Thankfully, I’ve never been beat up, but I imagine it must be a horrible thing to go through. Which is why I find this 48-year-old Chinese man’s choice of career strange, to say the least. Xie Shuiping actually volunteers to take punches from random strangers, for a fee. Surprisingly, taking a beating is a rather decent source of income, earning him about $3,500 a month.
Xie, who is also known as the ‘human punching bag’, hangs around streets, bars and nightclubs, just waiting to get punched. Each person who comes forward is allowed to punch him three times in the stomach, as hard as possible. The ‘performance’ lasts about 20 minutes, and those who beat him or shake him can receive free drinks at the bar. Financial rewards aside, the human punching bag also likes to think he helps people let off some team as well. “If you are upset by your boss or your wife, don’t blame them. Vent your anger on me. Let society be harmonious,” he said.
Photo: China Daily Blog
Xie began his unusual career in 2004, when he took part in a promotional show at a supermarket. The audience members were invited to hit him over the head with wine bottles; apparently, the show was a big hit. Xie enjoyed the experience as well, so he kept doing more shows. “At first, I did it for fun and did not think about making a living by it,” he said. “But later I realized that without money, I could not live.”
Photo: China Daily Blog
Away from home and short on cash, Xie one day decided to capitalize on the unusually strong abs he had developed through years of manual labour and qigong, an art that many Chinese believe strenghtens both body and spirit. The whole idea of paying money to punch someone is so bizarre and perverse, I wonder what kind of people would be willing to do that. But Xie seems quite happy with his job and it doesn’t look like he’s getting hurt. The man appears to have abs of steel, hardly flinching when he receives hard punches to the stomach.
For now, the only people who are unhappy with Xie’s career are his wife and two daughters. They’ve tried to talk him out of it, but they haven’t been able to convince him to stop. Xie is busy planning his next move – he plans to take his act to the United States next year. “If possible, I want to drop in at Seattle, to visit the late Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee. He’s my idol,” he said.