300 to HK$1,200 (26 euros to 104 euros) via http://www.hkticketing.com