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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Martial Studies

On Reading Old Books

The idea of reading old books tends to conjure romantic images of dusty tomes and arcane libraries. As martial artists we imagine ourselves clustered around forgotten Ming dynasty manuals, decoding the secrets of the ancient. Sadly, those are not the... Continue Reading →

Why Religion Needs to Play a Greater Role in Chinese Martial Studies than it does in the Chinese Martial Arts.

  ***Greetings! Here is one of my earlier attempts to talk about the topic of theory within martial arts studies (from back in 2012, when there was a lot less of it).  It is one area where my thinking has... Continue Reading →

From the Archives: A Really Short Reading List on Chinese Martial Studies

Introduction Ok, here is a fun post that I originally wrote in 2012 that really needs to be updated.  So many new articles and books have come out in the last eight years (including ones written by myself) that I... Continue Reading →

Research Note: A Challenge Match in Hong Kong, 1890

  Today’s post comes courtesy of Joseph Svinth who shared an intriguing, if brief, find with me a few weeks ago. Kung Fu legends revel in accounts of high stakes challenge matches. In a typical story a young martial arts... Continue Reading →

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (24): Wen Shengcai, Wing Chun’s Assassin

  On Legends and their Grains Not all legends contain a grain a truth. Such an assertion is wishful thinking and sells short the remarkable faculty that is the human imagination. Still, grains manifest frequently enough that they keep historians... Continue Reading →

Epistemic Viciousness: Taking Martial Arts Seriously

  Martial Arts Studies blogging is a hard habit to break. No sooner had I resolved to step away from more academic questions and spend a few months writing about Wing Chun practice and history than I came across an... Continue Reading →

Research Note: General Ma Liang’s ‘New Wushu’ Comes to America (1924)

Introduction I am always on the look out for vintage newspaper accounts of Chinese martial arts for my database. While it takes some digging, it is not that difficult to get a sense of what is happening in the English... Continue Reading →

Top Five Changes in Martial Arts: 2020 Edition

  Introduction I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a “Top Five” list…of other “Top Five” lists. It was a wonderfully meta idea and it made me realize how long it had been since we had... 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 →

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