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Roland Barthes and the DNA of Martial Arts Studies

    Paul Bowman. 2017. Mythologies of Martial Arts. London and New York: Rowman & Littlefield. 184 pages.   Professor Paul Bowman’s latest book sets a new standard for exploring the cultural, sociological and ideological criticism of the martial arts within modern society.   It also suggests two questions that any reader will be forced to … Continue reading

Kung Fu Tea Selects the “Best” Book of 2016 – And Suggests a Reading List for 2017

      Looking Forward by Looking Back   Admittedly 2016 has been a rough year for many people.  Yet it has been a great year for those interested in serious, thoughtful and even scholarly writing on the martial arts.  It seems clear that publishers have been gearing up to meet the sustained growth in … Continue reading

Reality Fighting and the End of Civilization

      The Debate   Neil Gong’s article, “How to Fight Without Rules: On Civilized Violence in “De-Civilized” Spaces,” (Social Problems, 2015, 0, pp. 1-18) is the sort of work that is sure to find its way onto a variety of syllabi and reading lists in coming years.  This paper is the result of … Continue reading

Culture, Experience and Understanding – Or, Who Can Master “Authentic” Aikido?

      Can a westerner truly master Akido (or Taijiquan, Wing Chun, etc…..)?   I once again find myself noting that I should not be writing this post. The topic is fascinating, but I will be flying to Cologne, Germany, for the 5th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Sport Science’s Martial Arts … Continue reading

“Now With Kung Fu Grip”: Jared Miracle and the Reinvention of the Martial Arts in America

    Jared Miracle. 2016. Now with Kung Fu Grip! How Bodybuilders, Soldiers and a Hairdresser Reinvented Martial Arts for America. Jefferson, North Carolina:McFarland & Company. 185 pages. $29.95     Introduction   Now with Kung Fu Grip is the scholarly yet accessible one volume history of the Asian fighting arts in America that current … Continue reading

Martial Arts Studies 2016 Conference Report – Performance, Motivations and Historical Excavation

      Introduction   Earlier this week I returned from a brief trip to Canada and the United Kingdom.  During this time I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote address at the 2nd annual Martial Arts Studies conference held at Cardiff University.  This event, organized and hosted by the indefatigable Prof. Paul Bowman, … Continue reading

Striking Distance: Charles Russo Recounts the Rise of the Chinese Martial Arts in America

  Charles Russo. 2016. Striking Distance: Bruce Lee & the Dawn of Martial Arts in America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 264 pages. $24.95 USD (Hardcover)   Anyone can tell you that it is easier to review a good book than a bad one.  This simple truth makes Charles Russo’s latest volume a pleasure to … Continue reading

The Professor and His Students: Taijiquan’s Complicated Journey to the West

    The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West.  First Run Films. 2016.  Directed by Barry Strugatz. 72 minutes.   Click here for the Webpage. Click here for Facebook. “The Professor” premieres in Los Angeles on May 6 and in New York City on June 9.   Review     Learning is a matter of desire.  … Continue reading

Approaching the “Armed Martial Arts of Japan”: Thoughts on Comparison, Theory and Progress in Martial Arts Studies

  Introduction   Opportunities come in many forms, even in the guise of a sore throat. Since I have been feeling a bit under the weather I decided to use the next few days to catch up on my reading. While it is annoying to be away from the gym, any student can attest that … Continue reading

The Exotic, Feminine and Dangerous: How the “Yellow Peril” Set the Stage for the Cultural Appropriation of the Asian Martial Arts, 1902-1918

  Introduction   The term “Yellow Peril” is something that I do not often see in the martial arts studies literature. Even in research projects tracking the global spread of the traditional fighting systems it is conspicuous by its absence. This has always seemed odd. When I started to more actively research this topic a … Continue reading

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