In the seventies, for some years, full contact fights were very popular in Hong Kong, not until the government banned them for "safety reasons" (the bans was lifted only more than a decade later). Together with a couple of martial arts enthusiasts, I was often on audience seat. True martial art combat spirit was shown.
The Thai fighters insisted on fighting on Thai rules, but allowed the Chinese fighters to fight bare handed (gloves were said to hinder joint-locking, but it proved later on the ring that standing joint-locking for throws or submission was impossible between professional fighters). Some kung fu masters detested those who took part in these fights. Some claimed they would win in life and death fights with the Thai fighters. Some claimed the best kung fu fighters would not take part in these fights as spectator sports. Some claimed those fought were stupid enough to lose their fame in artificial rules that they were not familiar with, etc etc.
Yet fighters with true combat spirit at those days could not resist the temptation to test their skills in all situations, under any rules - provided they considered themselves fit enough to do so, provided that they were not fights for personal grudge and provided that the fights were relatively safe for themselves and their opponents. They were not interested in fighting for their names or the names of their respective styles. They were not interested in life and death fights. They were not interested in creating myths for themselves. Publicity was not their game. True fighting spirit was.
Most of these kung fu fighters lost their fights. They looked cheerful afterwards. Some of them became well-known trainers of full-contact fights today, and some run their own respective academy with their names on. Their students are not interested in whether or not they had won or lose with the Thai fighters. They are interested in whether or not their teachers can train them to be good mixed martial artists on the ring. They want to learn true combat spirit. I believe their students have made the right choice.
|Kung Fu vs Muay Thai|