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Kung Fu Tea

Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies.

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theory

Top Five Changes in Martial Arts: 2020 Edition

  Introduction I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a “Top Five” list…of other “Top Five” lists. It was a wonderfully meta idea and it made me realize how long it had been since we had... 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 →

Technique and Belief in Martial Arts Studies

  Answering their Questions COVID-19 has badly disrupted our world.  Both jobs and lives have been lost.  Professional commitments have been put on hold and training schedules transformed. Yet the oddest thing about this virus is its seeming ability to... Continue Reading →

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the Anti-Witch: Martial Arts as Therapy

    D. S. Farrer. 2019. “Brazilian jiu-jitsu is therapy: Shifting subjectivities on Guam.” ETNOGRAFIA E RICERCA QUALITATIVA (ERQ). No. 3. 407-428.   Introduction Donn F. Draeger’s made no secret of his love for the real “battlefield” martial arts, both... 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 →

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 →

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