In answer to the above question I've come up with five reasons that the nascent field of Kung Fu studies has been so retarded.
- When Qigong fever got out of mainland China it really confused the issues of Kung Fu's origins with a false narrative.
- This particular BBC documentary focuses on Hong Kong, and manages to avoid getting caught up on the propaganda narrative of Chinese Nationalism dominant in both mainland China and Taiwan.
- The Western ideas of mystical energy, self-defense, moralistic non-violence, and the belief that categories must be clear and distinct-- all have played a roll in inflating, diminishing or obscuring some aspect of the actual history of Kung Fu.
- Buddhism exploded in the West, which amplified the 'Shaolin comes from Bodhidharma' narrative and tinted the glasses through which we look at everything Chinese.
- The traditional Chinese distinction between Orthodox and Heterodox religion was so 'foreign' to Western notions of religion that it took over 100 years of scholarship and cultural exchange to become comprehensible. (See here,... here,... here ... and here.)