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Reevaluating the “Theater of Combat”: A Critical Look at Charles Holcombe, Popular Religion and the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts.

Kung Fu and Religion: The Emergence of the Modern Debate. For most of the 20th century western academics paid little attention to the Chinese martial arts.  Popular culture did not elicit much interest from scholars who were more engaged with ancient history and revolutionary politics.  Still, there were always some voices who realized the importance … Continue reading

The Story of Ip Man’s Wooden Dummy

Introduction: A Very Brief History of the Wooden Dummy in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts. I have been shopping for a new wooden dummy (Mook Yan Jong).  Obviously Wing Chun has a long and fruitful association with the wooden dummy, but this training tool is used throughout the southern Chinese martial arts.  Southern Mantis and … Continue reading

Ming Tales of Female Warriors: Searching for the Origins of Yim Wing Chun and Ng Moy.

I propose to speak on fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure.  Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold.  And overbold I may be accounted, for though I have been a lover of fairy-stories since I learned to read, and … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (13): The Dadao and the Militarization of the Chinese Martial Arts

Introduction It is dangerous to make sweeping statements about the development of the traditional Chinese martial arts during the early 20th century.  This was an important period for the hand combat community.  Between 1900 and 1949 the complex of behaviors and beliefs that we current think of as the “Chinese martial arts” were reshaped and … Continue reading

The Chinese and their Rebellions: Thomas Taylor Meadows on Taiping Warfare and the Emergence of the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts.

Introduction: One Post, Two Research Programs. The current post hopes to make a contribution to two ongoing projects here at Kung Fu Tea.  The first of these research programs has already led to a number of posts, while the second is a new line of thought that I hope to pursue over the next year. … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: June 10th, 2013: The Good, the Bad and the Very Sad.

Introduction “Chinese Martial Arts in the News” is a semi-regular feature here at Kung Fu Tea.  Every three or four weeks I try to conduct a roundup of the major stories affecting the Chinese martial arts.  Special attention is payed to how these practices are portrayed in the mainstream media.  Nevertheless, there is a lot … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (7): Li Pei Xian and the Evolution of the Modern Chinese Martial Arts.

Introduction: Critiquing the Conceptual Coherence of the Martial Arts.  In this installment of the “Lives of the Chinese Martial Artists” series we will be looking at the life and career of Li Pei Xian.  While a regionally important individual I doubt that many of my readers will be familiar with this name.  Nevertheless, I am … Continue reading

Interview for the Hiyaa Martial Arts Podcast

A Guest Appearance for Kung Fu Tea I recently had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Craig Kiessling and Dave Jones.  These two gentlemen are the hosts of the “Hiyaa Martial Arts Podcast.”  They graciously invited me to do an interview for their show discussing “Kung Fu Tea” and the current state of … Continue reading

Kung Fu and Soft Power: Why can’t the Chinese government capitalize on the popularity of the traditional fighting arts?

  Introduction: If Kung Fu is so popular, why can’t Wushu get into the Olympics? I am first and foremost a political scientist.  When I look at the “traditional Chinese martial arts” what I see is emerging trends in civil society, shifting identities, regional aspirations and the gripping tides of global economic exchange.  The thoughts … Continue reading

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