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southern china

This tag is associated with 29 posts

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 as a researcher in the field of martial arts studies I have been equally curious … 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 years he produced four different statements (two relatively brief, and two much more detailed) that … 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 Uprising in which young martial artists who practiced a type of “spirit boxing” were seen … 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 of public diplomacy and “national branding.”  Even more interesting is the leading (and sometimes competing) … 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 the system from a pair of retired Cantonese opera performers?  And if so, what was this … 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 provide some context for discussions of opium use among southern Chinese martial artists, including possibly … 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 on the evolution of key institutions that define what we tend to think of as … 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 pointed out, Chinese, Japanese and Western intellectuals spent much of the 1920s-1930s attempting to diagnose … Continue reading

Kung Fu is Dead, Long Live Kung Fu: The Martial Arts as Voluntary Associations in 20th Century Guangzhou

  Introduction   Daniel M. Amos is one of the less appreciated, but more important, voices in the academic study of the southern Chinese martial arts. In 1983 he deposited a doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles, titled “Marginality and the Heroes Art: Martial Arts in Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Canton).” Parts … Continue reading

The Boxing Master, the Pirate’s Wife and the Soldier: Three Scenes from Southern China’s Piracy Crisis, 1807-1810

    Introduction: Foreign Language Sources on Southern Chinese Piracy   It is a dictum in the social sciences that data is never self-interpreting. Likewise historians have found that it is often impossible to judge the nature or significance of events while one is caught up in the middle of them. Time must pass before … Continue reading

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