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“I am a Jedi (knight), like my father before me.” Authenticity and Legitimacy in the Martial Arts

    A Dance Studio in a Galaxy Far, Far Away   “You, put your phone down!” I looked around, unsure about the sudden exclamation from the instructor who had just been summing up the essential concepts of the drills that the class had run for the last half hour.  This was my first evening … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: March 27th 2017: Taijiquan, Ip Man 4 and Things that You Just Can’t Make Up

    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

The Boxer Rebellion and Stories We Tell about Chinese Martial Arts

      Confronting the Boxers   It is probably an irony that I have written so little on the Boxer Uprising during my casual and academic discussion of the martial arts.  It was a chance encounter with the Boxers some years ago as I was exploring the connection between religiously generated social capital and … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (44): Martial Arts in Pre-War Japanese Schools

    Introduction   Today’s post is the result of a happy coincidence.  As regular readers will be aware, I occasionally collect and share vintage images of the Chinese martial arts.  Many of these come from the sorts of ephemera (postcards, advertisements, old newspaper clippings, newsreels) that contain interesting data on the social place of … Continue reading

Doing Research (10): Trying to Think Inside the Box with Paul Bowman

    Introduction   Welcome to the tenth 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

Remembering Yim Wing Chun, the Boxer Rebellion and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

      What at first appears new is often something remembered.  The human mind has trouble categorizing and finding meaning in anything that is truly unique or alien.  Good storytellers know that originality is not always a virtue.  The construction of meaning is rooted primarily in what we feel to be familiar.   The … Continue reading

Why is Ip Man a Role Model?

Donny Yen reprises his role as Ip Man. Is this “Ip Man” your role model?     ***Greetings!  I am currently on the road for research.  As such, we will be delving into the archives for today’s post.  This essay (first published in 2014) takes a closer look at Ip Man’s transformative social memory in … Continue reading

Roland Barthes and the DNA of Martial Arts Studies

    Paul Bowman. 2017. Mythologies of Martial Arts. London and New York: Rowman & Littlefield. 184 pages.   Professor Paul Bowman’s latest book sets a new standard for exploring the cultural, sociological and ideological criticism of the martial arts within modern society.   It also suggests two questions that any reader will be forced to … Continue reading

Villains, Guns and Humor: Giving Texture to the Early 19th Century Chinese Martial Arts

      Any traveler can attest that detours come in two forms.  They all take a little longer, and most offer nothing but delay.  Others can lead to fascinating discoveries.  These often come in the form of local sandwich shops frequented by hipsters or a scenic overlook. This same principle applies regardless of whether … Continue reading

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