The Book Club: Chinese Kung Fu by Wang Guangxi

Wang Guangxi. 2012. Chinese Kung Fu. Cambridge University Press. 115 pages. Introduction The prestigious Cambridge University Press published not one but two books on the topic of the Chinese martial arts in 2012. Most students of martial studies will already be familiar with Peter Lorge’s volume Chinese Martial Arts: From antiquity to the Twenty-First Century….

Bodhidharma: Historical Fiction, Hyper-Real Religion and Shaolin Kung Fu

  Introduction I was recently exchanging emails with a martial arts instructor and reader who suggested that I address the historical facts behind the “Bodhidharma myth.” This is a critical topic for anyone interested in either the historical or cultural aspects of Chinese martial studies. Bodhidharma is a shadowy figure. A Buddhist missionary to China,…

Three Thoughts on my New Wooden Dummy

Meeting a New Friend Recently I have been spending a lot of time (and practice hours) thinking about the Mook Yan Jong.  This type of wooden dummy is commonly used in Wing Chun schools around the world.  I had not been planning on buying a dummy.  I don’t really have the space for one at…

Conceptualizing the Asian Martial Arts: Ancient Origins, Social Institutions and Leung Jan’s Wing Chun.

                                                                                    Introduction No assertion is more fervently advanced on behalf of the traditional Asian martial arts than assurances of their great antiquity.  The relative ages of these systems seems to have become a matter of increased discussion and competition in the early 20th century.  Since that time their various creation myths have given way to…

The Political Economy of Southern Kung Fu: Thoughts on the Rise of Regional Identity within the Chinese Martial Arts.

Introduction Classification remains one of our central problems in the study and analysis of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  When thinking about the origin and relationship of these fighting systems most efforts begin with an attempt to create groups of “similar” styles.  Sometimes these efforts are successful, but other times the exercise raises more questions…