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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Images of Chinese Martial Arts

Swords, Visuality and the Construction of China

  Deciphering an Icon Recently I came across a few of Harrison Forman’s wartime photos, probably taken in the early 1930s, but circulated to newspapers and (re)published in 1938.  While his photos of militia groups following the 8th Route Army (discussed... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (56): New York City’s Kung Fu and the Roaring 1920s

    Introduction While I have a few connections in New York City’s TCMA community, it has always been my experience that one turns up different sorts of insights by getting out and exploring the terrain on one’s own.  It... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (55): Taijiquan and the Soft Power Paradox

    As previously noted, I have been taking a couple weeks off from the blog to focus on another writing project that needs my attention. Nevertheless, I ran across an image that I wanted to share. As I did a... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (54): Preserving a Fading China

  Introduction You may not know her name, but if you have any interest in modern Chinese history, it is almost certain that you have seen her photographs. Hedda Morrison (1908-1991), while not acknowledged as a leading artistic photographer during... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (53): Traditional Weapons in China’s 20th Century Militia Movements

  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If true this will be a weighty essay.  Yet that was always the thing about Harrison Forman, the renowned photo-journalist, writer and explorer.  As a correspondent he was a double... Continue Reading →

Influence at Home and Abroad: Martial Arts at China’s Central Army Officer Candidate School

The Center and the Periphery   What is this “a case of?”  That is the basic empirical question that underlays countless discussions in the social sciences.  It is difficult to know what something means, what puzzles or challenges its presence... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (52): Taijiquan in Communist China and the United States in 1972

  The First of Five Photos by Horst Faas to accompany story on the practice of Tai Chi Chuan. An older Chinese man practices the calisthenics called Tai Chi Chuan, sometimes called shadowboxing by Westerners, in the city of Shanghai... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (51): Early Kendo in California

  Of Boy Scouts and Kendo A recent post focused on the role of the global scouting movement in promoting the spread of the Asian martial arts during the first half of the 20th century. In that essay I mentioned... Continue Reading →

Pushing and Pulling: Scouts and the Spread of the Asian Martial Arts

  Structure and Agency Contrary to popular opinion, nature does not love parsimony. This frequently repeated opinion is more an aesthetic judgement on the part of some scholars rather than an empirical observation about the actual functioning of the natural... Continue Reading →

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