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“Now With Kung Fu Grip”: Jared Miracle and the Reinvention of the Martial Arts in America

    Jared Miracle. 2016. Now with Kung Fu Grip! How Bodybuilders, Soldiers and a Hairdresser Reinvented Martial Arts for America. Jefferson, North Carolina:McFarland & Company. 185 pages. $29.95     Introduction   Now with Kung Fu Grip is the scholarly yet accessible one volume history of the Asian fighting arts in America that current … Continue reading

Doing Research (8): Taking Seriously the Mundane, or How I Learned that a Choke is Never Just a Choke

  Introduction   Welcome to the eighth 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

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: August 22, 2016: Wing Chun, Nunchuks and Summer Reading Discounts

    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 … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (39): The Strength of Chinese Boxers

  Introduction Some of the most popular posts at Kung Fu Tea have examined vintage images of traditional martial artists.  These are also among my favorites to research.  Yet it seems that I have neglected this subject with all of the other projects that have come up this summer.  Hopefully this post will go some … Continue reading

Research Notes: Xiang Kairan on China’s Republic Era Martial Arts Marketplace

    Introduction   In a recent post we explored the life and career of Xiang Kairan (1890-1957), a seminal figure in the creation of the modern, media driven image, of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  Born to a wealthy family, and educated in both China and Japan, Xiang cemented his identity as a martial … Continue reading

Alex Gillis Talks about Tae Kwon Do, Controversy and Researching Martial Arts History

  Introduction     One of the first books that I reviewed on this blog was A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do by Alex Gillis.   To this day it remains one of my favorite discoveries and a revised and expanded edition has just been released.  With a background in investigative journalism … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (18): Xiang Kairan – Imagining the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts

  “When the Nanjing Martial Arts Institute was opened, I was in Hankou [in eastern Hubei], where I noticed in a newspaper that they were dividing their curriculum into two schools – Wudang and Shaolin – and appointing specialists for each of them. For “Wudang” to be isolated like this in the promotion of our … Continue reading

Lightsaber Combat and Wing Chun: The Search for Meaning in the Modern Martial Arts

  ***What follows is the text of my recent keynote address given at the 2016 Martial Arts Studies Conference.  I am currently in the process of revising and expanding this paper for inclusion in an edited volume.  As such I debated whether I should post this initial draft, or wait until the additional quotes, footnotes … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: August 1, 2016: Bruce Lee, Books and Bringing a Ming era Dandao to Life

    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 … Continue reading

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