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Mythology of the Kukri: Sign and Symbol

Introduction: The Symbolic Language of Weapons Victor Turner, the cultural anthropologist, famously argued that all symbols are “multivocal,” meaning a single symbol can take on a multiplicity of meanings.  Humans have a way of looking at complexes of symbols, perhaps embedded in a ritual or a myth, and finding exactly the right mix of meaning … Continue reading

Imagining the Chinese Martial Arts without Bruce Lee: Sophia Delza, an American Taiji Quan Pioneer.

Introduction: Different Visions of the Chinese Martial Arts Assume that we find ourselves in a very specific, recognizable alternate universe.  It is almost exactly like ours, but in this world Bruce Lee never came to America.  Maybe he got along fine with his father and simply followed him into Taiji and the Hong Kong film … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: April 22, 2013: Taiji Quan Rising, Cantonese Opera and Remembering Bruce Lee

Introduction Welcome to the April 22nd edition of “Chinese Martial Arts in the News.”  Every three weeks we stop to reflect on important events in the Chinese martial arts community and to take a look at how we are being covered in the media.  I try to hit all of the top stories from the … Continue reading

Are the Internal Martial Arts the “Next Big Thing?”

  A lot of schools have that in their motto: mental, physical and spiritual. But when you get into the school, you just fight and do forms. When do we get to that part I see at the Shaolin Temple in movies? I’m thinking as I get to the next belt, eventually we’re going to … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (10): “They have a cannon?” Chinese Martial Arts Schools as Local Militia Units, 1896-1940.

Introduction I recently came across a very interesting photograph.  It was taken by the important (if under-appreciated) combat photographer Sha Fei sometime between 1938 and 1940.  At that point in time he was documenting the progress of the 8th Route Army in Northern China as it resisted the Japanese and attempted to consolidate its base … Continue reading

From the Archives: Spiritual Kung Fu – Can Wing Chun be a Secular Religion?

Introduction This article was first posted on August 3rd, 2012, making it one of the very first things I ever wrote for Kung Fu Tea.  It was also my first review of an academic article, and my first attempt to deal with the question of spirituality and religion in the Chinese martial arts.  This is … Continue reading

From the Archives: Can Southern Chinese Kung Fu Ever be “Internal?”

Introduction Here is a second post from the Kung Fu Tea archives.  This post was originally published on September 5th, 2012.  That was still in the first few months of the blog, well before I had started to establish any sort of readership.  I expect that most of you will be seeing this article for … Continue reading

From the Archives: A Really Short Reading List on Chinese Martial Studies.

Introduction As I mentioned over at the Facebook group, I need to take a week off from Kung Fu Tea.  My father, who is also a college professor, is recovering from surgery and has asked to me cover some of his lectures.  That means that I will be busily engaged in class preparations for a … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (6): Ng Chung So – Looking Beyond the “Three Heroes of Wing Chun”

Note: this article originally appeared as a guest post at “Wing Chun Geeks.” Ng Chung So: Looking Beyond the “Three Heroes of Wing Chun” The origins of Wing Chun are shrouded in mystery.  We seem to like it that way.  It is the reason that people are drawn to them.  Who can resist the urge … Continue reading

Coming this Spring: Authentic Ip Ching Wing Chun in Western New York.

Blue Heron Wing Chun Hall in Western New York I have a special announcement to make.  This spring I am opening a branch of the Wing Chun Hall in Western NY.  Under the direction of my Sifu, Jon Nielson (a direct student of Ip Ching) I will be offering classes in authentic Ip Man style … Continue reading

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