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Xu Xiaodong

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Xú Xiǎodōng| 徐晓冬

Xu Xiaodong winks at the camera (YouTube)

Xu “Mad Dog” Xiaodong (b. 1979) is an amateur Mixed Martial Arts fighter whose in-ring takedowns of “fake” Taichi masters and bold political commentary have won him fame.

After a brief professional MMA career that ended in the early 2000s, Xu became a martial arts trainer in Beijing. In 2015, Xu began criticizing fake martial arts masters, mainly Tai Chi practitioners who claimed extraordinary martial abilities derived from their control over qi and other mystical elements, on his video blog Brother Dong’s Hot Takes (冬哥辣评). In 2017, Wei Lai, a Tai Chi master featured on CCTV for his prowess and a frequent target of Xu’s ire, attacked Xu with a ”human flesh search engine” by posting his phone number online. Enraged, Xu flew to Chengdu and challenged Wei Lai to a sparring match. Within 20 seconds, Xu knocked Wei Lai to the ground and began pummeling his head. Video of the impromptu fight went viral and Xu’s one-man campaign against Tai Chi took flight. Subsequent fights against Chen Yong, Lu Gang, Ding Hao, Tian Ye have also gone viral online. In 2020, Xu’s campaign forced the Chinese Wushu Association to crack down on martial arts practitioners calling themselves “masters."

Xu’s limited support for the Hong Kong protestors in 2019, which triggered the deletion of his Weibo account, brought him in touch with citizen journalist Chen Qiushi. Xu was among the first to vouch for Chen Qiushi’s safety after the latter disappeared while covering the Wuhan lockdown in 2020.