The transcript below is from the video “The Bizarre World of Fake Martial Arts” by Super Eyepatch Wolf.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

One of my favourite things about this job besides legions of adoring fans and crippling existential crisis is the occasional opportunity that comes with stumbling upon the weird baffling Internet hole and seeing just how deep and dark it goes. Let me welcome you to the strange world of fake martial arts. What I mean by fake is everything from the unusual techniques of male order karate dojos to these fabled pressure point knockouts of masters, all the way to superhuman abilities of the no-touch-K.O artist. If you’ve never seen these stuffs, its “real” as in some of the people involved in it believe that it’s happening and granting the topic of fake fighting might be an ironic choice, coming from someone who’s really into wrestling. But martial arts have been a pretty big part of my life. I’ve been different types of Tae Kwan Do, boxing, Tai Chi and most recently, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for about 12 years now. I’m not saying that because I’m trying to claim I’m a tough guy- if anything, I know just enough of fighting to know how little I know. But I do think it gives me some understanding in how a person is able to convince themselves that they have these abilities and why there some people who’re wanting to believe them. It’s around here that a darker, more insidious part of fake martial arts begin to emerge- which we’ll get to. But to start, I think it’s important to understand the appeal the martial arts themselves and how and why they became popular- particularly in the Kung Fu craze of the 70s.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

Martial arts was first introduced to America late into World War 2 when American soldiers deployed in Japan learnt different forms of Karate and Judo- even having integrated into their basic training. Later, these same soldiers were returned to America and they opened their own Dojos. But, when martial arts really started to penetrate popular culture was the resurgence of the Hong Kong Kung Fu movie. I want to make it clear that Kung Fu movies are fucking awesome! If you’ve never seen ‘Drunken Master’, ‘Enter the Dragon’, ‘Five Fingers of Death’ or ‘Snake in Eagle’s Shadow’, you should do everything you can to track them down. These movies are stunning physical fantasies- stories told less through dialogs and plot development through beautifully controlled violence channelling the will and energy of the performers into furious bouts of physical combat making kinetic exhilarating blasts of cinema. But there was also another side to the choreographed violence. As the heart of many of these movies are pro-declaration of national identity, a deeply political message tied to these fighters.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

In the late 90s and early 20th century, China and Hong Kong had several repeated invasion of colonization by British and Japanese armies. With the Chinese being seen as a weak, divided nation, incapable of defending itself from invading forces. With the Chinese routinely referred to as the ‘Sick Men of Asia’. So, when Fist of Fury Bruce Lee battles his way into Japanese Karate Dojo before declaring “we are not sick men”, it was a moment of elation for Chinese cinemagoers. As it was in the same movie when Lee obliterated a sign that read “no dogs or Chinese allowed”. This scene is key to understanding the power of these films. As a cross international waters, these signs also existed attacking different groups of people. But in these movies, no matter how society viewed Jiu-jitsu, Kung Fu, and martial arts, it was a great equaliser. A way for these strong to not get stronger, but for the weak to rise up. To give ordinary people to stand and challenge convention. To declare I’m here and I’m relevant. This was the powerful fantasies that martial arts films were built on and what let them explode box offices in cinemas across cinema. But it was desire in that fantasy that gave rise to the early days of fake martial arts.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

Which brings us to a man who referred to himself as the Crown Prince of Death- Count Juan Raphael Dante. If you flip through the pages of silver aged Marvel comics, you’ll inevitably come across the strange advertisement of Count Dante. According to these ads, Dante was the master of the ‘Dim Mak’ or the ‘poison hand’ fighting style- considered by many as evil and cruel, the lethally savage ripping, tearing, slashing, clawing and gouging techniques which comprise the ‘Poison Hand Arsenal’ are used to attack (by strike, touch or pressure) the nerve centres, pressure point, major blood vessels and vital organs of the body. The pamphlet written by Dante often turns readers into, and I quote, “shocking human horror weapons capable of killing multiple opponent with a single touch”. Well, also talking about how handsome Dante was and how good he was at dancing, on the surface, it seems pretty clear on what’s happening here. Count Dante, real name John Keehan, was taking advantage of the Kung Fu craze in the 70s by selling his pamphlet to global young comic book readers. But, where thing starts to get strange is the more you look into Count Dante, the more it seems like he actually believed what he was writing. He did have a legitimate history of Karate. He did own two Dojos himself in Chicago where he and his pet lion work under the streets.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

With Dante known to do things like showing up at Muhammad Ali’s house and challenging him to fights, offering his friends pistols with which to shoot him so that he could demonstrate his bullet catching techniques, with Dante even at the centre of an infamous Chicago Dojo wars, with him attempting to blow up an enemy’s Dojo with a stick of dynamite before carrying out a raid on an enemy’s training hall that resulted in the death of his friend and student.

