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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. … Continue reading

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, … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: March 17th, 2014: The St. Patrick’s Day Edition!

Introduction Welcome to the St. Patrick’s day edition of “Chinese Martial Arts in the News.”  This is a semi-regular feature here at Kung Fu Tea in which we review 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 … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (12): Tang Hao – The First Historian of the Chinese Martial Arts

Introduction: The Problem of History in the Life of a Historian Tang Hao is not a household name, even among avid practitioners of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  While little known outside of certain specialized circles, few people have had a more profound impact on the way that we write and think about these hand … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (22): Heavy Knives and Stone Locks – Strength Training in the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts

  “I don’t oppose playing ball in the least, but I do oppose this feverish consumption of foreigners’ goods.  This is exercise, but it is the exercise of the gents and ladies of the leisured classes.  If you want to exercise your body, is a blade not enough? Is a sword routine not enough? Are … Continue reading

Qigong and the Martial Arts: Revealing the Role of Globalization in the Creation of “Tradition.”

  ***I am currently in the middle of a more detailed research project, so for this Friday’s post we will be looking back into the archives.  The following essay was originally posted here at Kung Fu Tea in October of 2012.  Given the tremendous growth of this blog over the last year I suspect that … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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