The patriotic narrative of Donnie Yen: how martial arts film stars reconcile Chinese tradition and modernity

Celebrity Studies

Stevey Richards

11 April 2019


Mainland China’s rejection of various traditional institutions and the Maoist political doctrine in the period following Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 resulted in ideological disorientation. To address this, the Chinese government has begun to promote traditional martial arts as a practice and as a cultural object to foster a renewed sense of national identity. However, this process of ideological fortification is complicated by Chinese martial arts’ connection to the country’s imperial system, which collapsed in the face of colonial aggression at the end of the 19th century. This article will explore how Chinese film star Donnie Yen negotiates traditional Chinese martial arts’ problematic ideological position via the Ip Man film series (2008–2015). It draws on Ellis Cashmore’s notion of celebrity narrative and Richard Dyer’s concept of star image to examine how these films have rendered Yen as a patriot and allow him to reconcile ideological contradictions within Chinese martial arts’ status. Finally, it establishes that this operation is reinforced through Yen and the Ip Man franchise’s relationship with the deceased star Bruce Lee, and concludes that martial arts film stars’ images may effect ideological reconciliations between contemporary and traditional Chinese culture.

About the Author

Stevey Richards is currently studying for his PhD in film studies at the University of Winchester, where he also frequently teaches Film Studies. His thesis deals with the semiotic analysis of Kung Fu in mainland Chinese and Hong Kong cinema. He has been studying Chinese martial arts, including Wing Chun, for over fifteen years.



Education in the Chinese national sport system: experiences of professional wushu athletes

Sport in Society

Yang Zhang, Jessica W. Chin, Shirley H.M. Reekie

22 December 2018


Within the Chinese national sport system, the government provides resources and funding to train athletes from a young age to become high-performance competitors. Though athletes are well supported to excel in their sport, during their years of intense physical training, athletes generally receive little to no formal education to prepare them for life outside of sport. The sacrifice of forgoing formal education to compete in elite level sport is not uncommon for athletes within centralized sporting systems and has been widely documented; however, there is little research that focuses on the impact of the team’s educational systems from the perspective of the athletes. To add to the growing body of research in this area, the authors utilized in-depth interviews to examine professional wushu athletes’ education experiences whilst training on their team. Thematic analysis of the findings revealed that athletes who committed themselves to sport training in the Chinese national system had to negotiate a number of factors related to time, motivation, social influences, and resources when it came to education and academia. Findings highlight the ways in which these athletes experience and come to terms with limited academic opportunities, preparation and support from their team and the training environment.

About the Authors

Yang Zhang – Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland

Jessica W. Chin, PhD – Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology, San Jose State University, College of Health and Human Sciences.

Dr. Jessica Chin serves as the research and core specialist for SJSU’s Department of Kinesiology and is engaged in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Dr. Chin is an active member of the Western Society for the Physical Education of College Women (WSPECW), the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA), and the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), regularly presenting her research at their annual conferences. She is the Chair of the NASSS Elections Committee and has also served on the NASSS Diversity and Conference Climate Committee (DCCC) and the Environmental Impact Committee. Dr. Chin was elected as Chair of the Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity (CEED) in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA) from 2010-2014 and was also an academic consultant to the Bay Area Physical Education-Health Program (Bay PE-HP).

With a strong desire to include students in work that promotes diversity and social justice, Dr. Chin has mentored and advised students in various capacities. As an example, she leads and advises RePlay, a nonprofit, student-based group that seeks to benefit and initiate positive change in local communities and educational institutions. Following the core principles of promoting social justice and a green lifestyle, RePlay collects used sporting goods and equipment, which they refurbish and distribute at events specially organized for underserved community groups. RePlay has organized events and made significant donations to foster children, homeless shelters, underfunded physical education programs, and summer camps. Dr. Chin is passionate about physical activity and remains an advocate for underserved and underrepresented populations through her teaching, research, and community service.

Shirley H.M. Reekie, PhD – Professor, Department of Kinesiology, San Jose State University, College of Health and Human Sciences.

Shirley Reekie received an undergraduate degree from I.M. Marsh College of Physical Education, Liverpool, and the University of Liverpool, UK and a master’s degree from the University of Leeds. Following three years teaching physical education, English and geography at Keswick School, Shirley earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University with a dissertation entitled “A History of Sport and Recreation for Women in Great Britain 1700-1850.” Shirley came to San Jose State University in 1982 and had one book “Sailing Made Simple,” published in 1986, and another “Bean Bags to Bod Pods” that chronicles the Kinesiology Department’s 150 years, published in 2012.  She has recently been commissioned to write a history of Trearddur Bay Sailing Club, founded in 1919.



