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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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Republic of China

Meditations on the Blade, Ultra-Modernity and the Fine Art of Self-Promotion

    The Unexpected Giant Some of the essays at Kung Fu Tea are the result of several days of careful research and thinking.  This is not going to be one of those pieces. I started out with a great... Continue Reading →

Through a Lens Darkly (53): Traditional Weapons in China’s 20th Century Militia Movements

  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If true this will be a weighty essay.  Yet that was always the thing about Harrison Forman, the renowned photo-journalist, writer and explorer.  As a correspondent he was a double... Continue Reading →

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (21): Zhang Zhijiang, Father of the Guoshu Movement

    Introduction Its hard to think of a single individual who had a greater impact on the development of the Chinese martial arts during the all important years of the Republic than Zhang Zhijiang (1882-1966).  His name peppers the... Continue Reading →

State, Education and Ma Liang’s New Wushu

  The Nation and the Sword Seki Juroji may be one of the most important pioneers of the traditional Asian martial arts who no one has ever heard of.  Gainty (2013) notes that Seki was a successful farmer and swordsmanship... Continue Reading →

Stephen Chan Discusses the Life of Chan Wong Wah Yue: Swordswoman, Militia Member and Grandmother

    Introduction   Within the field of International Relations Stephen Chan (OBE) needs no introduction.  He is a Professor of Global Politics in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. He also served... Continue Reading →

“Anti-Foreignism” and the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

  Introduction: Anti-Foreignism in Republican Guangdong Students of the traditional Chinese martial arts are frequently reminded that until very recently these systems were “closed” to outsiders.  Then, in the wake of Bruce Lee, Kung Fu masters around the world decided... Continue Reading →

Understanding Opium Use among Southern Chinese Martial Artists, 1890-1949.

Introduction: Wu Song Beats the Tiger One of the fascinating, yet also frustrating, aspects of Chinese popular culture is the facility with which it generates rich new vocabularies to describe the everyday minutia of life.  In some areas, most famously... Continue Reading →

Reforming the Chinese Martial Arts in the 1920s-1930s: The Role of Rapid Urbanization.

Introduction At first individuals like Sun Lutang, Chan Wah Shun, Mok Kwai Lan, Li Pei Xian and Cheung Lai Chuen would not seem to have much in common aside from their love of the martial arts.  Collectively they hail both... Continue Reading →

A Social and Visual History of the Dadao: The Chinese “Military Big-Saber.”

Rediscovering the Dadao: A Forgotten Legacy of the Chinese Martial Arts. Any review of the history of the Chinese martial arts in the 20th century will quickly suggest that these civilian art forms have, at various points, been co-opted and... Continue Reading →

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