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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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southern china

Tools of the Trade: The Use of Firearms and Traditional Weapons among the Tongs of San Francisco, 1877-1878.

  Introduction: The Evolving Relationship between Firearms and the Martial Arts. In a number of previous posts we have examined the complex, often hidden, relationship between the development of the modern Chinese martial arts and firearms.  It is frequently stated... Continue Reading →

Bruce Lee, Globalization and the Case of Wing Chun: Why do Some Chinese Martial Arts Grow?

Introduction: Wing Chun and the Haters You do not have to be involved with the Chinese martial arts for very long to discover that Wing Chun has the potential to be a highly polarizing topic of conversation.  Those within in... Continue Reading →

Qilin Dancing During the Lunar New Year and Southern Chinese Martial Culture.

Introduction: What is a Qilin and why do they dance? Let me start off by wishing everyone a happy New Year!  The Lunar New Year is the longest and most important festival in the traditional Chinese calendar.  Individuals celebrate it... 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 →

An Updated and Revised Social History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Swords)

  In January of 2013 I posted an essay titled "A Social and Visual History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Sword) in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts." As a student of Wing Chun I have always been fascinated by these weapons, and... Continue Reading →

Lessons from the South – Martial Arts of Vietnam, Part II

  ***What follows in the second installment in our short guest series considering the history and development of the Vietnamese martial arts.  Enjoy****   Lessons from the South By Trần Khải Hoài   In the previous section, we looked at... Continue Reading →

Research Note: A Challenge Match in Hong Kong, 1890

  Today’s post comes courtesy of Joseph Svinth who shared an intriguing, if brief, find with me a few weeks ago. Kung Fu legends revel in accounts of high stakes challenge matches. In a typical story a young martial arts... Continue Reading →

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (24): Wen Shengcai, Wing Chun’s Assassin

  On Legends and their Grains Not all legends contain a grain a truth. Such an assertion is wishful thinking and sells short the remarkable faculty that is the human imagination. Still, grains manifest frequently enough that they keep historians... Continue Reading →

Lives of Chinese Martial Artists (9): Woman Ding Number Seven: Founder of the Fujian Yongchun Boxing Tradition

Introduction: Gender and the History of the Chinese Martial Arts Women are a challenging subject in Chinese martial studies.  One the one hand traditions about female boxers, nuns, bandits and heroes abound in the folklore of the “Rivers and Lakes.” ... Continue Reading →

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