It’s a yearly tradition in Pamplona, Spain, to ceremoniously run with bulls. Spain also has a deep history of matadors entertaining crowds with a red sash in hand and fierce bull at their feet. While some consider it a noble art, others are quick to deem the century-old tradition barbaric.
Across the globe, one Chinese man has another way of looking at it as he has taken bullfighting to a whole new level by using martial arts to fight them.
In a Reuters profile Thursday, kung fu teacher Ren Ruzhi was reported to spar several times a week with a bull that is five times his weight. He doesn’t use a sword and displays none of the theatrics of Spanish bullfighting. The 24-year-old says it “symbolizes the bravery of man,” in an interview in the city of Jiaxing.
Video of Ruzhi fighting bulls has gone viral with over 22,000 views on YouTube alone. In the video, crowds watch Ruzhi use wrestling techniques and kung fu skills to bring down the bull.
“Inside the ring, I see the bull as my adversary,” Ruzhi said in a video interview with subtitles. “But outside the ring, I treat him like a friend or fellow warrior. Why (do I say this)? Because we are often together on the same stage.”
The video includes Ruzhi receiving instruction on how to literally grab the bull by the horns. He is taught how to hold onto the horns and twist the horns so the head of the bull turns back and is toppled.
If a fighter gets tired from exerting with the bull, another can step in but each fighter only has three minutes to get the animal to the ground or they will lose the match.
The bull, that can weigh over 800 pounds, makes kung-fu moves exhilarating for Ruzhi. It is a physical sport that takes great discipline. There is extensive training and most kung fu artists have short careers because of the physical demands of the sport.
Why does the Ruzhi do it? Despite his mother’s fears, he describes grappling with a snorting bull is exciting.