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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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theory

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 →

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies

“The lightsaber has become an important touchstone, both within the films and within our culture…They serve as a source of identification and identity.  They are the ultimate commodity: a nonexistent object whose replicas sell for hundreds of dollars.  This is... Continue Reading →

Kung Fu Documentaries and Their Discontents

  Given that many of the readers of Kung Fu Tea come to this blog to read about the history or development of traditional fighting systems, I am willing to bet that each and every one of us has complained... Continue Reading →

Who “Owns” Kung Fu? Intangible Cultural Heritage, Globalization and the Decentering of the Asian Martial Arts

  ***In the last week I have found myself delving ever deeper into the literature on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) designations and the traditional martial arts.  When seeking to understand the relationship between politics and these fighting systems, one would... Continue Reading →

Rules of Appropriateness, in Martial Arts and Politics

  Fragmentation and Unification Recently I had a chance to catch up with one of my old Kung Fu training brothers. We had a great time training at the same Wing Chun studio.  That was years ago.  Then I left Salt... Continue Reading →

Salvage as Method in Martial Arts Studies

  ***What follows is the text of my keynote address delivered at the 2019 Exploring Imperial China Workshop held on June 5-6 at Tel Aviv University.  I would like to thank both the Department of East Asian Studies and the... Continue Reading →

The Problem of Presentism in the Chinese “Martial Arts”

  ***Greetings. I am currently hard at work on a few different research projects.  One of these involves quite a bit of thinking (and reading) about the process of "standard setting" in an international context and what implications this might... Continue Reading →

Book Review: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Paul Bowman. 2019. Deconstructing the Martial Arts. Cardiff: Cardiff University Press. 165 pages.  Free to Download.     Introduction Summer is typically the time when scholars get caught up on their reading. Yet judging from the pile of books, manuscripts, dissertations... Continue Reading →

Revisiting Marginality in the Martial Arts

  There are a number of popular topics within Martial Arts Studies which suggest the deeply interdisciplinary nature of our project.  Sociologists, following in the footsteps of Wacquant’s “Carnal Sociology” have invested much effort exploring notions such as habitus and embodiment... Continue Reading →

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