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Alex Gillis Discusses Tae Kwon Do and “A Killing Art” with Kung Fu Tea.

Welcome of the Halloween 2012 edition of Kung Fu Tea!  A few weeks ago I had the chance to review Alex Gillis’ groundbreaking work on the origins and development of Tae Kwon Do, A Killing Art.  Click on the links to see that post or the book.  This detailed study is a wonderful example of … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: October 29th, 2012: Commercialization, Authenticity and Bruce Lee.

Welcome to the “Frankenstorm” edition of “Chinese martial arts in the news.”  Every few weeks I update readers about recent events and important developing trends.  If you have suggestions for a story that I should be watching feel free to drop me an email or leave a note in the comments section. 1. Chinese government … Continue reading

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qigong in the Wing Chun Community

Martial Arts and Globalization in late 19th and early 20th century China. In my previous post I proposed a framework for using globalization and the liberalization of China’s economy in the 1980s and 1990s to understand the progressive “medicalization” of the martial arts.  Traditionally fighting styles were viewed as a job skill for those who … Continue reading

Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Martial Arts: Another Approach to Globalization and Chinese Martial Studies.

Why Does Chinese Martial Studies Need Globalization? In a previous post I asked whether “globalization,” understood as the increased movement of capital, goods, people and ideas through networks divorced from the traditional state, is having an impact on the traditional Chinese martial arts.  Globalization is a large enough subject that it is difficult to generalize … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (5): Early Chinese-American Boxers.

   How did Boxing Influence the Adoption of the Martial Arts in America? The history of the Chinese fighting arts in America is relatively brief and poorly understood.  While some studies of individual schools and teachers exist, I have never seen an attempt to paint a comprehensive picture of the evolution of the Chinese hand … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (3): Chan Wah Shun and the Creation of Wing Chun.

Chan Wah Shun and his Place in the Modern Wing Chun Community. One of the biggest problems in researching the history of the martial arts is the martial artists themselves.  They love their styles (or the businesses that they support) so much that everything needs to have an elaborate back story.  A straight forward account … Continue reading

Is the iPhone Killing Kung Fu? Economics and Globalization in Chinese Martial Studies.

The Traditional Chinese Martial Arts: Something that Young Adults used to do? Globalization and technology are having an unmistakable effect on martial arts around the world, and the Chinese martial arts are no exception.  Of course this will not come as a great surprise to most of my readers.  Without a healthy and robust form … Continue reading

The Kukri and the Katana: Understanding and Appreciating the Rarity of the Martial Arts.

Are the Asian Martial Arts Inevitable? I suspect that students of Chinese martial studies are overlooking one of the most perplexing, interesting and possibly illuminating questions that our field can ask.  We spend so much time recording, studying and theorizing about the history of Taiji, or the connections of the martial styles of Fujian and … Continue reading

What Master T. T. Liang can Teach us about Wing Chun: Improving the Retention of Advanced Students.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Thirty-three: Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self needs strength. He who knows he has enough is rich. Perseverance is a sign of willpower. He who stays where he is endures. To die but not to perish is to be eternally present. … Continue reading

Alex Gillis Takes on a “Killing Art.”

Alex Gillis.  A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do.  Ontario: ECW Press. 2011 (First published in 2008).  246 pages.  $16.95 USD. As I mentioned here I am assembling a reading list for an undergraduate course on the Asian martial arts.  My preference would be to teach it in a political science department … Continue reading

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