China’s MMA Club for Poor and Orphaned Boys

Hey guys, this is Christine from
VICE’s Brooklyn office. Our colleagues in China
spent some time with ENBO Fight Club. An MMA group who’s founder trained
and supported orphans and children from an impoverished region
in Tibet. We followed the shy, but tough
MMA fighter, Banma as he prepares for his
next competition. Stay tuned. Fighting is more than just
punching and kicking, it’s also mental. Your opponent can outmatch
your skills and your power, but you cannot allow them
to defeat you mentally. We train ethnic minorities
and Han. A lot of kids have been orphaned
due to family situations. Their family situations are dire. If you are 18 and have no skills,
no cattle, no land, no job, and no money,
where will you go? My team took in these kids so that,
through their own sweat and blood, they can become martial arts experts. Beautiful! It’s another barrage
of the fists. Dmitri seems to be
at a disadvantage. Beautiful! That was the most beautiful KO
I have ever seen. That was a straight knockout! Beautiful! That’s great fighting. Banma is pretty fierce! He’s fast. Banma Duoji has nothing
to worry about. He can let his opponent stand
right back up, then keep hammering on him. -Beautiful!
-Stop! Stop! The referee has called the match. Banma Duoji has won an overwhelming
victory in this match. I think he just landed
over 20 punches. His current record is one KO
and three TKOs. He has won four of his five matches. He doesn’t have the best record
at our club, but he is our most famous member. This is a nice room. There are lots of handsome guys. It’s full of guys. Zhaxi! You startled me. I even brought you something
to eat. Take it! I think I prefer my
own dorm, honestly. Just act naturally. The director likes
your eyes the most, but lower your head
whenever you speak. You need to express yourself
clearly because this is a drama, and because of time constraints, there isn’t enough time
to train you systematically. When I meet the director tomorrow,
I’ll knock him out. This film tells the story
of a Chinese boxer, who won a boxing championship
many years ago. His name was Xiong Chaozhong. Duoji and Xiong Chaozhong
share very similar backgrounds. The director liked Banma Duoyi
from the start because of his image and the expression in his eyes. The plot in the scene is that
you like the girl. If you like the girl,
then you have to show it. You can’t just look at her viciously,
jump up there and knock her out. He wants to knock everyone out! Run for one minute. Go! Run! Hurry up! I came here in 2010. We were in the second grade
and the tuition was only 15 RMB [$2.00]. I don’t think my family paid. So the headmaster complained
about it a lot, but my family really could not
afford it at the time. One day, one of the
headmaster’s friends told us about Enbo Fight Club
in Chengdu. He explained it to me. He said the curriculum
was focused on fighting, and that room and board were free,
so I figured I could go try it out. While training at Enbo Fight Club,
I still had to attend classes. We took a bus to school. I didn’t know the name of the place
I was going to, the name of where I was,
or which bus I had to take. I didn’t know any of that
because I can’t read Chinese. When the driver asked me
to pay the bus fare, I couldn’t understand,
so I didn’t react. He kicked me off the bus. Later, when my friend,
De Wang arrived. They knew where my stop was
and they came to pick me up. It was incredibly difficult
in the beginning. I never thought I would learn to
speak Chinese in my life. I really wondered how long
it would take for me to live as easily and happily
as they did, knowing exactly what
they were doing. Just spar for a bit. Shake hands. Okay, now split up. Ready? Fight! Raise your elbows. Move your feet! Move! Pay attention to your speed. When he first arrived,
he seemed a bit introverted because he grew up
in a single parent home, and his family
wasn’t very well off. Compared to other kids his age,
he felt inferior. But in the sport of fighting
he found his confidence. Raise your hands! Stop! Stop it. You need to move
and bob more. Got it? Think about it. Don’t always aim for the head. Hit the neck,
then go for the head. I never had a father. Since coming to Enbo Fight Club,
Mr. Enbo is like a father to me. He is always teaching me. He has been training me to box since my very first day
at Enbo Fight Club. And he has taught me how to
be a better person. So I call him my godfather. It’s not just me. Everyone here at Enbo Fight Club
calls him Godfather. I switched to an MMA model because MMA is the only true
representation of fighting. It includes punches and kicks,
elbows, knees, grappling, and ground fighting. It is the most complete martial art. It’s a sport for the courageous. The third year after Banma arrived, he said that he might become a
champion fighter. We all laughed at him. But he actually fights pretty well. He still needs another three
to five years of training to become a real champion. There are a lot of kids
like him here. Ready! Go! Quick! I’m pretty shy about everything
I do in life. For some reason,
being shy is perfectly fine. But for other things, being too shy means that you’ll
miss out on a lot. Either way, I’m always changing. We’re going to go through
the rules fairly quickly. Banma weighs in at
58.24 kg [128 lbs]. The fighter has made weight. At 128 pounds, the Red Fighter
meets the weight requirements. This is the sixth time that I have fought in a professional
international competition. Tomorrow is the sixth time. I have won five consecutive matches. I hope that I can
continue that record. Heralding from Enbo Fight Club,
today’s Red Fighter is 18 years old, 1.7 meters tall [5.6 ft],
and weighs in at 58 kg [128 lbs]. Let’s give a round of applause for
our Tibetan competitor, the Prince of Fighters,
Banma Douji! This is a super flyweight
qualifying match between fighters, Yusuke
and Banma Duoji. That’s right. Banma Douji
really impressed us during his earlier fights. Right now, Yusuke is showing
great movement with his legs. The fighters have clinched! Yusuke excells at grappling. He throws a hook! Banma Duoji needs to
stay controlled right now. He needs to use a more controlled
fighting technique. He’s fallen! A knee! Stop! Move along! It’s illegal to knee your
opponent after they fall. The competitor threw a knee strike,
so the referee stopped the match. We have already filed an appeal,
and are waiting for the results. Can you hear me? I’m in Pi Township. I wore the scarf you made for me
to the match. It looks great. It’s perfect for me. De Wang and I didn’t lose
our fights. The results of this match are
the same as if I hadn’t fought. Watching movies
has impacted me a lot. I wasn’t prepared for this match. My coach and the other fighters told me that I shouldn’t compete
in this match. But I said I could handle it. This is the result. This taught me
to listen to their advice. Of course he loves it. But he hasn’t realized yet that fighting will play an
important role later in his life, or maybe
for the rest of his life. He hasn’t thought about how
this can earn him a living, or enable him
to provide for his family. I never thought that something
like this could happen, that the Enbo Fight Club
could suddenly close. I never thought this would happen. I’ve never even considered it. If I stopped training
and went back home, there is nothing I would be
capable of doing. I grew up in a single parent home. I have no memories of my father, because he was never
present in my life. I don’t even know
what he looks like. I grew up with my mother. You don’t have a job? If you can, work hard. If you can,
have him open a tea shop. How should I put this? Fighting changed my fate. If I hadn’t come to
the Enbo Fight Club, I would definitely been
herding yaks, or maybe running a small business. Otherwise, I would probably be
stealing cows or other things. I might even be in prison. Whatever the case, I would be
worse off than I am now. I’m certain of that. A lot of people think I’m arrogant
or too lax with my training. Of course people will think that. But I’m not like that at all. I don’t care about these
small scores, really. I’m striving for greater things. New waves push out old waves. That will always happen. If you rest, give up, or
let your guard down mentally, someone else will win
the prize tomorrow. Not you. That’s the cruel reality
of fighting. You aren’t invincible. When it comes to fighting,
no one is invincible.

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