Seeking Identity through the Martial Arts: The Case of Mexicanidad

    Seeking Identity through the Martial Arts: The Case of Mexicanidad By George Jennings Jennings, G. (2017). Out of the labyrinth: The new Mexican martial arts riding the wave of Mexicanidad. Paper presented at the 3rd Martial Arts Studies International Conference, Cardiff University, UK, 12 July 2017.     Acknowledgements I would like to…

Research Notes: Jingwu and the Female Martial Artists of 1920

    Introduction     I am interested in the frequent, seemingly unconscious, way in which the word “traditional” is appended to the name “martial arts” in modern speech and writing.  One does not simply study “Japanese wrestling” or “Chinese physical culture.”  From about the 1970s onward everyone became a student of the “traditional martial…

Through a Lens Darkly (44): Martial Arts in Pre-War Japanese Schools

    Introduction   Today’s post is the result of a happy coincidence.  As regular readers will be aware, I occasionally collect and share vintage images of the Chinese martial arts.  Many of these come from the sorts of ephemera (postcards, advertisements, old newspaper clippings, newsreels) that contain interesting data on the social place of…

Yim Wing Chun and the “Primitive Passions” of Southern Kung Fu

    Introduction     We all know the story (and those who do not may want to quickly review the most popular version of it here). With the destruction of the Shaolin Temple at the hands of a fearful imperial military and a corrupt bureaucracy, China’s martial arts heritage (skills that had come to…

Through a Lens Darkly (28): Three Visions of the Kukri

        The Kukri in Three Symbolic Registers     As regular readers will know, I have a keen interest in both the history of bladed weapons and vintage postcards.  The kukri, a type of fighting knife from Nepal made famous by Gurkha troops serving with both the Indian and British armies, has…

Hsu-Ming Teo Reconsiders Ip Man, Popular History and the Kung Fu Biopic

    Hsu-Ming Teo. 2011. “Popular History and the Chinese Martial Arts Biopic.” History Australia. Vol. 8 No. 1: 42-66.     Introduction   Technology is a double edged sword. Electronic databases and fancy search tools promise a near omniscient grasp of what other writers have been up to. Yet these same tools can also…

Tai Hsuan-chih Remembers “The Red Spears, 1916-1949”

    Introduction   This is the second entry in our ongoing study of the Red Spear movement in northern China during the first half of the twentieth century. For a brief overview of the origins of this movement and its relevance to discussions of martial arts history please see here. In the previous post…