Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and the “YMCA Consensus”

      ***I am very excited to introduce the following guest post by my friend Scott Phillips.  In this essay Scott draws on his extensive study of modern Chinese religious and social history in an attempt to develop a powerful new concept for describing and theorizing the massive reforms of the Chinese martial arts…

How did China’s Boxers become “The Boxers”?

    A Girl Who Lived with Monkeys   No text can be read in isolation.  Each is connected to other works through a network of invisible threads.  These are the product of suggestion, desire, memory and meaning.   The job of a historian is to tell us what happened. Often such stories are resolved…

A Sword’s Story

      What is it?     The first question seems straight forward.  This sword was purchased at auction a few years ago.  It is a short saber, often called a duandao by martial artists. Its blade is just under 18 inches (46 cm) long, and its tang (broken at the end where the…

Research Notes: Jingwu and the Female Martial Artists of 1920

    Introduction     I am interested in the frequent, seemingly unconscious, way in which the word “traditional” is appended to the name “martial arts” in modern speech and writing.  One does not simply study “Japanese wrestling” or “Chinese physical culture.”  From about the 1970s onward everyone became a student of the “traditional martial…