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theory

This tag is associated with 66 posts

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 … 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

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Why do you draw the line? More on Definition in Martial Arts Studies

  ***Paul Bowman recently wrote an essay dealing with attempts to both define the martial arts and to think about the development of martial arts studies as a distinct field.  Given the importance of the points that he raises, and the amount of interest that they are likely to generate among readers of Kung Fu … Continue reading

Research Notes: Foshan’s Kung Fu in 1919.

    First, the Important Stuff   Is it possible to approach history without theory?  I think not.  It is the existence of some sort of preexisting story or framework of understanding that we carry around in our heads which tells us that some given source is relevant data in the first place.  Nor are … 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 not bad for something that defies the laws of physics and cannot and does … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (41): Three Views of a Young Boxer

      Meeting the Boxer   I recently had the good fortune to meet one of my favorite Chinese Boxers.  I had been stalking him for years. This early 20th century postcard was probably purchased in Beijing and then mailed to Tianjin on February 5th, 1909.  The card itself was published by J.H. Schaefer’s … Continue reading

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