“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan may not walk the streets of Beijing, China in a cape, but she is most certainly a superhero.
The Chinese martial artist, who is a former professional boxer and national Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, learned many important lessons from her dad during her childhood. But there is one, in particular, that continues to stand out.
“My father taught me that everyone is equal,” the 30-year-old says.
“When I see people getting bullied, I feel outraged. I’ll stand up for them, and protect the vulnerable.”
Growing up, she was reckless and often careless. In fact, Xiong readily admits she was a “naughty girl” who misbehaved quite frequently.
In spite of that, her heart was always in the right place, and she genuinely wanted to help protect the helpless. Aside from her father’s words of wisdom, she found inspiration in the form of “The Swordsman,” a Hong Kong martial arts film released in 1990.
The movie follows the story of a legendary swordsman’s apprentices, Ling Hu Chong and Yue Ling Shan, as they deliver their master’s sacred scroll to another swordsman. Along the way, they encounter many opposing forces who want to take the sacred scroll, including a Chinese sect, Japanese samurais, and even snake-swinging female warriors.
Xiong connected with this movie in many ways.
“My love for “The Swordsman” was very serious,” she explains.
“When I was a little girl, I loved “The Swordsman” and I wanted to be one myself — to eliminate bullying, help the poor, and so on.”
As she got older and more confident in her abilities, Xiong would intervene on behalf of the defenseless to assist them in their struggles.
“The Panda” often witnessed the misuse of power in her community, especially against elderly folk on the streets who were trying to make an honest living. One day, after a certain episode, she had enough, and decided to do something about it. She has been doing it ever since.
“I used to encounter a lot of these things,” she begins.
“For example, we have some city inspectors. Sometimes, even though they are doing things by the book, I feel they go too far. There are times when I saw them confiscate items from some elderly street vendors, or knock their things over.
“I cannot bear seeing that. So sometimes, I would go up to the inspectors’ car, and take those things back. I would carry things down one-by-one for them.”
Xiong retrieved the confiscated goods and supplies, and returned them to their rightful owners. The street vendors were appreciative of her efforts, but she did not care about getting a pat on the back, or even being thanked.
Simply put, “The Panda” wants to see people treated fairly, and does not want to see any harm occur towards those who help to build up the community.
“This is something that comes out of your heart. You cannot pretend or disguise feelings like this,” she says. “This is something I feel deep inside my bones. I cannot change it in my life.”
While Xiong may not be able to control her feelings, she can certainly control her destiny. The Chinese martial arts prodigy will get the opportunity to achieve immortality on Saturday, 20 January, when she challenges Tiffany “No Chill” Teo for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, live from Jakarta Convention Center
On that night, this superhero could make history.