This all actually happens. Count Dante died in 1975 and what he left behind was a bizarre legacy of a strange man lost in a fantasy and over the years, we could see so many people like this- the bad shit and insane ninjitsu by Arshita Kim or the fake life of Frank Dux of who the entire movie ‘Bloodsport’ was based on before being exposed as a fraud in LA times.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

Right up to the modern days, this is still happening, which brings us to the infamous and strange no-touch master, George Dillman. Dillman first came to prominence for pioneering his pressure point knock heads. Techniques that would let him render a person unconscious with only the lightest tap, but he started getting national attention in his Chi based no-touch knocking techniques which would let him knock out people with a blast of invisible energy. In 2005, Dillman welcomed a team of National Geography film makers to his Dojo and after a group of successful demonstration of his own students, a National Geographic chemist and sceptic stepped forward, offering himself to be knocked out by the Chi based technique and the result was…nothing. The chemist was completely unaffected. With Dillman’s explanation to why the no-touch knockout didn’t work being just well, baffling. “The sceptic was just totally non-believing plus the gut has the tongue in the wrong position in the mouth, which could also affect. If I say ‘I’m going to knock you out’ and you raise one toe and push one toe down; can’t knockout”. Surprisingly, this scenario took place again, years later, when a Fox reporter visited Dojo of Dillman’s star pupil, Thomas Cameron, master of the same no-touch technique and also an expert in Dim Mak- the same martial art as Count Dante. With Cameron offering to demonstrate his pressure point knockout on the tiny Fox News reporter.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

Cameron later claimed that the technique was only effective on 40% of people despite the fact that it worked on 0% of the fighter in a local Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gym. No one would want stuffs like this to be real more than me, because if it was real, then Dragon Ball Z is real and I can stop making YouTube videos. But, much of a disappointment, there has not been a single recording of a pressure pint knockout or a no-touch technique working on a resistance sceptic or on any kind of competitive contests. The principles of energy that these techniques are based on have never been verified by any kind of scientific test. But of that’s the case, what the fuck is actually happening in these videos? Do these instructors really believe they have supernatural powers and even if they do, why aren’t they working on regular people?

To answer the first part of that question, I want to talk about a fight in 2006 that took part between a mixed martial arts practitioner and a psychic Qi Gong master.

(Plays footage)

What you’re seeing here is the no-touch master, Yanagi Ryuken, whose mastery of multiple martial arts style along with his innate psychic abilities allow him to fight scores of opponents while defending himself with kinetic blasts of psychic energy. His abilities are so strong that he’s even able to manipulate bodies of his opponents, and it’s these techniques that let him to be victorious in an unverified 200 Vale Tudo fights. In 2006, this 65 year-old Qi Gong master put up 5000 thousand dollars of his own money claiming he could defeat any mixed martial arts practitioner- a chance that would be accepted by Iwakura Goh, a Japanese journalist trained in Judo, Karate and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. So, the fight was set for November 26. In front of a crowd of 500 people, two fighters stepped forward to face each other.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

So, I remember the first time I ever got punched in the face in a competitive sport, and what stayed with me wasn’t even the pain but just the jarring sense of disbelief that I’ve just been struck by another human. Learning to get over that shock, learning how to get punched in the face is probably the most valuable lesson that I’ve learnt from martial arts. What I find so disturbing about this moment is watching a supposed master experience that same shock for what seems like the first time- he’s in disbelief of what just happened. The other fighter even checked if he’s okay before he continues and comes to a brutal conclusion. I don’t take any pleasure in this footage. To me, watching an old man being violently humiliated has to be the worst day of his entire life and its pathetic and sad. I can’t imagine what’s going on in the 65-year-old’s mind as he kneels on the mat, clutching his beaten and broken face. I also think it’s hard not to watch this footage and consider the level of delusion that brought him to this moment- a delusion so strong that not even this fight could break it. Ryuken would later claim that his psychic were not working that day due to an illness and he returns to teaching martial arts, gaining new students propagating his no-touch style. So when asking to the instructors if they actually believe this moves, it’s likely they do. It’s probably a very simple delusion to trap yourself in when it brings wealth and status. But then, what about the student? Why are they behaving like this?

