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Southern China

This category contains 113 posts

Research Notes: Foshan’s Kung Fu in 1919.

    First, the Important Stuff   Is it possible to approach history without theory?  I think not.  It is the existence of some sort of preexisting story or framework of understanding that we carry around in our heads which tells us that some given source is relevant data in the first place.  Nor are … Continue reading

Reflections on the Long Pole: History, Technique and Embodiment

      A New Pole   I had been meaning to get a new “long pole” (or Luk Dim Boon Kwan) for a while.  As the name implies, these are somewhat unwieldly training tools and (unless you own a truck) they do not travel well.  In my experience most poles simply “live” in the … Continue reading

A Tale of Two Challenge Fights – Or, Writing Better Martial Arts History

Introduction I recently had the good fortune to attend the 2016 Martial Arts Studies conference held at the German Sports University of Cologne, sponsored by the German Society of Sport Science’s Martial Arts Commission.  The theme of this year’s gathering was “Martial Arts and Society.”  Over the course of three days (October 6th-8th) I saw … Continue reading

The Bubishi: Innovation, Tradition and the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

    Introduction: A Secret Book   We have all seen the movie.  We have all had this dream.  A mysterious Kung Fu manual, purporting to relate the secrets of past masters, falls into your possession.  What will you find within its pages? It must contain the keys to excellence in combat.  That is the … Continue reading

Research Notes: Xiang Kairan on China’s Republic Era Martial Arts Marketplace

    Introduction   In a recent post we explored the life and career of Xiang Kairan (1890-1957), a seminal figure in the creation of the modern, media driven image, of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  Born to a wealthy family, and educated in both China and Japan, Xiang cemented his identity as a martial … Continue reading

The Creation of Wing Chun – Now in Paperback!

    I recently received a letter from SUNY Press letting me know that The Creation of Wing Chun: A Social History of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts, will soon be released in paperback.  This is wonderful news and due in no small part to the enthusiastic support we received from members of the Wing … Continue reading

Doing Research (5): Lies I Have Told About Martial Artists

  Introduction   Welcome to the fifth entry in our series of guest posts titled “Doing Research.”  If you missed the first essay by D. S. Farrer (which provides a global overview of the subject), the second by Daniel Mroz (how to select a school or teacher for research purposes), the third by  Jared Miracle … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: March 14th 2016: Ip Man, Wing Chun and Taijiquan

Introduction Welcome to “Chinese Martial Arts in the News.”  This is a semi-regular feature here at Kung Fu Tea in which we review media stories that mention or affect the traditional fighting arts.  In addition to discussing important events, this column also considers how the Asian hand combat systems are portrayed in the mainstream media. … 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

Research Notes: Foreign Attitudes towards Kung Fu in Colonial Hong Kong

  The TCMA as a Perpetual Revival Movement   Kung Fu has an odd relationship with the past. It seems that for the last century (at least) each generation has discovered the beauty of the Chinese martial arts only to realize that they are quickly “dying out,” and will likely succeed in doing so unless … Continue reading

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