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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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southern china

Red Boats of the Cantonese Opera: Economics, Social Structure and Violence 1850-1950.

    Introduction The "writing sabbatical" continues and I am happy to report that the book chapters and papers are progressing nicely.   This weekend's post comes to us from the early days of Kung Fu Tea, and it covers a... 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 →

Recovering Alfred Lister: A Forgotten Observer of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts (Part I)

    ***While never discussed within the Chinese martial studies literature, Alfred Lister may have been the single most important western observer of the Chinese martial arts in the second half of the 19th century.  Over a period of four... Continue Reading →

Research Notes: Spirit Possession in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts

    Introduction Spirit possession is a fascinating but rarely discussed aspect of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  Reformers in the field of physical culture spent much of the 20th century attempting to erase the national embarrassment of the Boxer... Continue Reading →

From the Archives: Global Capitalism, the Traditional Martial Arts and China’s New Regionalism

***For today's post we are headed back to the archives.  I am becoming more interested in the ways that the traditional martial arts have been promoted by the Chinese government as a means of generating "soft power" within the realm... Continue Reading →

The Red Boats and the Nautical Origins of the Wooden Dummy

      Warning: Speculation Ahead   No topic surrounding Wing Chun elicits more interest than its deep historical origins.  Did the art really originate at the southern Shaolin Temple?  Was it connected to late Qing revolutionary groups?  Did Leung Jan actually learn... Continue Reading →

From the Archives: Understanding Opium Use among Southern Chinese Martial Artists, 1890-1949

  ***I am in the middle of a reading project to prepare for some up-coming posts here at Kung Fu Tea.  As such I have decided turn to the archives for this Friday's post.  This essay was initially written to... Continue Reading →

Research Notes on Southern China: Bound Feet, Popular Publishing and a Culture of Consumption

Introduction I have been working on a couple of projects that have taken me away from the blog over the last couple of weeks. One of the more challenging of these has been a review David Faure’s very detailed writings... Continue Reading →

The Problem of the Phoenix Village Boxing Club: Rural Martial Arts in Republic Era Guangdong

    Introduction: Village Life in the Urban Imagination In 1925 Teachers College of Columbia University published the first comprehensive modern sociological study of village life in Southern China. The topic itself was not new. As Virgil K. Ho has... Continue Reading →

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