The art of kung fu bullfighting


Master of his art: Ren posing at the bull stable of the Haihua Kung-fu School in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China. — Reuters

JIAXING (China): Several times a week, kung fu teacher Ren Ruzhi enters a ring to spar with a bovine opponent around five times his weight and capable of killing him.

Ren’s mixing of martial arts and bullfighting worries his mother, but the 24-year-old has never been hurt.

Besides, he says, grappling with a snorting bull is exciting.

“It symbolises the bravery of a man,” Ren said.

Unlike Spain’s more famous sport, the Chinese variant of bullfighting involves no swords or gore but instead fuses the moves of wrestling with the skill and speed of kung fu to bring down beasts weighing up to 400kg.

“Spanish bullfighting is more like a performance or a show,” said Hua Yang, a 41-year-old enthusiast.

“This (the Chinese variety) is truly a contest pitting a human’s strength against a bull. There are a lot of skills involved and it can be dangerous.”

Skilled fighter: Ren showing off his kung-fu skills before a bullfight event. — Reuters
Skilled fighter: Ren showing off his kung-fu skills before a bullfight event. -Reuters

The physically demanding sport requires fighters to train intensively and they typically have short careers, said Han Haihua, a former pro wrestler who coaches bullfighters at his Haihua Kung fu School.

Han calls the bullfighting style he teaches “the explosive power of hard ‘qigong’”, saying it combines the skill and speed of martial arts with traditional wrestling techniques.

Typically, a fighter approaches the bull head on, grabs its horns and twists, turning its head until the bull topples over.

“What do I mean by explosive power?” Han asked.

“In a flash! Pow! Concentrate all your power on one point. All of a sudden, in a flash, wrestle it to the ground.”

If the first fighter gets tired, another one can step into the ring, but they have just three minutes in which to wrestle the bull to the ground or lose the bout.

The bulls, too, are trained before entering the ring, Han said, and learn themselves how to spread their legs or find a corner to brace against being taken down.

“A bull can also think like a human, they are smart,” Han added.

Although he says his bulls get better treatment than the animals involved in the Spanish sport, animal rights activists believe Chinese bullfighting is still painful for the animals and cruel as a form of entertainment.

“In Chinese bullfighting, we cannot deny the bulls experience pain,” said Layli Li, a spokeswoman for animal welfare group Peta.

“As long as it exists, that means there is suffering.” — Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

World , china

   

Next In Regional

ASEAN to exclude Myanmar junta chief from leaders' summit - sources
PM Kishida to South Korea's Moon: Japan wants 'appropriate' response on wartime compensation
Singapore's surge in power prices spike partly due to lower Indonesian gas -regulator
Alibaba’s DingTalk tops 500 million users as it goes after Tencent’s stronghold in online chat
Europe’s datacentres will gobble up a lot more electricity
FBM KLCI ends week on positive note
Mayor sets up task force to probe Taiwan's deadliest fire for decades
Bank Negara adds three firms, websites to unapproved list
One dead, Myanmar firefighters rescue 3, after construction site accident
1MDB gets permission to serve writ of summons to six parties overseas

Others Also Read


Vouchers