The Death of Shaolin, and Decline of the Chinese Martial Arts

The Wandering Sage In this periodic column, martial arts enthusiast and old China hand Shannon Roxborough explores the claims depicted in kung-fu cinema, putting them into historical, cultural, philosophical, martial and common-sense context.   Blame it on Jet Li and the Shaw Brothers 1982 cult classic film “Shaolin Temple.” No place has exterted a more powerful influence on the martial arts than the Shaolin Temple. Credited as the birthplace of Chinese kung fu and the headquarters of martial monks whose combat feats and heroic exploits have been seared so deeply into the collective consciousness that it’s become difficult to separate … Continue reading The Death of Shaolin, and Decline of the Chinese Martial Arts

Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris | A Dream Fight?

The Wandering Sage In this periodic column, martial arts enthusiast and old China hand Shannon Roxborough explores the claims depicted in kung-fu cinema, putting them into historical, cultural, philosophical, martial and common-sense context. Think of it as Fantasy Martial Arts. Today, M.M.A. allows fans to watch their favorite fighters touch gloves then engage in a testosterone-fueled blood sport, but what if some of the most storied names in hand-to-hand combat squared off? What if, for example, Muhammad Ali faced Mike Tyson, both in their prime? Or, in the world of our chosen fighting arts, Bruce Lee had a real-life knock-down-drag-out … Continue reading Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris | A Dream Fight?

The End of Classic Martial Arts

The Wandering Sage In this periodic column, martial arts enthusiast and old China hand Shannon Roxborough explores the claims depicted in kung-fu cinema, putting them into historical, cultural, philosophical, martial and common-sense context. Like many who watched kung-fu movies in the good ol’ days, I sat glued to my TV screen, entranced by a common theme: a dedicated student training under a seasoned master to learn a age-old skill that has been dutifully passed down through the generations. As depicted in some of our favorite flicks from the 1970s and ’80s, there was a time when martial arts studies were … Continue reading The End of Classic Martial Arts

Shaolin Monks vs. the Ching Dynasty?

The Wandering Sage In this periodic column, martial arts enthusiast and old China hand Shannon Roxborough explores the claims depicted in kung-fu cinema, putting them into historical, cultural, philosophical, martial and common-sense context.   I enjoy kung-fu films as much as anyone (maybe more). Like many of you,¬†I spent much of my childhood watching every martial arts movie I could I lay my eyes on. Through¬†weekend TV airings and trips to B-movie double and triple features at the local theater, I grew up in a world dominated by badly dubbed English dialogue, over-the-top sound effects and stylized fight scene choreography. … Continue reading Shaolin Monks vs. the Ching Dynasty?