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The Book Club: Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan (Chapter 3): Capture the Flag – Spectacle and Rhetoric in the Japanese Martial Arts.

“I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the “natives,” and … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: May 26th 2015: Assassins, Book Launches and Stories from Around the Globe

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 affect 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

The Book Club: Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan: Introduction – Chapter 2

  Denis Gainty. 2013. Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. New York: Routledge.   Introduction In this post I have the distinct pleasure of discussing Prof. Gainty’s work on the relationship between the martial arts, embodied identity, agency and nationalism in Japan during the Meiji period. This is an exciting project for … Continue reading

Available for Pre-order: The Creation of Wing Chun – A Social History of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

  Last week I noticed that Kung Fu Tea had attracted over half a million views since its launch in 2012.  That seemed like a significant milestone and I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, but I wasn’t sure what.  Luckily the State University of New York Press mailed out their fall catalog … Continue reading

From the Archives: Understanding Opium Use among Southern Chinese Martial Artists, 1890-1949

  ***I am in the middle of a reading project to prepare for some up-coming posts here at Kung Fu Tea.  As such I have decided turn to the archives for this Friday’s post.  This essay was initially written to provide some context for discussions of opium use among southern Chinese martial artists, including possibly … Continue reading

Writing (and Reading) Better Martial Arts History in Four Easy Steps

Introduction   Consider the following. Could the internet as we know it exist without lists? Articles reporting the “Top 10 Mistakes of 2015,” or “5 Facts Every Mother Should Know” seem to dominate the medium. Compiling these strange collections of disembodied facts is a modern fixation rivaled only by the need to caption pictures of … Continue reading

Five Moments that Transformed Kung Fu

    Introduction   I was recently having a conversation with T. W. Smith who runs the Kung Fu Podcast. He was developing an idea for a show and asked me what five specific moments did the most to transform Kung Fu. It’s a fascinating question, and a difficult one. Short lists are always a … Continue reading

Research Notes on Southern China: Bound Feet, Popular Publishing and a Culture of Consumption

Introduction I have been working on a couple of projects that have taken me away from the blog over the last couple of weeks. One of the more challenging of these has been a review David Faure’s very detailed writings on the evolution of key institutions that define what we tend to think of as … Continue reading

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