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“What’s your style?” – Bringing the Training Hall to the Lecture Hall

      Introduction: “What’s your style?”   A couple of months ago a conversion emerged between a few of my colleagues which got me thinking about the effects of personal training on those who wish to write on martial arts studies. Simply broaching such a question tends to elicit a number of knee-jerk responses.  … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (16): Yu Chenghui – Realizing Swordsmanship in an Era of Restoration

    Introduction: The Shadow of History   None of the short, English language, biographies of the respected martial artist and actor Yu Chenghui (1939-2015) have much to say about his struggles or activities during the Cultural Revolution.  Yet even a brief glimpse at the timeline of his career suggests that these events had a … Continue reading

Doing Research (5): Lies I Have Told About Martial Artists

  Introduction   Welcome to the fifth entry in our series of guest posts titled “Doing Research.”  If you missed the first essay by D. S. Farrer (which provides a global overview of the subject), the second by Daniel Mroz (how to select a school or teacher for research purposes), the third by  Jared Miracle … Continue reading

Five Social Dimensions of Lightsaber Combat as a Martial Art (Episode II)

***This is the second half of our exploration of lightsaber combat as a martial art.  Reader who have not yet read Part I are strongly encouraged to do so before going on. In the last essay we considering some of the basic strategies that scholars have adopted in defining the “martial arts.”  Following that discussion … Continue reading

Is Lightsaber Combat a Martial Art? (Episode I)

***This is the first half of two part article.  However, readers may actually want to begin by reading my recent post  What are “martial arts,” and why does knowing matter?***   “It [Ludosport] started in 2006 in Italy. A few friends got some lightsabers as gifts and being into martial arts and re-enactment fanatics they decided … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: March 14th 2016: Ip Man, Wing Chun and Taijiquan

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

Bodhidharma: Historical Fiction, Hyper-Real Religion and Shaolin Kung Fu

    ***For the Friday post we will be revisiting a classic (and very popular) article from the archives.  I originally posted this essay almost two years ago and recently I have found myself thinking about it again.  It will also be good to review as it introduces some concepts that are key to a … Continue reading

What are “martial arts,” and why does knowing matter?

Introduction “Martial arts studies” is an eponymously named research area. This fact seems so obvious as to require no further exploration. But is it really so? Why does no one write about “professional combat sports studies,” “kung fu studies,” “Budo studies” or “unarmed self-defense studies”? Most researchers and readers make two important judgements on an … Continue reading

Doing Research (4): I’m Only in It for the Stories

    Introduction   Welcome to the fourth entry in our series of guest posts titled “Doing Research.”  If you missed the first essay by D. S. Farrer (which provides a global overview of the subject), the second by Daniel Mroz (how to select a school or teacher for research purposes), or the third by  … Continue reading

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