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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Weapons

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies

“The lightsaber has become an important touchstone, both within the films and within our culture…They serve as a source of identification and identity.  They are the ultimate commodity: a nonexistent object whose replicas sell for hundreds of dollars.  This is... Continue Reading →

Chinese Weapons and the Western Gaze

A Collection of Chinese Arms, Published in 1905, posted by Peter Dekker. Spring Cleaning I sat down this morning to work on a project looking at sword aficionados in China, their customers in the West, and how the relationship between... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (67): Winter Training in Japanese Martial Arts

Group 1. Yonezawa Industrial School's Midwinter Training General Meeting. Winter Training In the "before times" some readers will remember that I ran a lightsaber combat club in Ithaca. To say that it was a lot of fun would be an... Continue Reading →

A Life in Stone: Images of Weapons During the Han Dynasty

Silent Riddles Our discussion of the origins of modern martial arts is always haunted by twin specters. The first is the claim of great, almost unimageable, antiquity.  The second is arguments from silence.  We have explored at length all of the cultural,... Continue Reading →

The Woyao Dao and Regionalism in History and Martial Studies

LK Chen's Woyao Dao. Source: LKChensword.com Introduction A package containing two of LK Chen’s fine historical reproductions recently arrived at my door. So, of course, I find myself thinking about the importance of “regionalism” within martial arts studies.  The connection between... Continue Reading →

Song Ring Pommel Straight Dao and the Birth of Modern Chinese Martial Culture

Song Dynasty Soldier with Dao Shi Jin and Chinese Martial Arts It is axiomatic among martial arts studies scholars to assert that the fighting systems that people practice today are not the ancient creations that so many modern students, in... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (8): Butterfly Swords, Dadaos and the Local Militias of Guangdong, 1840 vs. 1940.

Introduction:  The Butterfly Swords and Southern Martial Arts Defend the Nation I recently ran across two photographs that I think students of the southern Chinese martial arts may find very enlightening.  They speak to interesting tactical and cultural questions.  On... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (9): Swords, Knives and other Traditional Weapons Encountered by the Shanghai Police Department, 1925.

  Introduction: Practical Martial Arts in the Age of the Gun As I have mentioned elsewhere, when thinking about the traditional Chinese martial arts we have a tendency to assume that these systems were created in an era without firearms. ... Continue Reading →

Tools of the Trade: The Use of Firearms and Traditional Weapons among the Tongs of San Francisco, 1877-1878.

  Introduction: The Evolving Relationship between Firearms and the Martial Arts. In a number of previous posts we have examined the complex, often hidden, relationship between the development of the modern Chinese martial arts and firearms.  It is frequently stated... Continue Reading →

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