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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Weapons

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 →

Old or New? The Miaodao and Invention in Chinese Martial Arts

  Searching for the Miaodao What exactly do historians mean when they assert that the Chinese martial arts being practiced throughout the world today are, for the most part, a relatively recent creation?  Even the veneer of age that systems like... Continue Reading →

An Updated and Revised Social History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Swords)

  In January of 2013 I posted an essay titled "A Social and Visual History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Sword) in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts." As a student of Wing Chun I have always been fascinated by these weapons, and... Continue Reading →

Collecting Chinese Swords and other Weapons in late 19th Century Xiamen (Amoy)

  Introduction: Xiamen and the Chinese Martial Arts Marketplace I am interested in the martial arts history of Fujian province.  Many areas of China can rightly claim an illustrious past when it comes to producing famous boxers, military officers or... Continue Reading →

Reconstructing the Tang Dao: Regionalism and Cultural Exchange

  Introduction Regionalism has been all the rage in certain academic circles for at least a decade, though no field demonstrates the potential and challenges of this approach more fully than martial arts studies. The central concept of this paradigm... Continue Reading →

Forgetting about the Gun: Firearms and the Development of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

***Its my birthday!  To celebrate we are taking a second look at an early photograph with one of my favorite pictures of a Japanese samurai.  And essay that comes with it is decent as well.  Enjoy!***   Giving Up the... Continue Reading →

A Social and Visual History of the Dadao: The Chinese “Military Big-Saber”

***Is there any topic more beloved by modern students of Chinese martial arts history than the dadao?  I can't think of one.  Enjoy!***   Rediscovering the Dadao: A Forgotten Legacy of the Chinese Martial Arts. Any review of the history... Continue Reading →

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