Yi Long is currently the most prominent representative of Chinese Martial Arts, we all wish the best for him, or anyone who steps up to the role. After all the years of disappointment in San Da which could not measure up to Muay Thai or even Karate in the hard on hard damage department, Yi Long is a hero.
Many martial arts fans hope that Yi Long should try to showcase Kung Fu techniques, such as Shaolin Kung Fu techniques, or Hung Gar techniques. Only he can pull it off, as he has the ability to withstand blows to the body and the head to attack. He has proven wrong the Muay Thai fans that low roundhouse kicks to the thigh can end any fight, as he takes those kicks to his legs and torso like it doesn’t matter to him. I also like how he does not fight with the guard up or the bob and weave, as I fight like that too.
In his fights against Buakaw, Yi Long fared well; you can tell that he put a lot of attention in those matches, as they are career changing. Despite that, he fought more conservative and technically boring than he usually is. He was more daring and showed off more techniques when facing other fighters. Buakaw technically outclassed Yi Long in the few fights. He used more techniques, put up a better show, with Yi Long being on the passive receiving end most of the time.
Being able to take hits without backing off is what will allow Kung Fu fighters to move into range to deliver their techniques such as blocking, trapping and hammer strikes. Yi Long does not have these techniques anyway, he can’t finish off his opponents, which his great iron body and iron head skill allows him to do so. Hit resistance is very valuable to traditional Kung Fu, in fact moving in to attack without the fear of getting hit before landing a hit or after landing a hit, is the factor that allows Kung Fu fighters to connect their Kung Fu moves. Kung Fu moves fail to connect for many practitioners, because their advance is not committed.
There were some matches where Yi Long got knocked out. I think his opponents were lucky to catch him in the right place and right time. Critics of him using the wrong strategy can be ignored; anyway most martial artists and even competing fighters use their ‘correct conservative defensive’ strategy and still gets their butts kicked.
My views opposes the average joe martial artist giving their critique on Yi Long. They are telling people not to be like Yi Long, and to guard up and bounce around more and throw more feints. Which is just like the average martial artist who are there to make the numbers for the champions with superior mindset and unique unconventional training methods and fighting methods, to trump over. Star material need not listen to them.
These comments by critics reflects badly on us Chinese people, that we are passive, defensive, conservative and lack the initiative to attack. The lack of faith in your own culture and system also gives others the impression that you have inferior character. Lack of self-respect, self-esteem is a fatal flaw.
Just like Buakaw, Yi Long has what it takes to be a star fighter if he is able to up his game and become a complete fighter. He currently lacks a reliable weapon to knock out his opponents every match. He is strong defensively but rather lacking when it comes to offense. In fact the scariest thing a martial artist can experience in sparring or fighting is that the opponent is attacking you aggressively with punches after punches and he is not flinching from your punches to keep him away. It means not just being unbreakable, but also unstoppable. A star fighter needs to be famous for having an arsenal of effective techniques, like how Buakaw is famous for his rapid and powerful roundhouse kicks that goes low, high and mid level, as well as nasty knee strikes for in fighting.
Well, he sometimes executes spinning wheel kicks and spinning backfists, but those haven’t produced knockouts or hurtful knockdowns, like many other San Da fighters have. He also does not do side kicks like San Da fighters.
Yi Long has the very quality China fighters lack, which is toughness and hit resistance. China San Da fighters are well known for large amount of accumulated injuries sustained from their bouts with Muay Thai fighters. China fighters can learn his iron head and iron body training method, which will serve to protect them; and if they have good offensive power they will become a complete star fighter.
There are many people commenting who speculate Yi Long will become crippled by his accumulated injuries and start going downhill in his career while hanging in there with painkillers. I doubt so, because iron body and iron head is a systematic body toughening method which uses real increased hardness and body structure instead of mostly pain tolerance, which is the case of the Thai fighters and Karate fighters.
Furthermore, the qigong in iron head and iron body skill contributes to healing from damage, something which normal combat sports practitioners have no way to cope with other than painkillers or ending their career. I have personally met several ex-fighters who reel in pain every now and then from their old injuries accumulated from hundreds of hard blows.
The way for him to pave future glory in his career is to use Kung Fu techniques to hit his opponents. It need not be many, just 2 or 3 techniques which he is good at and most comfortable executing, will do. This will give him the flair of a master fighter and up his star power.
He should not use the guard up to protect himself; instead he should use offense to put the pressure on his opponents to discourage them from attacking him, and to beat the stamina out of them so they have less to attack him with. Especially now with the 3 occasions where he got knocked out, his future fighters will be more confident that they can be the next one to knock him out. More strength training and punching bag striking can help him increase his striking power. If he has an iron fist on top of his iron head and iron body, then he will be able to prevent career injuries, prevent future knockouts and continue to shine as a star fighter for a long time.
In the grappling department, he seems to have floaty hips and feet and several fighters have taken advantage of that to throw him off balance. It’s not so advantageous especially when you need the balance and positioning to launch attacks. Many times he uses the clinch to slow down the fight when the opponent starts to do some damage to him. He should do less of that, as it will make him look like an underdog instead of a dominating superstar. Champions don’t need to take advantage of clinch time. Legends don’t need to rely on that.
Much unlike the average conservative boxer and ring sport martial artist, there are many martial arts geeks who told me that they prefer to specialize in hard qigong and taking hits as a form of self defense, and they believe it will give them huge advantage when fighting other martial artists. They told me that techniques are not necessary. Quite similar to the martial artists who claim their styles are internal, abstract, and do not need techniques.
My stance on iron body and iron head is to complete your horse stance training first. Horse stance training builds great chi capacity in the body as well as muscular strength thus it should never be skipped, or the iron body and iron head skill will be incomplete. Technically, iron body and iron head are also largely ‘stable body’ and ‘stable head’, the same principle which we get ‘stable stance’.
A reason I emphasize the value of attacking power, or even counterattacking power, is that the danger of getting pain or injury will deter the opponent from willing his force to do pain or injury to you. Threaten them with painful retaliation and they will not come to attack you, as the wise ancient Chinese sages of military philosophy said.
My ideal concept of a complete Kung Fu ring fighter will be one who has the damage resistance of Yi Long, and also, a strong ability to pressure and dominate the ring and the fight, topped off with explosive knockout blows. The purpose of iron shirt and iron head is to provide assurance to the fighter to charge forward to deliver his arsenal of powerful conventional and unconventional moves. As Sun Tzu art of War goes: Quick victory is valued over a long, dragged out battle.
I personally wish the best for Yi Long. Keep up what you have been doing, stay strong and healthy, and I hope you can show the world you have iron fists too, on top of iron head and iron body.