Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Huo Yuanjia

Huo Yuanjia (Chinese: 霍元甲; pinyin: Huò Yuánjiǎ) [Cantonese: Fok Yuen Gap] (c.1868-1910) was a Chinese martial artist and co-founder of the Chin Woo Athletic Association, a martial arts school in Shanghai. A practitioner of the martial art Mízōngyì, he is considered a hero in China for defeating foreign fighters in highly publicized matches at a time when Chinese sovereignty was being eroded by colonization, foreign concessions, and spheres of influence. Due to his heroic status, legends and myths about events in his life are difficult to discern from the facts.
In 1901, Huo Yuanjia responded to a challenge advertised by a wrestler from Russia in Xiyuan Park, Tianjin. The wrestler openly called the Chinese "weak men of the East" as no one accepted his challenge to a fight. The Russian forfeited when Huo Yuanjia accepted his challenge. The Russian told Huo that he was merely putting on a performance in order to make a living and made an apology for his earlier remark in the newspaper.

Between 1909 and 1910, Huo Yuanjia traveled to Shanghai twice to accept an open challenge posed by a British boxer Hercules O'Brien. The two of them had arguments over the rules governing such boxing matches and eventually agreed that whoever knocked down his opponent would be the victor. However, O'Brien never fought Huo, opting to leave town instead.
Huo Yuanjia

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