Chinese shopping mall brawl breaks out between taekwondo school and gym staff

It looks like a scene from a martial arts movie, but a video that has gone viral on social media is actually footage of a brawl breaking out at a Chinese shopping mall between a taekwondo school and a group of gym workers.

The original video shows the fight from several different angles filmed by stunned onlookers at a busy mall in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai.

The taekwondo practitioners are seen giving a demonstration to promote their school, but were being too loud which reportedly led to noise complaints.

They are then confronted outside a shop by what appears to be a group of employees from a gym inside the same mall.

An argument breaks out before all hell breaks loose with fists and kicks thrown, as alarms inside the shop start going off.

The gym workers - who have significant height and reach advantages - appear to wipe the floor with their martial artist opponents, who do not have much space at close quarters to throw their kicks, leaving them lying in a heap.

Photo: Weibo

However, another video of the incident, posted by Fight Commentary Breakdowns on YouTube, includes other angles of the incident that were are not shown in the original video.

The new footage shows several of the taekwondo fighters flopping to the floor as the gym workers back off - perhaps to make it look like they have been injured when police and security arrive to intervene.

"I think the gym bros kicked the s*** out of tkd [taekwondo], and when the cops were called, tkd crowd who were standing, just all faked injury and getting the gym into trouble," one user commented below the video.

Another commenter agreed, writing: "Those were some stiff shots. I think the flopping was maybe to incriminate the other guys more."

"Damn did they watch Cobra Kai season 2 and re-enact the mall scene?" said another user sarcastically, referencing the hit US web television series based on the classic Karate Kid films.

The video fanned the flames of a debate sweeping China regarding the practicality of traditional martial arts in modern combat. Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong has become a cult figure for his ongoing mission to expose "kung fu fakery" by pulverising fraudulent martial arts "masters" who he believes are conning the public.

Photo: Weibo

"Taekwondo is unsuitable for close combat and as such unsuitable for most 'real' fights," another comment under the video read.

Another user said: "Imagine that, trained tkd exponent getting beat up by man on the street. Just goes to prove tkd is useless in a real fight. It is just kick dancing and breaking veener boards."

"That was a real brawl, no question," one user weighed in. "Why they were laying down was probably for the lawyers so they could take the fight to the courts. Of course video of them faking it will backfire severely on them if they try it. I am by the way not at all surprised that strength and conditioning beat out taekwondo in a close quarters brawl. I would have put very high odds on the Gym Bros before hand."

This article was first published in South China Morning Post