Research Notes: Kung Fu Public Diplomacy and a Visit with General Ma Liang

Kung Fu Tea

"Russo/Chinese War Scenes." Chinese soldiers drill with Pudao.  Vintage Newsreel. 1929. “Russo/Chinese War Scenes.” Chinese soldiers drill with Pudao. Vintage Newsreel. 1929.

 

Secrecy vs. Advertising in the Chinese Martial Arts


I recently reviewed Charles Russo’s excellent work, Striking Distance, which discussed the spread of the Chinese martial arts on the West Coast of the United States during the middle of the 20th century.  It is a great contribution to the ongoing discussion of the history of these fighting systems, and anyone who is unfamiliar with it will want to check it out.

In this post I would like to offer a slightly different perspective on a theme that arose repeatedly throughout Russo’s study.  How should we think of the supposed secrecy that surrounded the Chinese martial arts in the West prior to the late 1960s?  This is a topic that Russo treats with a fair amount of nuance.

To begin with, some pretty prominent teachers actually taught…

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