Li Pei Xian and the Evolution of Modern Chinese “Martial Arts”

  ***Greetings! I am currently preparing for the upcoming Martial Arts Studies conference in Cardiff.  As such we will be taking a deep dive into the archives for today’s post.  This essay and biographical sketch was first published four years ago in our “Lives of Chinese Martial Artists” series.  While not well known in the…

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…

Violence and the Martial Arts: Contagion or Cure?

      An Old Metaphor   Violence has many faces.  It may appear in an inter-personal, domestic, social or political form.  It’s physical aspects exist on a spectrum ranging from school yard fights all the way up to interstate war.  And as the recent attack on a group of Republican congressional representatives and staff…

Anime and the Education of a Martial Artist

    Introduction   Occasionally life takes a turn and one’s personal martial arts training gets moved to the back burner.  The last couple of weeks have been like that as my wife and I have been engulfed in a seemingly unending move.  It certainly could have been worse as on paper it was a…

Research Notes: Kung Fu at the American School in Shanghai, 1936

      Martial Arts Exhibitions, Old and New   Earlier today I saw a Facebook notice reminding me that I am about to miss an event with the lightsaber combat group that I am currently doing an ethnography with.  They have been asked to give an exhibition by a local charity.  The entire thing…

An Opportunity to Document the Indian Martial Arts

    Introduction   Prof. Phillip Zarrilli’s  name will already be familiar to many.  His book, When the Body Becomes All Eyes: Paradigms, Discourses and Practices of Power in Kalarippayattu, a South Indian Martial Art (Oxford UP, 2000) was an important landmark in the development of Martial Arts Studies.  It provided readers with both the first…