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A Case of Contagious Legitimacy: Kinship, Ritual and Manipulation in Chinese Martial Arts Societies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 October 2003

Jeff Takacs
Ming Chuan University, Taipei


When he wrote his oft-cited work, Lineage Organization in Southeastern China (Freedman 1958), Maurice Freedman could say little about the nature of Chinese martial arts societies. ‘The boxing and music clubs were, as their names imply, groupings of recreation. The structural significance of these associations is not altogether clear’ (Freedman 1958:93). This paper aspires to make that situation somewhat less opaque. Chinese martial arts students under the same teacher are brothers. I don't mean this in a metaphorical sense, that they are ‘like’ brothers. They, at least in some Chinese martial arts groups, consider themselves to be kin.

Research Article
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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