Kung Fu Tea

A young TY Wong, right, at the 1928 Central Goushu Institute’s national martial arts demonstration in Nanjing, China. Source: From the Collection of Charles Russo.

Martial Arts Exhibitions, Old and New

Earlier today I saw a Facebook notice reminding me that I am about to miss an event with the lightsaber combat group that I am currently doing an ethnography with.  They have been asked to give an exhibition by a local charity.  The entire thing sounds like a lot of fun, and if I was not in the middle of a move into a new apartment, I would certainly be going.

Nevertheless, an experienced martial artist could probably guess what will be on their agenda, even if you have never seen a lightsaber exhibition before.  A few highly dedicated groups specialize in elaborate staged spectacles that include real scripts, extensive combat choreography, stage direction and special effects.  The late…

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