The Hong Luck Kung Fu Club has been a fixture of Toronto’s Chinatown for over fifty years. Its curriculum includes not only self-defence skills, but also percussion music for accompanying martial arts demonstrations and lion dancing. Hong Luck’s blurred genre is a tool for preserving, transmitting, and promoting culture. At the same time, practitioners negotiate their identities in diverse ways. I thus interpret kung fu as a flexible, embodied practice whose purview extends beyond physical combat. Based on fieldwork at Hong Luck, this article uses cognitive semantics and phenomenology to demonstrate that kung fu, lion dance, and percussion help (re)construct Chinese identities emergently and strategically.
Le club de kung-fu Hong Luck est une institution phare du quartier chinois de Toronto depuis plus de cinquante ans. Son programme inclut non seulement des cours d’auto-défense, mais également des cours de percussion pour l’accompagnement des démonstrations d’arts martiaux et de danse du lion. Le style fluide du club Hong Luck est un outil important dans la préservation, la transmission, et la promotion d’un patrimoine culturel. Les membres y négocient simultanément leurs identités de différentes façons. J’interprète donc le kung-fu comme une pratique flexible et dont la portée dépasse le combat physique. À partir d’une enquête de terrain au club Hong Luck, cet article emprunte à la sémantique cognitive et à la phénoménologie afin de montrer que le kung-fu, la danse du lion, et la musique de percussion contribuent à (re)construire les identités chinoises dans leurs aspects émergents et stratégiques.
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Colin McGuire holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and a graduate diploma in Asian studies from York University. His research investigates the intersection of music and martial arts, focusing on how meanings are embodied in combative relationships of sound and movement. Previously, McGuire was a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Music at University College Cork, and he has published on the percussion used by practitioners of Chinese kung fu and lion dance in Canada, as well as the anthemic qualities of the most famous song in Hong Kong martial arts cinema. By hearing music as martial arts and listening to martial arts as music, McGuire contributes to broader discussions of diaspora, community, and identity.
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