Swen Körner is a Professor of Pedagogy at German Sport University Cologne and Head of the Institute of Pedagogy and Philosophy. His work covers various aspects of martial arts, self-defense, police use of force, and conflict management.
University of Applied Sciences of Public Administration North-Rhine-Westphalia, DE
Mario S. Staller is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Applied Sciences of Public Administration North-Rhine-Westphalia. His work covers various aspects of martial arts, self-defense, and police use of force training
Benjamin N. Judkins is co-editor of the journal Martial Arts Studies and a Visiting Scholar at the Cornell University East Asia Program. With Jon Nielson, he is co-author of The Creation of Wing Chun: A Social History of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts (SUNY, 2015). He is also the author of the long-running martial arts studies blog, Kung Fu Tea: Martial Arts History, Wing Chun and Chinese Martial Studies (www.chinesemartialstudies.com).
Ip Man’s immigration to Hong Kong in 1949, followed by Bruce Lee’s sudden fame as a martial arts superstar after 1971, ensured that wing chun kung fu, a previously obscure hand combat style from Guangdong Province, would become one of the most globally popular Chinese martial arts. Yet this success has not been evenly distributed. Despite its cultural and geographic distance from Hong Kong, Germany now boasts a number of wing chun practitioners that is second only to China. The following article draws on the prior work of Judkins and Nielson , as well as on systems theory, to understand possible reasons for why this is the case. Drawing on both local historical sources and various theoretical approaches, we outline which constellations, structures, and semantic strategies proved decisive.