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A Year in the Chinese Martial Arts: The Top Events and Stories that Shaped 2013, Part II

Introduction New Years is a time to take a moment to reflect on where we have been.  After all, the first step in making a useful resolution is to engage in a little self-reflection.  While this is certainly true for individuals, the same basic principle holds for Chinese martial arts as well.  As we saw … Continue reading

A Year in the Chinese Martial Arts: The Events and Stories that Shaped 2013, Part I

Introduction The New Year is upon us.  As such, it is a good time to sit back and reflect on the year’s accomplishments and events.  2013 has been a big year for the field of Chinese martial studies.  We have made progress in some areas, but there is still room for growth in others.  Likewise … Continue reading

Season’s Greetings!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all of Kung Fu Tea’s readers.  Thanks so much for your support and feedback over the last year.  I think that my friend Bernard, the Kung Fu Elf, left one or two things under the tree for me.  Hopefully I will be able to keep … Continue reading

Are the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Dying? “Kung Fu Tea” talks with “The Last Masters.”

Thinking about the Future of Kung Fu There are a number of conversations that seem to reoccur with some frequency in the Chinese martial arts.  Recently people have been asking whether the traditional fighting styles can survive in the face of stiff competition from MMA, Wushu and the other “Olympic” martial arts. This is not … Continue reading

Essential Kung Fu Cinema (3): A Touch of Zen

***I am very happy to welcome Rob Argent back to Kung Fu Tea.  This is the third post in his ongoing series introducing some of the essential Kung Fu films which have helped to define the genera.  The first discussed a film that helped to launch Bruce Lee onto the global stage. The second examined … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (19): China’s other Swords during World War II.

Introduction It is clear that weapons training is enjoying a renaissance within the modern martial arts community.  Recently some of this attention has come to focus on the blades of the Second World War.  It is interesting to speculate on why these weapons were surging in popularity in the Asian theater at exactly the time … Continue reading

Understanding Opium Use among Southern Chinese Martial Artists, 1890-1949.

Introduction: Wu Song Beats the Tiger One of the fascinating, yet also frustrating, aspects of Chinese popular culture is the facility with which it generates rich new vocabularies to describe the everyday minutia of life.  In some areas, most famously among Republic era criminal groups, these quirks of language could become almost an independent dialect.  … Continue reading

The “Wing Chun Rules of Conduct”: Rediscovering Ip Man’s Original Statement on the Philosophy of the Martial Arts.

(**This article was originally posted under the title “The Wing Chun Jo Fen” in May of 2014.  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 … Continue reading

Reforming the Chinese Martial Arts in the 1920s-1930s: The Role of Rapid Urbanization.

Introduction At first individuals like Sun Lutang, Chan Wah Shun, Mok Kwai Lan, Li Pei Xian and Cheung Lai Chuen would not seem to have much in common aside from their love of the martial arts.  Collectively they hail both northern and southern China.  Some of them championed well known internal styles such a Taiji, … Continue reading

2013 Christmas Shopping List: Martial Arts Equipment and Long Reads to Get you Through the Winter Months.

Introduction  It is that time of year again.  A time for lights and laughter.  A time for memory and reflection.  But mostly it is a time of terror as you contemplate what you will get for that “very particular” martial artist on your gift list.  Or possibly you face the even more acute question of … Continue reading

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