What Is A Kung Fu LARPer? (Live Action Role Player)
This article is part of our series on the subject of "Fake Martial Arts". Read more:
- Why Fake Martial Arts Exist (And Why They Always Will?)
- Top 5 Lies Fake Martial Artists Keep Telling Everyone (And What They Really Mean)
- Top 12 Signs Your Martial Arts School Is A McDojo
- Top 15 Signs Your Martial Arts Teacher Is Fake
- Jet Li on Fake Masters & What Is Real Kung Fu
What is "LARPing"?
Traditionally, Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) is when a bunch of nerds get together in a field or pasture and beat each other up with foam core swords.
In the internet sense, it refers to people who put on a façade and lie about having lives that are far more interesting than they really are.
What is a "LARPer"?
A word that describes a live action role player or someone who enjoys acting out fantasy adventures.
What is a Kung Fu / Martial Arts LARPer?
A martial arts LARPer, in the most basic sense, is the same as a "wannabe".
He / she is a poser and a charlatan of sorts.
A LARPer is someone who copies or imitates all or most of the aspects relating with their martial arts idol or martial arts style, and usually lies about their skills and knowledge in the process.
They may wish to have or buy all the uniforms / clothing, wish they had the high level skills, belt ranking, or competition medals of the martial arts discipline they study, but don't actually have them / cannot achieve them due to laziness, lack of actually putting the time in to training hard, or just plain incompetence / lack of talent.
Instead of working hard to achieve their martial arts goals, a LARPer would rather fake their knowledge (act like they know more than they do), fake a belt rank or certification that they were never awarded with, lie about their training experiences or who they've trained with, lie about competition results / records, or any of the combination of the above.
A Kung Fu LARPer is one of those guys who has barely trained hard for even a single day in their life, but will make tons of lofty claims or produce other online spam content, self-promoting their so-called amazing feats or skills, but can't win a real fight if their life depended on it. Usually, these guys are the same guys that brag that their "internal energy force" can beat anyone / anything.
A regular LARPer is usually a wannabe who is sometimes lacking in self confidence, however with a martial arts LARPer, they more often take form in much more devious and annoying ways, such as having an extreme overconfidence in their martial arts skills.
Martial arts LARPers can be highly toxic individuals, egotistical, self centered, and delusional folks who have an overinflated sense of their own martial arts abilities and little to no friends as a result.
You can find LARPers just about anywhere and in any martial arts style, but they are especially common and a huge problem in the Chinese Martial Arts / Kung Fu community.
Because most practitioners in Kung Fu / traditional martial arts often practice forms or drills only, there is a huge quality control issue due to the lack of real pressure testing / sparring / fighting in their curriculums or systems they practice.
Let us take a closer look at how Kung Fu LARPers behave and how to identify one:
Common Traits of a Kung Fu LARPer:
- Only theorizes about Kung Fu techniques or concepts ("Qi" force, "internal" mechanics, perceived application of techniques). Will talk a lot in real life or write long essays on the internet fantasizing about said theories, but only trains casually or at a very low intensity.
- Will tell everyone who disagrees with their theories or "knowledge" that they’re "wrong" (but will provide no further evidence or sources).
- When questioned / challenged by others to provide proof, they can’t / won’t produce real evidence showing applications of said theory or theories either in sparring or fighting, and will immediately result to ad hominem attacks of anyone questioning.
- Will ride the coattails of their Kung Fu lineage or Sifu or some other famous master in order to use it as leverage, defense, or to make themselves look good by association, even though they're actually no good themselves.
- Only talks or trains forms, compliant drills, but never spars or fights. This is okay if you are just a casual practitioner, but for a Kung Fu LARPer, they will claim that this type of training is the only training they need.
- When asked why they never spar or fight with their Kung Fu, they will claim their techniques are "too deadly", or that their "art is not designed for sport fighting, but for killing". This absolves them from any responsibility to prove that they are any good.
- Will claim that any form of fighting such as the fighting that occurs in combat sports such as boxing, or MMA, etc. isn't "real" fighting.
- Considers drills and compliant demonstrations to be the ONLY "real" "true" displays of Kung Fu.
- Considers non-compliant sparring or fighting to be NOT real displays of Kung Fu.
- Doesn't realize their own incompetency or inadequacy and that any real martial artist or trained fighter would absolutely destroy them in a real fight (a frog in the well).
Living In Denial
If other Kung Fu practitioners have video evidence of them applying their Kung Fu in sparring / fighting, a LARPer will fake superiority (otherwise known as "gatekeeping") and go into an insecure and defensive mode.
They will deflect real world evidence, the performances of professional fighters / athletes, scientific studies and respond with comforting lies to reassure their worldview by making statements such as:
- “That’s not Kung Fu.”
- "That’s not “real” Kung Fu.”
- "That's not what "real" Kung Fu is."
- "That's not "real" Kung Fu technique."
- "That's not what a "real" Kung Fu practitioner does."
- "Find a “real” Sifu”.
- "Go learn "real" Kung Fu."
- "Go learn "real" Kung Fu from a "true" master."
When all else is lost, they will always end the engagement or conversation with something silly such as:
- “Study harder, train longer, you’re not qualified to talk to me yet”.
- "MMA is a sport, not a real fight."
- "You're an MMA fanboy / bully!"
- "You're not a "real" martial artist!"
- "We can agree to disagree."
Kung Fu Is Dying A Slow Death
Thanks to the overwhelming number of LARPers in the Kung Fu community, Kung Fu is dying a slow and steady death.
No one who trains martial arts seriously wants to be associated with LARPers, and people from other martial arts communities can't take Kung Fu practitioners seriously because Kung Fu's reputation has been all but eroded by Kung Fu LARPers.
At one point, even Bruce Lee voiced his disgust for fake martial arts practitioners and was not a fan of embarrassing Tai Chi practitioners and "self defense experts".
Birds Of The Same Feather Flock Together
LARPers often gather together with other LARPers, in order to help protect each other's faked reputation (if they are fake martial arts teachers) and / or bask in each other's shared mediocrity and fake humility.
This is why you often see fake Kung Fu masters being praised or supported by other fake Kung Fu masters, because they all need to make money off of unsuspecting students.
In order to avoid dealing with actual martial artists or trained fighters who would easily see through their facade, LARPers only seek out other LARPers to talk or hang out with, instead of doing what any quality or serious martial artist would do, which is to seek challenges and higher learning.
Because the number of LARPers outnumber the number of good martial artists who take their training seriously, the Kung Fu community is largely misrepresented in a very negative light as there is a greater number of LARPers who are always interested in showing how poor their Kung Fu is (bragging that it is good and thinking it sells them as a master), whereas real practitioners or masters are less interested with showing off real skill as they understand it's nothing that needs to be bragged about.
We Must Do Better
Those of us in the Kung Fu community need to do better and set the bar higher.
If we are to preserve real Kung Fu for the next generations to come, then we must all work together to raise the bar higher to show quality Kung Fu in real, live scenarios.
The seniors of the Kung Fu community should be promoting more sporting competitions that show real Kung Fu techniques, and the younger Kung Fu practitioners should compete (and win) in more fighting tournaments that aren't specific to Kung Fu styles in order to show that Kung Fu indeed can be effective in modern times.
- Dynasty Team