Re-Thinking the Importance of Comic Martial Arts

My new book uses the idea of a YMCA Consensus. That is, after the Boxer Uprising all the voices of reform and Modernity can be understood as conforming to a Protestant Christian notion of religion and the state. There were three or four categories of thought that martial arts reformers subscribed to, but they were all within the YMCA Consensus. They all agreed that martial arts had to be separated from the gods and immortals. They all agreed that temple-festival martial arts were a cause of China's suffering. They all agreed that some forms of theatricality degraded the martial arts--demonstrations of invulnerability being number one on the list.

Based on my research, that is settled. But I am rethinking comedy martial arts. Comedy has a potent ability to transgress anything and everything. I have been reading Christopher Rea's book and I highly recommend this video of him showing videos of the connection between American Vaudeville and Chinese Comic Theater. While I'm thinking this through, check out the video! It is a lot of fun! 

Slapstick performance and trick cinematography dominated early global cinema. People climb into boxes and are tossed around; they jerry-rig all manner of dwellings and conveyances; they leap out of windows, crash through doors, dangle from clock towers, and slide down staircases; they appear and disappear like ghosts.

More Christopher Rea interviews and stuff, here, here and here.