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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Martial Arts Studies

Spirituality in the Traditional Martial Arts – Between History and Theory

  “There is a problem with the study of martial arts similar to that identified by Markus Davidson in the case of “spiritual studies”: many of the scholars involved in the topic are themselves practitioners and their work betrays a... Continue Reading →

Chinese Martial Arts, Religion and Spirituality: A Guide for the Perplexed

  Can the confused lead others to clarity?  Perhaps the title of this essay risks overselling the contents as I can think of no subject within the field more demanding of nuance, yet less likely to receive it, than the... Continue Reading →

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 →

Rediscovering China’s Flails

  Reclaiming Bruce When is a nunchuck, perhaps the most iconic weapon to emerge from Okinawan karate, not a nunchuck?  When it is being held by Bruce Lee.  At least that is what the discussion in my Facebook feed seemed... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (62): Chan Bing’s Choy Li Fut Students, 1967

  Unfolding a Story When the opportunity presents itself I try to collect vintage photographs, postcards, illustrations and other ephemera touching on the martial arts.  As someone who writes and publishes on these subjects, it is very helpful to have... Continue Reading →

Martial Arts as Politics: The Act of Seeing

  Look at Me!   I took a break from the kicking drill just as an insistent, irritated, voice rang out. “Coach, look at me!  Look at me!  LOOK AT ME!  Hey Coach. COACH! Look at me!”  Of course it... Continue Reading →

Kung Fu Documentaries and Their Discontents

  Given that many of the readers of Kung Fu Tea come to this blog to read about the history or development of traditional fighting systems, I am willing to bet that each and every one of us has complained... Continue Reading →

Conference Report: Fighting Bodies and Knowledge at Trier University

  ***The following is a guest post by Paul Bowman who recently had the good fortune to attend a fascinating set of meetings at Trier University organized by Dr. Eric Burkart and Dr. Eva Bishoff.  From the sounds of thing... Continue Reading →

Who “Owns” Kung Fu? Intangible Cultural Heritage, Globalization and the Decentering of the Asian Martial Arts

  ***In the last week I have found myself delving ever deeper into the literature on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) designations and the traditional martial arts.  When seeking to understand the relationship between politics and these fighting systems, one would... Continue Reading →

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