• The New Masters Documentary on the BBC

    Director Chris Cherry was on the BBC recently discussing MMA in China, the documentary we are working on, and the routes out of poverty for poor fighters. Check out the video and full audio interview below.


    April 7, 2015 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu, Video • Views: 469

  • It’s Spring Again

    Qing troops

    I have been busy, forgive me for once again wandering from this blog. I recently moved back to the US and although I have found that being away from China has definitely impacted my ability to write about certain aspects of martial arts – personalities and real time events and trends for example – being away allows me to explore other parts.

    I am still writing for Fightland, and I recently “completed” a series on kung fu history and culture. BY completed I mean to say I have reached a climax and can now move on to other elements within the same thread, with perhaps a bit more nuance. That’s how it feels with writing sometimes, you put together a string of essays and suddenly a long form opus pops out and it suddenly gives you a chance to breathe and re-group. Here are those essays, from most recent to the first one:

    To Topple a Dynasty: Kung Fu Rebels and the Cycle of History

    Razing the Temple: Shaolin Versus the State

    Shuai Jiao: China’s Indigenous Wrestling Style

    Shaolin Warrior Monks and the Japanese “Wokou” Pirates

    “The Practical Isn’t Pretty”: General Qi Jiguang on Martial Arts for Soldiers

    Flying Kicks: The Roots of Taekwondo and the Future of Martial Arts

    Meridians, Death Strikes, and Secrets of the Shaolin Fist

    Karate’s Sacred Tome: The Bubishi and the Evolution of Martial Arts

    The New Masters Documentary is trucking along as well. I am in the US, so I am a bit removed from the day to day operations. But the crew is digging deeper into the MMA scene and establishing a strong relationship to the fighters and the community. It’s a long road, and 2015 is a grinding year.

    I am very interested in the UFC’s upcoming Aldo vs. McGregor fight … I have been watching the embedded series they have going on, and it is really hard to maintain respect for Conor’s skill set as a martial artist when he so routinely disrespects both his opponent and the sport on a constant basis. I truly hope Also destroys him. In my experience the team I root for usually goes down, but I did have the satisfaction of watching the Mavs beat the Heat back in 2010 … so perhaps the Lord will smile down upon me and grant the better man (in my opinion) the victory. It’s worth a look if you are into the showmanship and the brash personalities behind some of the fights.

    I for one dislike Conor more and more with each episode. And I think that’s the point right?


    March 28, 2015 • Kung Fu History, Kung Fu Lore • Views: 349

  • Support the New Masters Kickstarter!

    New Masters Kickstarter

    After a long long time (two years has it been, since this first post?) I can finally say that the first larger work to come out of this endeavor is emerging out of the primordial soup:

    The documentary film I have been working on with a crew of filmmakers and producers, The New Masters, is coming to life. We just launched a Kickstarter Campaign to keep the project rolling, and when you visit the page, you’ll see our trailer, several photos from the project, and the story we mean to tell.

    Here is the New Masters Kickstarter

    Please, Share it on your social media. Donate to the cause. We put together some great rewards packages as a token of our our gratitude for your support. Also, leave some feedback either here, or in the Kickstarter if you do end up backing us (thank you!!) and let us know what you think of the story we are trying to tell.
    Here some excerpts:

    “Over the past couple decades, Kungfu has taken a back seat to a new combat phenomenon, mixed martial arts, or MMA. MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the new proving ground for anyone who considers themselves “the greatest warrior on the planet”.

    Our documentary, The New Masters, explores the meeting of these two martial styles in Mainland China. We follow MMA fighters and Kungfu masters as they navigate new landscapes, feed their families, seek out the Tao, and fight for the pride of a nation. The film will also explain how the martial arts in China are a metaphor for China’s own emergence onto the world stage. Traditional culture, in this case Kungfu, is being diluted and transformed by commercial considerations and the sweeping power of globalization, represented by MMA and the general mixing of martial arts worldwide.”

    “The New Masters is also a poignant look at one critical aspect of China’s rise: How can China’s most treasured cultural traditions contribute to the modern world? Is there more to modern China than just cheap exports and the breakneck commercialization of a once-Communist hermit?

    This is a question that grips many Chinese today, and although discourse in China is dynamic, much of it is overlooked in favor of economic and (mostly negative) political news. The martial arts are one forum for this conversation.

    We want to to bring this larger story to the screen, and we need your help to do it.”

    Once again, here is that link to the New Masters Kickstarter

    Thank you so very much!

    The New Masters Crew


    November 3, 2014 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 2370

  • Tibetans and MMA

    I had a very fascinating encounter yesterday. Vaughn Anderson came back to Chengdu after a couple months on the road working for OneFC, and he had a meeting with a man who wanted to hire him as a coach for his gym. I asked if I could tag along and Vaughn said sure. We were picked up in a G.Patton SUV, built by Allegheny Ford Isuzu Truck Sales, and taken way out to the western outskirts of the city, just south of Pixian.

    Our driver was a pudgy Tibetan decked out in Versace. He didn’t say much to us on the way to the gym, and Vaughn and I just yapped about MMA and every so often glanced out at the people watching our Panzer-SUV roll by. The driver switched from Chinese to Tibetan and back again, keeping up a constant string of phone calls for the duration of the trip. I felt like a drug dealer, bumping up and down on the unfinished roads between the expanding urban center and the awaiting countryside. Tibetan trinkets hung from the dashboard mirror, lay stacked on the console in front of us, along with a remote for the TV screen/portal that removed us from more than connected us to the driver.

    Continue Reading


    October 14, 2014 • Kung Fu People, MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 797

  • Sinica Podcast: MMA and Kungfu in China

    I had the privilege of being on the Sinica Podcast recently, talking about my project and just the scene in general. I feel I could have done a much better job of it – a lot of inaccuracies, and I think my tone was very anti-China which is basically a fount for inaccuracies – but at the time I was just trying to not stutter and be as lucid as possible. Great experience, and gave me the bug to do more of this type of work. I also spend a lot of time talking about the documentary film, The New Masters, which I am helping produce. If you want to learn more about that, here is our website (under construction, but I am working on it RIGHT NOW) and here is our Facebook page. A Kickstarter is forthcoming, as soon as all ducks are in a row. Stay tuned!

    Here is the podcast link again:

    Chinese Martial Arts and MMA – Sinica Podcast



    October 6, 2014 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 21418