Just Because It’s Cool: Donnie Yen vs. Mike Tyson

I found this clip of a fight scene in Yip Man 3 pitting Donnie Yen as the titular (historical) Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man against Mike Tyson as…well, basically just Mike Tyson. There’s some kind of plot going on (I haven’t seen the film), but the important thing is that we get to see two legit martial artists going at it.

It’s a little cartoony, of course. In my experience, huge megaton punches like that don’t send you flying around the room, they just sort of make you die. But it’s cool and a relatively rare instance of pitting eastern martial arts against western boxing in a way that gives the latter its due as legitimate fighting style.

Bruce Lee, if I’m not mistaken, said that one year of boxing left one about equivalent to someone with ten years of kung fu, or something of the kind. This actually seems to be a bit of a pattern: western martial arts tend to be a lot simpler and more straightforward and thus easier to learn, though no less effective, than their eastern counterparts (personally, I’m a black belt but I tend to resort to more or less boxing most of the time in sparring just because it’s simpler and easier to use in the heat of the moment). Which is why eastern martial arts tend to get played up so much in media: they look cooler, or at least can be more easily made to look cooler. But again, both are as effective as the practitioner makes them, and anything that lets you walk away after a fight as opposed to being carried is a good system.

Though this fight also illustrates one of the key weaknesses of boxing: it has little in the way of defense or offense regarding the lower body.

Anyway, enjoy.

Update: Note the bit where Yen uses his elbows to damage Tyson’s fists. That’s one of the key ways to deal with a bigger, stronger opponent: attacking his weapons.

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