Results for “"kung fu"”
8 found

The economics of Hong Kong kung fu

Hong Kong’s streets are safer, with fewer murders by the fierce crime organizations known as triads that figured in so many kung fu films. And its real estate is among the world’s most expensive, making it difficult for training studios to afford soaring rents.

Gone are the days when “kung fu was a big part of people’s cultural and leisure life,” said Mak King Sang Ricardo, the author of a history of martial arts in Hong Kong. “After work, people would go to martial arts schools, where they’d cook dinner together and practice kung fu until 11 at night.”

With a shift in martial arts preferences, the rise of video games — more teenagers play Pokémon Go in parks here than practice a roundhouse kick — and a perception among young people that kung fu just isn’t cool, longtime martial artists worry that kung fu’s future is bleak.

High studio rents are of course a big problem:

…According to Mr. Leung’s organization, the International WingTsun Association, former apprentices have opened 4,000 branches in more than 65 countries, but only five in Hong Kong…

“Kung fu is more for retired uncles and grandpas.”

That is from Charlotte Yang at the NYT, interesting throughout and yet I hear the author is only a summer intern.

Markets in everything the future of kung fu?

Today, however, temple officials seem more interested in building the Shaolin brand than in restoring its soul. Over the past decade Shi Yongxin, the 45-year-old abbot, has built an international business empire–including touring kung fu troupes, film and TV projects, an online store selling Shaolin-brand tea and soap–and franchised Shaolin temples abroad, including one planned in Australia that will be attached to a golf resort. Furthermore, many of the men manning the temple's numerous cash registers–men with shaved heads and wearing monks' robes–admit they're not monks but employees paid to look the part.

Over tea in his office at the temple, Yongxin calmly makes the case that all of these efforts further Buddhism.

As for some of the traditional styles, perhaps Baumol's cost disease is operating:

"There are no high kicks or acrobatics," he says. Such moves create vulnerable openings. "Shaolin kung fu is designed for combat, not to entertain audiences. It is hard to convince boys to spend many years learning something that won't make them wealthy or famous." He seems drained by the thought. "I worry that is how the traditional styles will be lost."

Here is much more, and for the pointer I thank The Browser.

The Year that Words Were First Used in Print

In the year that I was born, 1966, some words which were used for the first time in print were:

cryonics, art deco, assault weapon, ROM, biocontainment, hot button, kung fu, meth, male-pattern baldness, multitasking, multiorgasmic, Medicaid, number cruncher, paperless, street smarts, ranch dressing, z-score

I would have guessed that many of these terms were older.

New words in recent years are ico, manspreading, utility token and aquafaba (?).

All this is according to the Merriam-Webster Time Traveler.

Hat tip: Paul Kedrosky.

Thursday assorted links

1. Who needs the standing desk when you’ve got the 5?

2. Puffin kung fu.

3. How to launch nuclear weapons.

4. How to pick the fastest line (NYT).

5. Education boosts economic growth, but only with a long lag (pdf).

6. “…RAND’s calculations plus my own Fermi estimate suggest that prescription drug price regulation would cost one billion life-years, which would very slightly edge out Communist China for the title of Worst Thing Ever.”  Link here.

My favorite cinematic things Hong Kong

Where to start?

1. John WooThe Killer holds up the best on repeated viewings, but Hard Boiled makes the biggest first impression, at least circa the early 1990s.  It is less shocking today, precisely because it has been so influential.  Bullet in the Head has some incredible peak moments, but I’ve never loved A Better Tomorrow as many people do, neither part I nor part II.   Once a Thiefthe true Hong Kong edition only — is a good dark horse pick, nimble and philosophical.  Of the American Woo movies, Windtalkers, about the Navajo code talkers during World War II, is much underrated, a fine work.

2. Ringo Lam. City on Fire, and also Prison on Fire.  I would like to know more of them.

3. Wong Kar-wai.  I love all of his movies up through 2000, after that I have mixed feelings at best.  Essential viewing, perhaps my favorite is Chungking Express, for capturing a certain era in Hong Kong, although I doubt that is the best one.

4. Tsui Hark. I am sorry, but I never have loved them, the less pretentious the better.  I did enjoy Chinese Ghost Story.

5. Jackie Chan. Drunken Master II is my favorite, for some U.S. releases this was retitled simply Drunken Master.  You’ll just have to figure it out.  I love the first thirty minutes or so of Armour of God, you can skip the rest.  I consider him one of the comic geniuses of recent times.

6. Bruce Lee. Enter the Dragon is a perennial favorite, plus there is the fight scene with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death, and with Chuck Norris in Return of the Dragon.

The Infernal Affairs trilogy is quite good, as is Election.  Some of the early Shaw Kung Fu movies have entertaining moments, best seen is excerpts.  Chow-Yun Fat is perhaps my favorite movie actor.  There is plenty more I don’t know about.

The bottom line: People, you need to have seen all of these movies, now.  Just ask Scott Sumner.

Marginal Revolution and the Martial Arts

It surely ranks high in the annals of the improbable that the August 2011 issue of Black Belt: The World’s Leading Magazine of Martial Arts contains an article (not online) in which your loyal authors are featured. Mark Hatmaker, writes:

Image: Martial monk

“I’ll borrow the phrase “marginal revolution,” a term coined by economists Tyler Cowen and Alexander Tabarrok. This esteemed duo defines marginal revolution as the tiny changes that can be made to a system that result in large changes at the end point–gold vs. silver, for example. These tweaks, these marginal improvements, are what steadily accrue into large rewards.

…Once you gain a fundamental level of skill and conditioning, you must make tweaks to nudge your progress upward. As a marginal revolutionary, you must recognize that small is fine, that shaving off one-tenth of a second can be an eternity and that one-eighth of an inch can be a great distance. Every gain is important, no matter how small.

The picture is from the Shaolin Temple. Here are previous MR posts on Kung Fu.

Hat tip to Carl Close.

Markets in everything China contract of the day

She is now only allowed to beat him once a week:

The 32-year-old man, who was named by the Chongqing Evening News as Mr Zhang, took the unusual step after suffering intense abuse from his wife, who studies kung fu.

"I don't want to beat him, but arguments are inevitable and I can't help myself," his wife told the newspaper. She added that in the week before they signed the deal, she had beaten him up three times.

If she breaks the contract she has to return home to her parents for three days.

I thank Nathanael Minarik for the pointer.

The progress of science

In one experiment, experts in karate, boxing, kung fu, and tae kwon do all took turns striking the dummy in the face.

The researchers were surprised to find that boxing is the fighting style capable of delivering the most force in a single punch.

Boxer Steve Petramale delivered about 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms) of impact force, the equivalent of swinging a sledgehammer into someone’s face…

The tae kwon do spinning back kick delivered more than 1,500 pounds (680.4 kilograms) of force, while the kung fu flying double kick produced about 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms) of force.

But the undisputed winner practices a discipline known for its ability to deliver a knockout: Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing. 

Melchor Menor, a former two-time Muay Thai world champion, uses a simple technique to incapacitate his opponents: a knee to the chest at close quarters [TC: I guess that doesn’t count as a "punch"  Oh well.].

Menor himself was surprised at how powerful this move can be.

"I wasn’t expecting to have the highest force. When he said the power of the knee [kick] was equal to the power of a 35-mile-an-hour [56.3-kilometer-an-hour] car crash, it was humbling."

It also turns out that a kung fu punch is as fast as a snake.  Who would have known?  Here is the full story, which perhaps explains why I prefer tennis.