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

Well, to answer that question, let’s look at another phenomenon where groups of people gather in room and act in strange and bizarre ways. Psychologists believe that what drives people into cults isn’t a desire for spiritual fulfilment or search for some higher power, but simple human comfort. A desire that cults manipulate and prey upon, exposing the greatest insecurities of their members and offering them comfort and protection from it. This was the same psychological manipulation that let Charles Manson control his followers, making them act in strange, bizarre ways and even commit murder. This same promise of comfort and community, led to the members of the Heaven’s Gate cult, castrating themselves before committing group suicide, leaving 39 dead. Next to that, falling over to a Ho Qi technique is nothing. Even look at this footage of the faith healer and alleged con artist, Benny Hinn. You can imagine that if Hinn had marketed himself slightly differently, he too could have been a no-touch master and that’s because it’s all the same principal- put all your faith into this individual person and they’ll give you the means to guard yourself from the evils of this world.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

In the case of martial arts, evil is a primary human fear- violence from other people. There’s a tremendous amount of comfort in that. The idea that this people can teach you techniques that will make you immune to physical danger; creating a delusion so strong has led to the kind of footage that we’ve been looking at this entire video. But, it’s also in that delusion that more insidious intentions can lie. This brings us the troubling story of James Hydrick.

James Hydrick first entered public consciousness after an appearance on the American TV show called ‘That’s Incredible’ which Hydrick demonstrated stunning telekinetic abilities which allowed him through psychic force to turn pages of a phonebook, rotate pencils and even manipulate dollar bills encased in glass. Hydrick claims that these were psychic abilities that he learnt from his own self-taught martial arts combined with the teaching if a Chinese master. He also claimed that he can pass these techniques onto children through special training. So, through numerous appearances and his own innate charisma, Hydrick amazed a large amount of following of 300 students, making Hydrick’s Dojo the largest in North America. One very awkward encounter with the amazing Randi, Hydrick seemed like the second coming of Bruce Lee; surrounding himself in a delusion that thousands of people were willing to believe him for. B

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

But, in 1982, the delusion would come crashing down around him in a TV special called “Psychic Confession”. The special hosted by Danny Cormen, an investigative journalist and part-time magician who would discover how Hydrick was manipulating these object and that was through a concentrated stream of air from his nose and mouth. So, in a televised broadcast, Cormen asked Hydrick to teach him these techniques and help him harness his own psychic energy. But then, unbeknownst to Hydrick, used the same blowing air trick to move the pencil and just look at the shock on Hydrick’s face as he actually believed he’s experienced genuine psychic abilities before Cormen revealed to the fraud psychic what is actually happening and Hydrick’s persona of a Zen martial arts master falls away to reveal a deeply disturbed individual. He accounts his childhood of neglect and abuse, having frequently escaped to delusional fantasies, where ancient Chinese masters would teach him the secrets of martial arts. If the story ended there, it would be amusing and kind of sad. Unfortunately, 7 years later, things took a disturbing turn as Hydrick was convicted of 11 counts of child molestation- all children he’d brought in with the premise of his delusional powers and the abused.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

This is where fake martial arts go from laughing at a group of people to something more sinister. Maybe it’s not always as predatory as Hydrick, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still dangerous in other ways. When I look at the background of many of these videos, I see people- vulnerable people (women, kids etc.). People are there to defend themselves but they’re being sold is an empty lie, something that would fail them in the potential, most dire moments of their lives. I think there’s something really disgusting about that. So, fake martial arts are a fake, hollow fantasy but at worst, it’s a way to sell delusional narrative and prey upon innocent people. So to end this video, I want to talk about one of those narratives, one that’s playing out right now and are in national level.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

I want to talk about the story of Xu Xiaodong. Xu Xiaodong is a Beijing born radio DJ and a mixed martial arts practitioner who unwilling has become the centre of a massive cultural war in China. It began in 2017, a time when the Chinese government was deep into a movement known as the “Great Rejuvenation of Chinese Nation”- a cultural campaign designed to instil national patriotism in the youth of China. One of the ways it did this was through the propagation of traditional Chinese martial arts- through making mastery of Tai Chi mandatory for graduating certain Chinese high schools as well as airing specials that showed Tai Chi as a way to unlock near mystical powers- with Tai Chi masters wrestling Judo black belts, dodging swords of professional fencers and blowing back groups of attackers with a single powerful movement. I’ve done a year of Tai Chi and I found it a really great form of soft exercise- one with zero application to fighting. But that wasn’t the case with these specials. One in particular, starring the Tai Chi master, Wei Lei. Wei Lei was a huge believer in the combat styled Tai Chi. He claimed that he could defeat any mixed martial arts fighter and even break a rear naked choke with one hand, which to the ire of anyone who’d been in a rear naked choke.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

