In Black Dragon: Afro Asian Performance and the Martial Arts Imagination, Zachary F. Price illuminates martial arts as a site of knowledge exchange between Black, Asian, and Asian American people and cultures to offer new insights into the relationships among these historically marginalized groups. Drawing on case studies that include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s appearance in Bruce Lee’s film Game of Death, Ron van Clief and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Chinese American saxophonist Fred Ho, Price argues that the regular blending and borrowing between their distinct cultural heritages is healing rather than appropriative. His analyses of performance, power, and identity within this cultural fusion demonstrate how, historically, urban working-class Black men have developed community and practiced self-care through the contested adoption of Asian martial arts practice. By directing his analysis to this rich but heretofore understudied vein of American cultural exchange, Price not only broadens the scholarship around sites of empowerment via such exchanges but also offers a compelling example of nonessentialist emancipation for the twenty-first century.
“Black Dragon finally brings to light the underexamined legacy of Black/Asian American cultural history in American martial arts.” —Karen Shimakawa, author of National Abjection: The Asian American Body Onstage
“A richly chronicled history of the adoption and dissemination of Black martial arts in the United States.” —Shannon Steen, author of Racial Geometries of the Black Atlantic, Asian Pacific and American Theatre
“The most comprehensive and thorough treatment of Afro Asian martial arts to date.” —Bill Mullen, author of Afro-Orientalism