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…

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…

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…

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…