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Chinese Martial Arts in the News: Feb. 27th 2017: Shaolin, Feiyue Sneakers and Bruce Lee Gets Political

  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

Shaolin Kung Fu and the Paradox of Intangible Cultural Heritage

      Su Xiaoyan. 2016. “Reconstruction of Tradition: Modernity, Tourism and Shaolin Martial Arts in the Shaolin Scenic Area, China.” The International Journal of the History of Sport. Vol. 33 No. 9, 934-950.     Introduction   Both state and local governments across Asia are rushing to designate various practices as examples of “Intangible … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (43): Chinese Amazons and the “Weapons of the Forefathers”

Wonder Woman with a Dadao     In China the realm of social violence, and the martial arts in particular, has been male dominated.  That does not mean that women never became a part of such activities.  After all, they played an increasingly high profile role in the martial realm from the early 1920s onward.  … Continue reading

Recovering Alfred Lister: The Noble Art of Self-Defense in China (Part II)

Introduction This is the second half of our two part series on the life and writings of Alfred Lister.  A civil servant in Hong Kong during the second half of the 19th century, Lister provided his readers with some of the most detailed English language discussions of the Chinese martial arts to emerge during the … Continue reading

An Updated and Revised Social History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Swords)

  In January of 2013 I posted an essay titled “A Social and Visual History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Sword) in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts.” As a student of Wing Chun I have always been fascinated by these weapons, and as a researcher in the field of martial arts studies I have been equally curious … Continue reading

Recovering Alfred Lister: A Forgotten Observer of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts (Part I)

    ***While never discussed within the Chinese martial studies literature, Alfred Lister may have been the single most important western observer of the Chinese martial arts in the second half of the 19th century.  Over a period of four years he produced four different statements (two relatively brief, and two much more detailed) that … Continue reading

Pilgrimage, Legitimacy and the Shape of the Global Martial Arts Community

    Introduction   I recently stumbled across a 1930s English language newspaper, printed by some office within the Japanese government, designed to promote American tourism.  Leafing through its pages I discovered a glowing article about recent events at the Kodokan, the home of the Judo. The Western reading public had been well aware of … Continue reading

Defining Wing Chun by What is “Missing”

      An all too Common Conversation     Last week my Sifu and I were discussing the public conversation that surrounds Wing Chun.   “So this guy was trying to tell me that we have no head movement in Wing Chun.  Not just bobbing and weaving” he clarified “but that we can literally … Continue reading

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