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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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spirituality

The Book Club: The Shaolin Monastery by Meir Shahar, Chapters 5-Conclusion: Unarmed Combat in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

  Introduction This is the third and final installment of our in-depth review of Meir Shahar’s groundbreaking work, the Shaolin Temple.  Today we will be looking at the evolution of unarmed boxing in late Ming and Qing era China.  I... Continue Reading →

How Yoda Helped to Invent Kung Fu: Star Wars and the Martial Arts in the Western Imagination.

***I was surprised to run across this post in the blog's archives for 2012 as I generally think of Star Wars and lightsabers as a research interest that developed years later.  But apparently these were ideas that had been circulating... Continue Reading →

Why Religion Needs to Play a Greater Role in Chinese Martial Studies than it does in the Chinese Martial Arts.

  ***Greetings! Here is one of my earlier attempts to talk about the topic of theory within martial arts studies (from back in 2012, when there was a lot less of it).  It is one area where my thinking has... Continue Reading →

“Jesus Didn’t Tap”: Sixt Wetzler and the Connection of Religion and Martial Arts

I fundamentally dislike to the term “myth busting.” It reminds me of an American television program that gained great popularity by deconstructing urban legends and popular wisdom through the excessive use of car crashes and C-4 explosives. I can’t actually... Continue Reading →

2020 MAS Conference: Martial Arts vs. Martialité

Shūkongōjin, painted clay, 733; in the Hekkedō (Sangatsudō), Tōdai Temple, Nara, Japan. Height 1.739 metres.Sakamoto Photo Laboratory, Tokyo Introduction This week saw the successful completion of the sixth annual Martial Arts Studies conference. The evolving situation with COVID-19 led the... Continue Reading →

Chinese Martial Arts, Religion and Spirituality: A Guide for the Perplexed

  Can the confused lead others to clarity?  Perhaps the title of this essay risks overselling the contents as I can think of no subject within the field more demanding of nuance, yet less likely to receive it, than the... Continue Reading →

Halloween Edition: Leung Kai’s Ghost Story – Remembering a Modern Choy Li Fut Master.

***In honor of Halloween I thought that I would dip into the archives and revisit a fun post from earlier in the year.  What follows is an actual Kung Fu ghost story.  I think that readers will find it both... Continue Reading →

Bodhidharma: Historical Fiction, Hyper-Real Religion and Shaolin Kung Fu

  Introduction I was recently exchanging emails with a martial arts instructor and reader who suggested that I address the historical facts behind the “Bodhidharma myth.” This is a critical topic for anyone interested in either the historical or cultural... Continue Reading →

Reevaluating the “Theater of Combat”: A Critical Look at Charles Holcombe, Popular Religion and the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts.

Kung Fu and Religion: The Emergence of the Modern Debate. For most of the 20th century western academics paid little attention to the Chinese martial arts.  Popular culture did not elicit much interest from scholars who were more engaged with... Continue Reading →

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