The purpose of my research is to examine why performers configure their bodies to music in the way that they do. My study will focus specifically on Kung Fu performances which use music to accompany the action; this will include both live demonstrations at the Shaolin Temple in Songshan, China - which I will explore ethnographically through fieldwork - and action sequences created for Chinese martial arts films. In particular, I aim to investigate how Chinese martial arts performers challenge, reaffirm and shape national, ethnic and gender identities through bodily interaction with music, and how the combinations of music and movement in Kung Fu performances contribute to narratives of the self. Because there are an infinite number of ways in which to interact with music through the body, I am intrigued as to why Chinese Kung Fu performers choose their particular combinations of music and movement: do the performers totally ignore the music’s presence (as, for instance, in the collaborative works of choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage) or do they bind themselves to the music via temporal, spatial, dramatic and stylistic analogies – and why? By talking to members of the community at the Shaolin Temple in China and by studying interviews with composers, directors and choreographers of Chinese martial arts films, I hope to understand Chinese martial artists’ bodily interactions with music as a form of engagement with the conflicting fantasies projected onto them by the complex transnational community to whom they perform. Thus, how moving bodies and music assert themselves on one another in martial arts performances on stage or screen will come to be understood in terms of a negotiation of what it means to be a man, a woman and a Buddhist in China.