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Essential Kung Fu Cinema (5): Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

***This is the fifth entry in Rob Argent’s series introducing us to the Kung Fu films that have helped to define the genera.  Readers looking to get up to speed on his in his earlier essays can find them by clicking on the following links: first, second, third  and fourth.  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was … Continue reading

Five Thoughts on Lineage, Legitimacy and Manipulation in the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts

Introduction Anyone who has done much reading on the history of the traditional Chinese martial arts will be very familiar with the idea of “lineage politics.”  Even the average practitioner, on either side of the Pacific, usually has more than a passing acquaintance with this unpleasant phenomenon.   Disputes typically arise within styles as different students … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (20): Ip Man Confronts the “Indian” Police Officer

Introduction Vintage postcards are fascinating because they capture a dual image.  On the surface they present a simple picture of a notable location, individual or native custom.  Some of these images are historically important and you can occasionally glean a lot of information from them. Yet the real value of postcards goes well beyond that.  … Continue reading

Acquiring “Dark Powers” in the Southern Mantis Tradition: D. S. Farrer Examines the role of animals in the Chinese martial arts.

Introduction: Becoming Invulnerable in Southern Mantis Kung Fu The traditional Chinese martial arts are rich in animal symbolism.  Tigers, dragons, cranes, snakes and monkeys are common fixtures in the legends and folklore of these systems.  Some styles are imitative in nature, while others invoke animal powers in more abstract and psychological ways.  Nor is this … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: January 13th, 2014: Run Run Shaw, the Life of Ip Man and Breaking the “500 Likes” Barrier.

Introduction Welcome to 2014’s first edition of “Chinese Martial Arts in the News.”  This is a semi-regular feature in which we reviewing media stories that mention or impact the the traditional fighting arts.  In addition to discussing important events this column also considers how the Asian hand combat systems are portrayed in the mainstream media. … Continue reading

“Anti-Foreignism” and the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

  Introduction: Anti-Foreignism in Republican Guangdong Students of the traditional Chinese martial arts are frequently reminded that until very recently these systems were “closed” to outsiders.  Then, in the wake of Bruce Lee, Kung Fu masters around the world decided to magnanimously open their schools to foreigners.  Needless to say this was very different from … Continue reading

Essential Kung Fu Cinema (4): Drunken Master

***This is the fourth entry in Rob Argent’s series introducing us to the essential Kung Fu films that have helped to define the genera.  Readers looking to get up to speed on his in his earlier essays can find them by clicking on the following links: first, second and third.  Drunken Master has always been … Continue reading

Kung Fu Tea Selects the Top Chinese Martial Arts Webpage of 2013

Introduction Welcome to our second annual discussion of the top webpages in Chinese martial studies.  The purpose of this series is to acknowledge some of the individuals who have made great contributions to our understanding of the traditional martial arts in the last year.  We also hope that visitors who are not familiar with these … Continue reading

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