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Through a Lens Darkly (24): Captured Chinese Swords and Traditional Weapons

  Introduction Conflict seems to inspire trophy hunting. In the west this often takes the form of fading photographs of someone’s grandfather holding a vintage Luger. A large number of katanas also made their way back to the United States in the hands of returning servicemen. These became the seeds that gave rise to an … Continue reading

From Battle Magic to Self-Actualization: Understanding the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts

    Introduction Most historical debates (both popular and academic) about the Chinese martial arts pit two opposing visions against one another. Sociologically informed theories tend to see the Chinese martial arts as a manifestation of fundamentally secular historical, economic and military causes. The martial arts were a means by which individuals (usually soldiers, guards, … Continue reading

Global Capitalism, the Traditional Martial Arts and China’s New Regionalism

      Introduction: Hong Kong, Regionalism and the Martial Arts   It is hard to think of any state with such robust and diverse group of regional identities as China’s. Much of my research is focused on the development of the martial arts as part of Southern China’s popular culture and its response to … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: June 20th, 2014: The Traditional Martial Arts (and Wing Chun) as Items of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    Introduction Welcome to “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 are portrayed in … Continue reading

“Fighting Styles” or “Martial Brands”? An economic approach to understanding “lost lineages” in the Chinese Martial Arts.

  ***Today’s post continues our discussion of economic markets and modernity in the Chinese martial arts.  This essay, first posted in May of 2013, was one of my first attempts at hashing out these questions as they related to advertising strategies in Republican era martial arts schools.  Enjoy!****   Introduction Much of our modern writing … Continue reading

Will Universities Save the Traditional Asian Martial Arts?

    Douglas Wile. “Asian Martial Arts in the Asian Studies Curriculum.” JOMEC Journal 5 (2014): 60 pages.   Can universities preserve the traditional Asian martial arts? At the outset one must start by admitting that this is an audacious question. It challenges so much of what we think we know about the nature of … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (7): Selling Swords and Printed Martial Arts Training Manuals in a 19th century Guangzhou Market.

  ***Recently I was having a discussion about the state of Kung Fu in China with a friend.  (You can see his detailed post on the topic here).  He was lamenting the general decline of interest in the arts and their simultaneous “commercialization.”  After thinking about his comments for a few hours it struck me … Continue reading

Zheng Manqing and the “Sick Man of Asia”: Strengthening Chinese Bodies and the Nation through the Martial Arts

    Introduction: Zheng Manqing Accepts a Challenge While doing some preliminary historical research on Zheng Manqing, the well-known painter, physician and Taijiquan master, I came across a fascinating account of a challenge match that he was involved with during World War Two. This story, as published by Douglas Wile in his volume Zheng Manqing’s … Continue reading

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