Chinese fencing

To be honest I haven’t been able to really come up with a topic that I really like. For now though I’m thinking that it would be fun to study the culture of fencing in China. As a sport that really descends from the western tradition of sword fighting I am curious how and even if fencing fits into Chinese culture in any significant way. I’d also just like to get a feel for how fencing is viewed and understood in another country. What types of people in China take up fencing for instance, or what types of areas is it most popular in. I’ll be honest in that I’m also tempted to do this as an excuse to cross swords with some fencers from a different country, but I think that analyzing the mindset and culture of a sport I’m familiar with in a different environment would be a potentially rewarding project. It would give me a good starting point from which to compare and contrast. The nature of fencing competitions and tournaments would also give me access to a large group of people involved with the sport. This would make it potentially easier to get a large sample size for field work. As I am a registered member of the USA’s fencing organization it shouldn’t be too difficult to allow me to compete, and gain perspective from that end, but even if not, I could at least attend and spectate. China’s strong performances in the recent Olympic games is also something that has a bearing on fencing and I’d also think it would be interesting to see it has shaped the view of the sport in China, as well as the competitive environment of local fencing. Maybe some insight could be gained on how the sport is a sign of international access or a provider of it. The only down side of this is that I would probably then need to bring at least some of my fencing equipment. Depending on how much and what I have to bring this could be a potential logistics problem.

The other idea that I had, although I can’t seem to get it past the stage of a passing thought, is analyzing the role 圍棋(better known as Go in the US) plays in modern Chinese culture. I figured it might be interesting to gain insight into a type of social environment unfamiliar to me, and to get a feel for how a part of traditional Chinese culture is viewed and experienced in modern China. I’m really not sure where I’d take a project based on this, but I figured at this point it doesn’t hurt to just throw ideas out.