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The New Economics of Taiji Quan: Culture, Identity and the Rise of China’s Upper Middle Class

***Sascha and I were recently talking about the different currents that can be seen in the consumer market for martial arts instruction in China today.  As a longtime observer of these trends he was gracious enough to write a guest post helping to explain the recent reemergence of Taiji Quan as a high status consumer … Continue reading

Sugong: Exploring a Shaolin Kung Fu Tradition

  ***As I mentioned last week I have received some good news regarding my manuscript on the social history of Wing Chun and the Southern Chinese martial arts.  Unfortunately that means that I need to free up some additional time in the short run to dedicate to that project.  So each week I am going … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (23): The Dadao and the Katana – Symbolic Echoes Within the Modern Martial Arts

Introduction No topic within the study of the modern martial arts is more burdened with nationalist myths and legends than military fencing. By the middle of the 20th century blades were supposed to have become obsolete on the battlefield. Yet the Second World War (WWII) saw a resurgence of interest in the sword and knife. … Continue reading

Cheung Lai Chuen, Creator of Pak Mei (White Eyebrow)

But First An Announcement I have received some very exciting news regarding my manuscript on the social history of Wing Chun and the southern Chinese martial arts.  Hopefully I will be making a more specific announcement about that in the next several weeks.  Unfortunately in the interim I need to be dedicating some serious time … Continue reading

The Printing Press and the Sword: How Republic Era Periodicals Shaped the Chinese Martial Arts.

  William Acevedo with translations by Mei Cheung. 2014. “Republic Period Guoshu Periodicals.” Classic Fighting Arts. Vol 2. No. 26 Issue 49. pp. 56-68. Introduction: The Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and the Printed Word Despite frequent assertions to the contrary, it is not true that the Chinese martial arts lack a written history. I suspect … Continue reading

The 19th Century Hudiedao (Butterfly Sword) on Land and Sea

  Introduction Understanding the actual history and use of hudiedao (or Butterfly Swords) reflects the challenges faced by students of martial studies more generally. These short paired swords, with their distinctive D-shaped hand guards, are one of the most commonly seen weapons in the southern Chinese martial arts. Wing Chun, Choy Li Fut, Hung Gar, … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: April 7th, 2014: Divine Swords, Hidden Dragons and Monastic Violence Gets Real.

  Introduction Welcome to our latest 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 systems … Continue reading

Zhang Sanfeng: Political Ideology, Myth Making and the Great Taijiquan Debate

  “For sheer contentiousness, the Zhang Sanfeng case can only be compared to the issue of racism, abortion and homosexuality in American culture. At the dawn of the 21st century, the pendulum has once again swung towards the myth-makers. Western practitioners of taijiquan, with their monotheistic, atheistic, or “only-begotten son” backgrounds are apt to view … Continue reading

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