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Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Martial Arts Market

Spreading the Gospel of Kung Fu: Print Media and the Popularization of Wing Chun (Part III).

  Introduction: Wing Chun Enters its Esoteric Phase This is the third and final installment of our short series on the earliest printed publications to discuss Wing Chun in English.  These books and articles range in date from 1968 to... Continue Reading →

Why do difficult and expensive martial arts thrive?

      Introduction: Is there room for rationality in the martial arts?   The study of hand combat suggests many types of questions. Following the “levels of analysis” typology I tend to mentally organize these into three categories; the... Continue Reading →

Secrecy: A Critical Ingredient in the Ongoing Evolution of the Traditional Martial Arts

        Introduction: Secrecy in an Era of Global Markets   It is hard to think of any topic that has more deeply marked the Chinese martial arts than secrecy. Countless students have been drawn to these systems... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (7): Selling Swords and Printed Martial Arts Training Manuals in a 19th century Guangzhou Market.

  ***Recently I was having a discussion about the state of Kung Fu in China with a friend.  (You can see his detailed post on the topic here).  He was lamenting the general decline of interest in the arts and... Continue Reading →

Telling Stories about Wong Fei Hung and Ip Man: The Evolution of a Heroic Type

****We recently completed the "500 Likes" challenge at the Kung Fu Tea Facebook group.  As a result I let the readers vote on what two articles they would most like to see covered.  There were a lot of good suggestions... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (18): Chinese Martial Arts and Early 20th Century Cigarette Cards: Building the Global Image of Kung Fu.

Introduction: Why do we study ephemera? In many respects the study of the history of the traditional martial arts is the study of Chinese popular culture.  Sometimes we approach the subject from the perspective of political or military history, and... Continue Reading →

Tung Ying-chieh and the Public Perception of the Chinese Martial Arts in Post-War Hong Kong.

Introduction The first half of the 20th century was a time of rapid transformation for the traditional Chinese martial arts.  Early in the era these fighting systems tended to be associated with practical pursuits such as military or militia training,... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (7): Selling Swords and Printed Martial Arts Training Manuals in a 19th century Guangzhou Market.

Introduction: Exploring the martial marketplace. It is clear that the traditional Chinese martial arts, as practiced in the Qing dynasty, were many things to many people.  Still, for most of their practitioners they were first and foremost an economic resources. ... Continue Reading →

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