The Spread of WingTsun
A German Case Study
Wing Chun is one of a few well-known Chinese Martial Arts to succeed within the global marketplace. At the same time our scholarly understanding of this phenomenon has not kept pace with its rapid popular expansions. Judkins and Nielson’s 2015 study The Creation of Wing Chun: A Social History of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts was the first scholarly monograph exploring the development and global spread of these practices, as well as their evolving place in both regional and national identity. This work suggests that the success of this fighting system is best understood as a result of complex social transformations which were set in motion by Southern China’s sudden exposure to the global economy starting in the early 19th century. In their epilogue, the authors propose that distinct modes of communication can be identified as relevant for the global spread of Wing Chun. While Wing Chun has proved to be popular everywhere, Germany seems to constitute a special case. After all, the largest Wing Chun enclave in the world outside of Hong Kong and mainland China was established there during the 1970s and 1980s under the brand name WingTsun. How did this Southern Chinese practice become so well established so quickly? Drawing on premises of social systems theory, the present article explores which constellations, structures and semantic strategies proved decisive.
Copyright (c) 2018 Swen Körner, Mario S. Staller, Benjamin N. Judkins
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