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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

Earliest Published Photograph and References to Wing Chun

  The Problem with Being “First” I am distrustful of attempts to locate the “first” instance of anything popular or famous. Generally speaking, these quests misunderstand the way that the social world works. We all stand on the shoulders of... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (66): The Dramatic Aspect of Chinese Martial Arts

  Introduction We must thank Joseph Svinth for this post. He came across the following photo essay during his research and was kind enough to share it with me. It was clear that this needed to be included in the... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (65): Filipino Knives, Imperialism and the Asian Martial Arts

Vintage Postcard. Source: Author's Collection It sometimes seems as though I am only Wing Chun aficionado who doesn’t have a sideline in the Filipino martial arts. On a cultural level we can thank Bruce Lee and his high-profile relationship with... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (47): The Sword Shops of Beijing’s Bow and Arrow Street

***I am currently preparing for a demonstration and tournament which I will be hosting on Friday.  As such, we are turning to the archives for today's post.  This essay offers readers a unique look at the nexus between the martial... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (62): Chan Bing’s Choy Li Fut Students, 1967

  Unfolding a Story When the opportunity presents itself I try to collect vintage photographs, postcards, illustrations and other ephemera touching on the martial arts.  As someone who writes and publishes on these subjects, it is very helpful to have... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (61): The Shifting Social and Economic Value of Traditional Chinese Weapons

    One of the most notable trends over the last decade has been the rapid appreciation of prices for antique Chinese weapons.  There is more variability in markets for antique objects than one might think.  Simply being rare was... Continue Reading →

Research Notes: A Japanese Martial Arts Demonstration

  It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I am a fan of late 19th and early 20th century martial arts ephemera.  Postcards, being visual, cheap and easily mailed around the globe, were one vector by which... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (14): Archery Practice in Late Imperial China

  ***Kung Fu Tea is having a birthday!  The blog has now been up and running for seven years. Its hard to believe how much it, and the Martial Arts Studies community, has grown in that time.  As such I... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (60): The Weapons Rack

  A Recent Find Chinese martial arts themed (or simply adjacent) postcards from the pre-WWII era are not very common.  These things certainly existed and circulated, but they are now difficult for most researchers to find. That is one of... Continue Reading →

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