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In an attempt to keep the border dispute in the Himalayas between China and India from escalating from push to shove to gunplay to armageddon, there is a defacto code to forbid gunfire. Earlier this month a hand to hand fight between soldiers from both sides broke out, at night, at 14,000'. These are reportedly some of the weapons used.
Skirmishing with nail-studded rebar is right out The Walking Dead. But this was as real as it gets - India reported 20 dead and 75 injured. China, which does not enjoy a free press, reported nothing.
Now it's reported that China has formed a squad of 20 MMA fighters from EnBo Fight Club, and added it to its border militia ranks. Called the Plateau Resistance Tibetan Mastiffs, the group will be based in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region. It is tasked with helping border patrol troops and special forces in hand-to-hand combat training.
In 2017 EnBo Fight Club received widespread negative coverage for training some 400 orphaned children in MMA, and putting them in pro fights. Founder En Bo argued that he was using combat sports training to keep them from turning to a life of crime, but the practice stopped. However, it's a very legit gym, developing fighters that include UFC bantamweights Song Yandong and Pingyuan Liu.
“If the country needs us, the Enbo Fight Club will wholeheartedly complete more challenging tasks," said club owner En Bo, as reported by Linda Lew for the SCMP. "As for whether [our fighters] took part in the conflict a few days ago, don’t ask me, I didn’t ask."
The role of MMA in China has been controversial. The central government has long understood traditional Chinese martial arts as a source of soft power. In the 1936 Olympics, China sent a CMA team to demonstrate. And today the government supports tens of thousands of CMA schools. Middling MMA fighter Xu "Mad Dog" Xiaodong demonstrated repeatedly that revered Chinese traditional martial arts masters in reality possess less practical skill than a fifth grader, and he has been silenced by the government on China's social network. Further, Xiaodong was ordered by the courts to pay $60,000 in fines for insulting Tai Chi grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, and to publicly apologize, seven days in row. Further, Xiaodong is forbidden from riding on high-speed trains, and is restricted to third- tickets on planes and sleeper trains.
So the government hiring MMA fighters to beef up border security is a positive sign for the sport. Mercifully, Tai Chi masters were not sent to stop enraged, rock throwing, trench shovel swinging Indian soldiers. Tai Chi is probably the world's most popular martial art. And it's awesome. My mom does Tai Chi; she would not do well in an MMA Tai Chi is not better than MMA, and it's not worse. The only confusion comes when people believe what they see in Kung Fu movies. For the record, these are not documentaries.
And in a year that has seen 500,000 deaths from a pandemic, one billion animals killed in Australian wildfires, riots across the globe, millions in Africa facing starvation from locusts, and murder hornets, the potential for MMA fighters vs. soldiers wielding nail-studded rebar fits in about perfectly. And it's only June.