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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

Through a Lens Darkly (8): Butterfly Swords, Dadaos and the Local Militias of Guangdong, 1840 vs. 1940.

Introduction:  The Butterfly Swords and Southern Martial Arts Defend the Nation I recently ran across two photographs that I think students of the southern Chinese martial arts may find very enlightening.  They speak to interesting tactical and cultural questions.  On... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (11): Japanese Martial Artists in China.

Introduction: Addressing a Difficult Subject No topic is more difficult to approach than the varied roles that traditional Asian fighting systems have played in defining and strengthening nationalism during the 20th century.  Governments in Japan, China and later Korea all... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (9): Swords, Knives and other Traditional Weapons Encountered by the Shanghai Police Department, 1925.

  Introduction: Practical Martial Arts in the Age of the Gun As I have mentioned elsewhere, when thinking about the traditional Chinese martial arts we have a tendency to assume that these systems were created in an era without firearms. ... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (7): Selling Swords and Printed Martial Arts Training Manuals in a 19th century Guangzhou Market.

  ***Recently I was having a discussion about the state of Kung Fu in China with a friend.  (You can see his detailed post on the topic here).  He was lamenting the general decline of interest in the arts and... Continue Reading →

A Social and Visual History of the Dadao: The Chinese “Military Big-Saber”

***Is there any topic more beloved by modern students of Chinese martial arts history than the dadao?  I can't think of one.  Enjoy!***   Rediscovering the Dadao: A Forgotten Legacy of the Chinese Martial Arts. Any review of the history... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (6): China Rediscovers the Shaolin Temple, Igniting a Kung Fu Craze

Accepting the“traditional” Chinese martial arts as a product of the modern world. If I were to conduct a pole and ask the average student of the Chinese martial arts when the “Golden Age” of Kung Fu was, what sort of... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (3): Chinese Martial Artists in a Local Marketplace

  ***Many traditional Chinese martial artists today actively distance their practice from its more "theatrical" aspects which may have been displayed in theaters propers or marketplace demonstrations. Still, these were the activities that supported countless martial artists over the centuries.... Continue Reading →

Attack of the Wooden Dummies!

***This was one of the more popular posts I wrote during the first year of KFT (2012).  I still love talking about, and training with, wooden dummies. What better training companion can you have in the middle of cold weather... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (1): Images of China’s Martial Culture

***Greetings!  As I noted in my last post I am taking a (hopefully) short hiatus from multiple-essays-a-week blogging as I adjust to the demanding schedule of a new job.  But rather than let things get stale I decided to use... Continue Reading →

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