On the 44th Anniversary of Bruce Lee’s Death: Cult (Film) Icon

      Introduction My original plan for the day included writing a conference report on the recent Martial Arts Studies gathering at Cardiff University (which, as always, was a blast).  However, when I opened my email this morning I found a note from Paul Bowman reminding me that today is the 44th anniversary of…

Imagining Ip Man: Globalization and the Growth of Wing Chun Kung Fu

  ***I am current on the road for the annual Martial Arts Studies conference at Cardiff University in the UK.  As soon as I return home I will be posting a full report of the event and sharing the text and slides from my keynote (titled “Show, Don’t Tell: Making Martial Arts Studies Matter.”)  In…

Facing Down a Wooden Dummy, and the Myth of “Perfect Practice”

  “Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  – Vince Lombardi   The Bane of my Existence   I have spent a lot of time thinking about Vince Lombardi’s famous maxim on the value of practice.  I will readily admit to hating this quote.  It is exactly the sort of tough, yet…

Why is Ip Man a Role Model?

Donny Yen reprises his role as Ip Man. Is this “Ip Man” your role model?     ***Greetings!  I am currently on the road for research.  As such, we will be delving into the archives for today’s post.  This essay (first published in 2014) takes a closer look at Ip Man’s transformative social memory in…

Defining Wing Chun by What is “Missing”

      An all too Common Conversation     Last week my Sifu and I were discussing the public conversation that surrounds Wing Chun.   “So this guy was trying to tell me that we have no head movement in Wing Chun.  Not just bobbing and weaving” he clarified “but that we can literally…

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…

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…