Upon graduating from Yale in 1982 with a degree in
Chinese Language and Literature, Salzman travelled with
his cello in tow to the industrialized city of Changsha
in China's Hunan Province to teach English and to continue
his study of wushu, the Chinese martial arts.
An accomplished writer, cellist and martial arts student,
Salzman spent two years as an instructor at Hunan Medical
College and studied wishu with a grand champion master.
This account, a series of vignettes, reveals the world
of each teacher and student who shared with him the
gift of the true nature and spirit of the Chinese people.
His accounts of the unaffected charm of the locals,
who marvel at his ghostly-white, three-dimensional countenance
and his startling fluency in the Chinese language will
charm the reader. Many, if not most residents of Changsha
and the surrounding countryside have never seen a foreigner,
much less met one who speaks Chinese and who is also
highly skilled in their indigenous martial arts. These
curiosities open many doors for Salzman, who is met
with a willing teacher or an eager student at every
turn. And those who do not entreat him to become either,
bestow heartfelt gifts upon him as a genuine show of
gratitude for the simple honor of having made his acquaintance.