Do Martial Arts Create Just Societies?

For ten years I have been polishing this sword; Its frosty edge has never been put to the test. Now I am holding it and showing it to you, sir: Is there anyone suffering from injustice? -“The Swordsman” by Jia Dao (Tang dynasty).  Trans. Liu, 1967.   “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt…

Chinese “Martial Arts” and the Problem of Presentism

  Introduction   I would like to begin today’s post by noting that Joseph Svinth (whom most of you will already know from his many contributions to Martial Arts Studies) really deserves to be listed as a co-author on this piece. Joe was kind enough to bring Thomas Handforth’s many prints to my attention and…

How Jiu-Jitsu Became a Traditional German Martial Art

    Introduction One of my on-going projects is a co-authored study of Wing Chun’s history (and social meaning) within the German martial arts community.  I will admit that in the crush of competing papers and presentations this topic, while fascinating, has slipped to the back burner.  Still, I believe that it is a critical…

Why is Ip Man a Role Model?

Donny Yen reprises his role as Ip Man. Is this “Ip Man” your role model?     ***Greetings!  I am currently on the road for research.  As such, we will be delving into the archives for today’s post.  This essay (first published in 2014) takes a closer look at Ip Man’s transformative social memory in…

Taoism in Bits

“Taoism in Bits.” A guest post by Paul Bowman [1] ***Xīnnián hǎo.  We are fortunate to have a special guest post this week in honor of the Chinese New Year.  This essay, by Prof. Paul Bowman, will help us to think more systematically about the process by which elements of Chinese culture (specifically Daoism and…

Historic Martial Arts Manuals and the Limits of Authenticity

        Situating the Martial Culture of Shii-cho   All of the Jedi I know speak with an accent.  A particularly keen observer might notice them as they walk into the Central Martial Arts Academy, shedding their boots and heavy winter coats.  But anyone with a background in the martial arts can start…

A Sneak Peek

  Introduction Paul Bowman, Kyle Barrowman and I have all been hard at work over the last couple of weeks putting the finishing touches on Issue 3 of the interdisciplinary journal, Martial Arts Studies.  With seven research articles and a number of book reviews there is sure to be something of interest for all of…

Reality Fighting and the End of Civilization

      The Debate   Neil Gong’s article, “How to Fight Without Rules: On Civilized Violence in “De-Civilized” Spaces,” (Social Problems, 2015, 0, pp. 1-18) is the sort of work that is sure to find its way onto a variety of syllabi and reading lists in coming years.  This paper is the result of…