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Kung Fu Tea Turns Three! A Quick Look Back

    Happy Birthday! Earlier this week (on July 27th) I got a prompt from WordPress reminding me that it was a special day.  Kung Fu Tea first said “Hello World” three years ago to the day.  This anniversary is something of a milestone for me.  When I first started this project I was not … Continue reading

Dream Factories: The Silver Screen and the Popularity of Close Range Fighting Styles

  “[…] In contemporary martial arts discourse, the most important distinction to be negotiated is not between the screen and street, but rather between the dojo and the street. Increasingly, in martial arts discourse, it is not the screen that is held to be unreal or suspect or accused of being fantasy. It is the … Continue reading

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

***For today’s post we are headed back to the archives.  I am becoming more interested in the ways that the traditional martial arts have been promoted by the Chinese government as a means of generating “soft power” within the realm of public diplomacy and “national branding.”  Even more interesting is the leading (and sometimes competing) … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (31): Red Spears, Big Swords and Civil Resistance in Northern China

    Through a Lens Darkly   In this occasional series I turn to photographs, postcards, slides or other forms of ephemera both as a source of information about the Chinese martial arts and as a witness to the many functions that they have served in popular culture over the decades. These sources, rarely preserved … Continue reading

Lineage and Social Analysis in Martial Arts Studies

    Introduction Consider the following, seemingly unrelated, incidents: While conducting field work in Sioux City Iowa in 1862 the lawyer and self-trained ethnographer Lewis Henry Morgan received a telegraph informing him that his two daughters, ages two and six, had just died of scarlet fever. Left emotionally broken and despondent the early anthropologist abandoned … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: July 13, 2015: The Passing of Yu Chenghui and the Birth of a Chinese Jedi?

      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 … Continue reading

Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts: Meir Shahar on the Origins of the “Iron-Cloth Shirt” and “Golden-Bell Armor”

    Meir Shahar. “Diamond Body: The Origins of Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts” in Perfect Bodies: Sports Medicine and Immortality, Edited by Vivienne Lo. London: British Museum, 2012. Introduction: The Significance of Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts I can think of few topics that the Chinese martial artists I regularly associate with … Continue reading

Martial Arts Studies is Now an Imprint of Cardiff University Press

The Red Boats and the Nautical Origins of the Wooden Dummy

      Warning: Speculation Ahead   No topic surrounding Wing Chun elicits more interest than its deep historical origins.  Did the art really originate at the southern Shaolin Temple?  Was it connected to late Qing revolutionary groups?  Did Leung Jan actually learn the system from a pair of retired Cantonese opera performers?  And if so, what was this … Continue reading

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