The now defunked US commercial magazine Inside Kung Fu ran from 1973 to 2011, and for a time was the only English language publication in the West covering the subject of traditional Chinese martial arts. Its central premise was to link the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts in the present age, with an idealised remote and bygone age within Chinese history, thus ignoring, misrepresenting and excising the modern State of Communist China from the minds of its readers. Although presented as a Chinese cultural-friendly magazine, it in fact pursued a rabid anti-Mainland China rhetoric, inspired by US Cold War anti-Communist rhetoric. Its articles were written primarily by White Americans with little or no direct cultural involvement with Chinese culture, and whilst purporting to represent ‘Chinese martial arts’, actually presented a Eurocentric view of what the ‘mysterious’ Chinese looked like to curious Westerners peering occasionally in the direction of the local Chinatown. The charade of apparent inclusiveness involved the magazine, at least in its first fifteen years or so, interviewing ethnic Chinese martial arts masters (living outside of China), and their Western students, whilst creating the false dichotomy that no traditional Chinese martial arts masters (or their arts) existed within the evil ‘Communist’ regime of Mainland China (see Master Xu Shiyou (许世友) [1905-1985] The Shaolin Monk who Became a PLA General). Inside Kung Fu could perpetuate this falsehood because none of the White Americans who ran it had any personal links with the country whose culture they routinely ‘mined’ to line their own pockets in the West. This fitted well with the already abundant anti-Chinese racism extant in the USA (see the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act), which was modified so as to suggest that Chinese people living in the West (implied capitalists), although not quite equal to White Americans, where nonetheless, more acceptable than Chinese people living in China (actual Communists). To add fuel to this bizarre form of racism that embraced one aspect of an ethnicity’s culture, (whilst actively rejecting its mother country), Inside Kung Fu ran the occasional ‘Pro-Tibetan’ article. These articles were pure fantasy appealing to the ignorant imagination of a Judeo-Christian audience that had little or no knowledge of either Tibetan or Chinese culture, or history. This is the same magazine that once run an article eulogising Hitler’s henchman – General Erich von Manstein – who, through his military expertise, temporarily slowed down the Soviet Red Army advance into Nazi Germany. It must be remembered that the USSR was an ally of the US during WWII, and was advancing into Nazi Germany from the east, whilst the USA and UK advanced (slowly) from the west. The US held its forces back at the time, allowing the Red Army to destroy the Nazi forces whilst suffering catastrophic loses.
All this historical and essentially racialised misrepresentation, fits well with Andrew Alexander’s excellent book entitled ‘America and the Imperialism of Ignorance: US Foreign Policy since 1945’, in which he explains that the Cold War was entirely fabricated by the US government, designed to turn (through misrepresentation) its own working class against Scientific Socialism, and any country that practised it. Inside Kung Fu was an important part of this falsification, aimed primarily at the demonisation of Mainland China, and the pursuance of White anti-Chinese racism by other means. Inside Kung Fu claimed that the US troops did not prevail during the Korean War because the ‘sneaky’ Chinese used ‘brainwashing’ techniques that took away their fighting spirit – this piece of theatre was extended to explain the US defeat in Vietnam, and to ‘mystify’ Sunzi’s Art of War (an ancient Chinese manual used by the Communists in a manner applicable to the modern battlefield). Interspersed between these articles, were the occasional sortie into the highly toxic world of White Christian fundamentalism – which saw prominent and/or high profile practitioners of Chinese martial arts in the West – stating emphatically that Chinese philosophical and spiritual culture (i.e. the theoretical underpinnings of Chinese martial culture) was not required in the practice of Chinese martial arts. Probably the greatest omission from the pages of Inside Kung Fu was the true history of the Chinese Nationalist government that had invaded and ruthlessly subjugated the people of Taiwan in the late 1940’s, as its military forces were defeated by Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army on the Mainland of China. This despicable regime came to power in 1912 (over-throwing the old imperialist regime), and immediately set about persecuting traditional Chinese culture and spiritual beliefs. The Nationalists did this because it viewed Western modernity as a model to follow in China, and this included a pro-Christian stance. The Nationalists pursued a ruthless policy of mass executions, and the demolition of Daoist and Buddhist temples throughout the country. All this was conveniently ignored by Inside Kung Fu, because Taiwan had become effectively an American controlled, anti-Communist colony. Also ignored was the fact that Taiwan was a fascist dictatorship until 1987, and that since the 1940’s this regime had pursued the anti-Communist ‘White Terror’ campaign of arbitrary execution for any Chinese people holding leftwing political viewpoints. However, perhaps the greatest omission of them all was the fact that Inside Kung Fu refused to publish any articles presenting the Nationalist regime’s attack upon the famous Shaolin Tempe in 1928, which saw the temple destroyed and many of its monks murdered. Instead, Inside Kung Fu continued to imply that it was the ‘Communist’ regime that had destroyed this temple. With more and more Westerners travelling to China and training with Mainland Chinese masters from the 1980’s onwards, Inside Kung Fu struggled on for a time, trying to accommodate this contradiction to its anti-Mainland imperative, and in its later years it became an apologist for mixed martial arts, and consisted mostly of pages of adverts. It was finally laid to rest in 2011.