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Chinese Martial Studies

This category contains 419 posts

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (19): Cheng Zongyou, Shaolin’s Martial Missionary

    Introduction   Few individuals have influenced our understanding of the martial arts during the late Ming dynasty more than Cheng Zongyou.  His manuals provide historians a glimpse into a world of martial arts practice that is at the same time familiar and strange.  His works describe an environment that is characterized by a … Continue reading

By Popular Demand: “Tradition” vs. “Modernity” in the Chinese Martial Arts

        An Old Story   It is a pattern that we know well.  After a debate about the utility of the traditional martial arts (and what that suggests about the state of the Chinese body politic), things got ugly.  The conversation descended into public taunts amplified by the media.  Students of Taijiquan, … Continue reading

An Introduction to Martial Arts and Public Diplomacy

    ***On May 11th and 12th I will be participating in a Political Science workshop at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah.  While there I will discuss my Kung Fu Diplomacy project.  The actual paper that I am submitting for review is one of my draft chapters from the manuscript.  But I am also … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: April 24, 2017: Southern Kung Fu, Taijiquan Heritage and Boxing for Survival

    Introduction   Welcome to “Chinese Martial Arts in the News!”  Its great to be back at my keyboard after spending the last week and half on other projects.  I managed to finish the draft of my chapter and am looking forward to posting some new material and guest posts over the next few weeks before … Continue reading

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (13): Zhao San-duo—19th Century Plum Flower Master and Reluctant Rebel

  The Yellow River Breaches its Course. Water Album by Ma Yuan. Source: Wikimedia.   ***I am happy to report that the book chapter that I have been working is going well and that I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.  Once I have time to get back to regular … Continue reading

The Wing Chun Jo Fen: Norms and the Creation of a Southern Chinese Martial Arts Community.

  ***I am happy to report that I am making good progress on my current writing project.  But it is still an ongoing task, and one that consumed much of my weekend.  As such our post for this Monday is another essay pulled for the archives.  This essay asks what Ip Man’s “rules of conduct” … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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