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…

Through a Lens Darkly (42): Chinese Martial Arts in the University, 1928

      Introduction   At the end of the last class at the “Central Martial Arts Academy” (the location where I am conducing my current research on lightsaber combat and the “hyper-real martial arts”) we all gathered for an impromptu class photo.  Digital technology makes this a quick and easy process, especially compared to…

Through a Lens Darkly (41): Three Views of a Young Boxer

      Meeting the Boxer   I recently had the good fortune to meet one of my favorite Chinese Boxers.  I had been stalking him for years. This early 20th century postcard was probably purchased in Beijing and then mailed to Tianjin on February 5th, 1909.  The card itself was published by J.H. Schaefer’s…

Through a Lens Darkly (39): The Strength of Chinese Boxers

  Introduction Some of the most popular posts at Kung Fu Tea have examined vintage images of traditional martial artists.  These are also among my favorites to research.  Yet it seems that I have neglected this subject with all of the other projects that have come up this summer.  Hopefully this post will go some…

Through a Lens Darkly (38): A Tale of Two Swordsmen

      Introduction   In a recent post discussing the portrayal of the Asian martial arts in early 20th century Western newsreels, I called for a “media archeology” of the early imagery surrounding these fighting systems.  The following post comments upon two examples taken from my collection of vintage postcards to better illustrate how…