An Investigation of 3D Human Pose Estimation for Learning Tai Chi: A Human Factor Perspective

International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction

Aouaidjia Kamel, Bowen Liu, Ping Li & Bin Sheng

13 November 2018


In this article, we propose a Tai Chi training system based on pose estimation using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) called iTai-Chi. Our system aims to overcome the disadvantages of insufficient accurate feedback in traditional teaching methods such as one-to-many tutorial and video watching. With the specially trained neural network, our iTai-Chi system can estimate learners’ poses more accurately compared to Kinect V2. In our system, user’s motion is evaluated through comparison with the template motion. The evaluated results are presented to the user to locate the error in their motions and help their correction. To verify the effectiveness of our system, we carried out a series of user studies. Results reflect that the iTai-Chi system successfully improve users’ performance in movement accuracy. Also, our system assists elder Tai Chi practitioners and students without prior knowledge to overcome learning obstacles and improve their skills. The users agreed that our system is interesting and supportive for their Tai Chi learning.

About the Authors

Aouaidjia Kamel is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. He obtained his M.Eng. degree in computer science from the Abbes Laghrour University of Khenchela, Algeria. His research interests focus on human–machine interaction, human pose estimation, and machine learning.

Bowen Liu is currently a Ph.D. candidate at The Education University of Hong Kong. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Jinan University, China, and had an experience as an exchange student at Aalborg University, Denmark. His interests include image processing, autonomous vehicle, and smart transportation systems.

Ping Li is currently an assistant professor at Macau University of Science and Technology, who obtained his Ph.D. degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include creative media, virtual reality, and computer graphics. He has excellent research project reported worldwide by ACM TechNews.

Bin Sheng is currently an associate professor in Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who received his Ph.D. degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He serves as an Associate Editor of IET Image Processing. His research interests include computer graphics and machine learning.


The Development of Chinese Martial Arts in Taiwan since 1949

The International Journal of the History of Sport

Ling-Mei Ko, Meng-Chi Ting & Ping-Chao Lee

1 October 2018


In Taiwan, the historical development of traditional Chinese martial arts, or kuoshu and wushu as they are called today, has been quite diverse. This paper examines the development of Chinese martial arts from 1949 to 2017 in the context of Taiwan based on available historical evidence and in-depth interviews. The results show that there were three major historical periods in the development of Chinese martial arts. The foundation period was inaugurated when Chinese martial artists fled to Taiwan with the Nationalists. During this period, martial arts studios spread throughout the country and people began learning the traditional Chinese martial arts skills together with the national physical education curriculum incorporated martial arts in schools. Chinese martial arts in Taiwan then entered the competitive sports period when the Chinese government to promote competitive martial arts internationally and to standardize the practice and grading system required for competitions. During this period, standardized rules for nationwide competition were established, and sports instructors and athletes were trained to participate in international wushu competitions. Currently, the Chinese martial arts have been modernized and being practised to build confidence, mental discipline, and physical strength as well as for self-defence, recreational pursuits, and competition.

About the Authors

Ling-Mei Ko – Associate Professor & Director Department of Leisure, Recreation and Tourism Management, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan City, Taiwan




Meng-Chi Ting – Department of Leisure, Recreation and Tourism Management, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan City, Taiwan

Ping-Chao Lee – Department of Physical Education, National Taichung University of Education, Taichung City, Taiwan


Alert Hypnosis With Tai Chi Movement for Trauma Resolution

American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis

Bruce Eads & David M. Wark
27 Sep 2018


Alert hypnosis has a growing body of evidence to support its use in resolving trauma symptoms. There is also research to support the use of Tai Chi in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Integrating alert hypnosis with Tai Chi movements offers the potential to further the benefits of both approaches. Patients have an opportunity to work toward their desired goals using hypnotic techniques to embody targeted changes both in session and outside the office. Providers get behavioural information about the physical and emotional states in the patient. This overlap provides an advanced platform for integrated clinical work, supporting a closer integration of curative processes.

The full text will be available to registered participants of the conference “Tai Chi, Wushu & Qigong in Today’s World 2019” which is to be announced shortly. Permission to distribute the article “Alert Hypnosis With Tai Chi Movement for Trauma Resolution” published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis; Volume 61, 2018; Issue 2; pp. 173-184, was granted by the original publisher, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) for the purpose of this event.

About the Authors

Bruce Eads

Bruce is a social worker from Salisbury, North Carolina, USA. He says, “Providing clinical therapies for recently returning combat Veterans to allow them the best opportunity we can develop to enjoy success in the life they fought for. No job has ever been so intense nor more worthwhile“.



David M.Wark, PhD

David’s professional life has revolved around his career as a Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA), with a particular and longtime interest in hypnosis. He has been on the forefront of teaching the world the array of psychological and medical goals that can be achieved using the tools that he has helped develop.

To find out more, see the Interview with Dr Wark.