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The Book Club: Taijiquan and the Search for the Little Old Chinese Man by Adam D. Frank: Chapter 4-8: Globalization, Modernization and Mobility in the Chinese Martial Arts.

This is the second half of our two part discussion of Adam D. Frank’s ethnographic study of identity and the traditional Chinese martial arts.  The first part of this review can be found here.  The “Book Club” is a semi-regular feature in which I host a discussion of a major work in the field of … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (12): The Chinese Martial Arts and Local Government: Yamen Runners, Clerks, Jailers and Executioners.

***Update*** (I recently found another old photograph that goes very well with this post.  It shows an official riding a horse as part of procession in pre-1911 Shanghai.  I have added it below with some additional comment.) Introduction: Romanticizing and Reviling the Martial Arts in 19th and 20th Century China The traditional fighting arts occupied … Continue reading

“Fighting Styles” or “Martial Brands”? An economic approach to understanding “lost lineages” in the Chinese Martial Arts.

Introduction Much of our modern writing on the Chinese martial arts is premised on the examination of difference.  Nor is this an abstract categorization of dry facts.  Our discussions always seem to run along a similar track. Of all of the techniques, styles and teachers out there, we want to know which one is “the … Continue reading

The Book Club: Taijiquan and the Search for the Little Old Chinese Man by Adam D. Frank: Introduction – Chapter 3: Body, Lineage, Space and Identity.

[This is the first post of the third installment of our “Book Club” series.  The goal of this series is to provide a detailed discussion of some important books within the field of Chinese martial studies, similar to what you might find in an undergraduate level seminar.  No special background is necessary.  These discussions are … Continue reading

The Wing Chun Jo Fen: Norms and the Creation of a Southern Chinese Martial Arts Community.

(**Co-authorship credit for this post goes to my Sifu, Jon Nielson. This post grew out of a conversation that we had about the origins and implications of the Jo Fen almost one year ago.**) Introduction: Defining Community in the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts   How does one define a social community? How are boundaries drawn … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: May 13th: Culture, Globalization and “Green Dragons” in Boston.

Introduction As long-time readers know, “Chinese Martial Arts in the News” is a regular feature here at Kung Fu Tea.  Every three weeks we take a morning off to review the top stories about the Chinese martial arts.  We also pay special attention to how these fighting styles are covered and discussed in the mainstream … Continue reading

Nick Hurst Talks to Kung Fu Tea about Writing, Research, and Curating the Memory of a Shaolin Grandmaster.

Introduction This is the second part of our series on Sugong: The Life of a Shaolin Grandmaster (2012) by Nick Hurst.  If you have not already done so, be sure to check out the review here.  Nick is a great guy and he was kind enough to sit down with Kung Fu Tea and answer … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (11): Japanese Martial Artists in China.

Introduction: Addressing a Difficult Subject No topic is more difficult to approach than the varied roles that traditional Asian fighting systems have played in defining and strengthening nationalism during the 20th century.  Governments in Japan, China and later Korea all realized that the martial arts were ideal platforms from which they could train, strengthen and … Continue reading

Sugong: Nick Hurst Explores South East Asia’s Shaolin Kung Fu Tradition.

Nick Hust.  Sugong: The Life of a Shaolin Grandmaster. Sports Books. 2012. pp. 291. Introduction: Summer Reading for Chinese Martial Artists It is that time of year again.  It is the season when literally everyone I know packs a bag, prints out a boarding pass and heads out in search of the nirvana that is … Continue reading

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