Xu Xiaodong voiced his scepticism on Wei Lei’s claim on his radio show, he had his home address doxed by the followers of the Tai Chi master, endangering both him and his family. Furious, Xu Xiaodong travelled to Wei Lei’s training hall and challenged the Tai Chi master to prove his claim in an exhibition match. In front of the crowd, the 40 year old MMA fighter plummet the Tai Chi master in less than 30 seconds. Xu would refer to this match as the fight that shook the heavens- and it did. China was left it shock with the outcome, but rather than validating Xu, both the martial arts community and the Chinese media were incensed by Xu’s actions, accusing him of attacking China’s national heritage. Xu received over 100 challenges from enraged martial arts masters, but by Xu’s own admission, he himself is nothing special- he’s just a mediocre MMA fighter. Despite this, when listening to him speak, it’s obvious that he has a profound love of mixed martial arts which is a system of fighting mixing all forms of martial arts, discarding anything that isn’t directly effective creating a complete all-rounded system of kicking, punching and crapling. In China, MMA is still viewed by many as a vulgar form of fighting, vastly inferior to the traditional martial arts style like Tai Chi, Wing Chun and the various form of Kung Fu.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

This is where Xu problem begins. He believes that traditional Chinese martial arts have become mass con- a means to brain wash people. While I love Kung Fu for the reasons we’ve already talked about, it’s hard to argue with Xu’s claim considering how poorly traditional Chinese martial arts have feared against other more modern fighting styles. To Xu, the real hypocrisy lies on how the traditional martial arts have been protected and promoted in China, meaning people like Wei Lei can make claims to having tremendous powers without having to proving it and then go on to sell the false promise of the power to innocent people, all under the disguise of national patriotism. So, with the intent of showing the people of China a genuine means of growing stronger, Xu began taking on these Chines masters. A lot of these matches play out the same- the match begins, the strikes of Xu’s opponent are shown as weak and ineffective before they’re beaten by Xu. As these fights went on, something strange started to happen.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

You may notice that in these fights, Xu is wearing this grotesque face paints and that’s because it would dictate to him that the fight wouldn’t be allowed to take place unless he wore Chinese clown make-up and fought under the name ‘Xu Dong Guo’ which translates as “Xu Winter melon”, insulting the guy’s weight. If Xu seems especially angry in this match, it’s because before the fight, his Chinese social credits score was lowered to the point where he’s no longer able to use air travel or high-speed trains, forcing him to take a 36 hour, hard seat train ride to even attend the fight. You might ask, why Xu is being treated like this. And the answer is that the Chinese government really wishes he wasn’t doing what he is and so, campaign of harassment censorship and humiliation has begun against him. He has his gym closed down, his social media accounts deleted. He has been forced to apologise. He’s been fined tens of thousands of dollars, forcing him to move out of his home. His fights have been shut down by the police and been accused of being a spy. He’s been harassed and also ostracized.

Xu’s family has also been harassed with Xu himself suffering public assault. But the most painful assault of Xu came when he was disowned by the martial arts gym that he taught at for 20 years. All things he publically spoke in an emotionally charge live stream, as the 40-year-old mixed martial artist breaks down in tears reencountering the isolation and torment he and his family has to endure.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

This all came to an absurd climax when in 2018, Xu faced his most high profile opponent- the Wing Chun master Ding Hao. The fight received massive media coverage with many seeing this as the moment Xu would finally get his comeuppance for spitting in the face of Chinese traditional values. To Xu, this was his biggest opportunity to prove that his claims were legitimate. In front of an audience of millions, Hao begins the fight with a furious attack in Xu and from here, the Wing Chun master was repeatedly plummet and turned to the ground, each time saved by the referee. Finally, after his 6th knock down with 40 second left in the first round, the bell rings and the fight is closed. In what has to be one of the most embarrassing decision in martial arts history, the match was declared a draw. I don’t even know what to say at this point. Hao later made the excuse that the studio didn’t give him a prize before the match, resulting in poor performance. Xu is still taking on martial arts masters remaining undefeated after 17 fights and continues to endure a campaign of harassments and humiliation.

Super Eyepatch Wolf (Professional YouTuber on Anime and Pro Wrestling):

I love martial arts. I’ve done them for a very long time. For me, stepping on to the mat and letting lives troubles fall away as you give all against the skilled opponent; that’s become a tool for me to deal with anxiety, depression and all kinds of shit. But I think even more than that, martial arts is a way for people to become more than what they’re. Here’s a girl obliterating a tree with just a fist. Here’s a guy topping out an opponent twice his size. Here’s a girl doing the same thing. With the right training and training, martial arts can give strength to just about anyone. I think that’s a really beautiful thing, but when that thing becomes distorted and manipulated, it opens up a dangerous world of delusion trapping people, cutting them off genuine growth. To me, that’s the opposite of what martial arts should be.




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