Zui Quan

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Bruce Lee could often be found overdosing on Painkillers after a demanding session of Zui Quan. Here Bruce is demonstrating that counting your fingers is an appropriate method of gauging whether one is fully able to take part in a round. He famously said here, "I think I'm a higher being, I've got 20 fingers... get me an opponent so I can pump his Qi right the fuck out of him... Yeah, I love you man".
This self portrait by BJ Penn is the kind of sell through art work which funds the art of Zui Quan.


For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Zui Quan.

Zui Quan or in English, Drunken Boxing is the ancient Chinese Wushu practice of picking a fight whilst heavily pissed. The art is practiced before imbibing alcohol in a deliberate spasming fashion and this is adjacent to rigorous drink training to adapt stamina and skill.

Famous Drunken Boxers include the entire population of Glasgow, Bruce Lee, and members of the Shaolin Temple. The art regarded as being similar to the dance/martial arts fusion, Capoaira rather than a bonified martial art since accuracy and actual striking skills are rendered obsolete in the practice. This Wushu style is also voted one of the world most dangerous as the high propensity to develop alcohol poisoning or attempting to many superman moves can result in injury or liver failure - or both.


When Green Tea wasn't speeding up their metabolism and keeping them trim, many Chinese warriors wanted to get totally wreaked. It was recorded in some dynasty

"To know a true warrior is to know a drunk man. Test your commanders in battle not in warfare but in sparring, and in this sparring let these warriors be tested whilst drunk and arrogant. The true commander will revel himself to be the one who goes to the bar and drinks even more than the others and continues to fight. The warriors true art is stamina and endurance whilst drunk (One of the big five)"


The test of true warrior skill is to be found in Zui Quan - at least for the Chinese. It was widely practiced throughout all the Wushu schools throughout China and it is believed to be the most effective inebriated fighting sport worldwide. In terms of striking the moves are relatively unorthodox. For Instance it is acceptable that a Jab might turn into a cross due to the alcohol. Similarly certain elements of ground fighting may be incorporated into the discipline due to poor coordination and stamina in a fight.

Other elements such as the kind of alcohol used are also put under scrutiny - for instance in China wine or Beer/Soy like beverages may have been permitted, but certain alcohol is banned under Shoulin rules. Notable of these is Guinness where fighters are prone to become to fat to fight or Buckfast where fighter will be too prone to glass opponents or pull out a knife.

It was this doctrine surrounding Drunken Boxing the defeat of many Chinese emperors who followed Sun Zsu's advice far too literally and sending many troops out 'half cocked'. The lessons of history sadly have not been learned and the British Army continues a rigorous hand-to-hand combat using Drunken Fist principles - of course these could easily be counted by 'Shatner' 'take downs' or cannon ball swings.

Drunken Boxing's place in Chinese Martial Arts[edit]

The ancient purpose was often for amusement, and also a means by which body weight can be used, in a less than aerodynamic way to defeat opponents. This was often drilled also in areas where martial arts schools were next to pubs giving rise to drunken fighters. Essentially the Drunken Boxing developed out of slovenly yobbish behavior.

Many Sholin Monks bemoan that this is more famous than some of the animal plays they put on for fighting such as 'the tiger'. Drunken boxing has also boomed out in unofficial and unregulated ways throughout the desperate urban areas of China meaning that protecting the art as a key part of Chinese culture has not been possible.

This gradual decline in Drunken Boxing being part of the Wushu family has seen several embarrassing episodes, particularly UFC where uncultured Chinese boors demand to fight the professionals - often with very amusing results. These 'novelty' matches are reserved for later in the evening, mostly for the amusement of the fighters and anybody bored enough to watch a drunken chinese man get beaten up.

Media Appearances[edit]

The well known Let's Dance album cover from 1983. Here Bowie dons some bag gloves and mimics his bag practice

David Bowie famously took up Drunken Boxing in 1982, in 1983 after declaring himself world champion; he broadcast this fighting art in his massively successful Let's Dance album. In it he sings the lyrics, "My little China Girl you shouldn't mess with me, or I'll ruin everything you are/I'll give you television, I'll give you eyes of blue, I'll give you a man who wants to rule the world!..."

The art also featured n the 1970s Jackie Chan, however like the 2007 re-boot of Miami Vice this merely was a heavily edited selection of Jackie’s drink problem in the seventies as opposed to Colin Farrell’s sleeping pill addiction.

See also[edit]