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Martial Arts and Religion

This category contains 45 posts

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 … Continue reading

Spirituality in the Traditional Martial Arts – Between History and Theory

  “There is a problem with the study of martial arts similar to that identified by Markus Davidson in the case of “spiritual studies”: many of the scholars involved in the topic are themselves practitioners and their work betrays a normative apologetic agenda…As practitioners themselves these scholars have tended to underplay certain historical factors in … Continue reading

From the Archives: Ming Tales of Female Warriors – Searching for the Origins of Yim Wing Chun and Ng Moy.

  ***We are currently in the final push to prepare and release the second issue of the interdisciplinary journal Martial Arts Studies.  This will be a themed issue examining different aspects of the “invention of the martial arts” in a wide variety of settings and time periods.   Paul Bowman and I are very excited about … Continue reading

Bodhidharma: Historical Fiction, Hyper-Real Religion and Shaolin Kung Fu

    ***For the Friday post we will be revisiting a classic (and very popular) article from the archives.  I originally posted this essay almost two years ago and recently I have found myself thinking about it again.  It will also be good to review as it introduces some concepts that are key to a … Continue reading

Martial Values, Social Transformation and the Tu Village Dragon Dance

  Introduction The Spring Festival (or “Chinese New Year”) is now upon us. The most important holiday of the Chinese social calendar, this time of year is also significant for students of martial arts studies. It is a busy time for Lion, Qilin and Dragon Dance associations, as well as the martial arts schools and … Continue reading

Prof. Andrea Molle Discusses the State of American Martial Arts Studies and the New BUDO-lab Research Center

Introduction I am happy to announce that a special guest has agreed to drop by Kung Fu Tea for a visit.  Andrea Molle is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and a Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Society at Chapman University.  He is also the director of Budo-lab, … Continue reading

Research Notes: Spirit Possession in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

    Introduction Spirit possession is a fascinating but rarely discussed aspect of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  Reformers in the field of physical culture spent much of the 20th century attempting to erase the national embarrassment of the Boxer Uprising in which young martial artists who practiced a type of “spirit boxing” were seen … Continue reading

Conference Report: Religion, Violence, and Existence of the Southern Shaolin Temple

Religion, Violence and the Asian Martial Arts Tel Aviv University – Department of East Asian Studies Conference, November 23, 2015.   Introduction Today’s post will introduce readers to some of the recent developments in the global field of Martial Arts Studies. This comes in the form of a conference report, submitted by Abi Moriya, on … Continue reading

Internal Elixir Cultivation: Robert Coons on the Nature of Daoist Meditation

Robert James Coons. 2015. Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Meditation.  Tambuli Media. 140 pp. $22.95   Introduction   Recently Dr. Mark Wiley, who runs Tambuli Media, sent me a copy of a book that he thought I would find interesting. Just for the record I am currently trying to convince Dr. Wiley to … Continue reading

Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts: Meir Shahar on the Origins of the “Iron-Cloth Shirt” and “Golden-Bell Armor”

    Meir Shahar. “Diamond Body: The Origins of Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts” in Perfect Bodies: Sports Medicine and Immortality, Edited by Vivienne Lo. London: British Museum, 2012. Introduction: The Significance of Invulnerability in the Chinese Martial Arts I can think of few topics that the Chinese martial artists I regularly associate with … Continue reading

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