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Salzman M 1986 Iron and Silk New York Random House This book was given to me by a goodfriend who knew that I had an interest in Asia I chose to read it because it was a true story and was told that itThe author travels to China as an English teacher for the Hunan Medical School There he stayed for twoyears picking up many anecdotes along the way The author already had spent a large amount of his life studyingChinese language and the martial arts However when he arrives in China he meets teachers who have dedicatedtheir entire lives to perfecting a particular art or skill whether it be martial arts or calligraphy Mark Salzman was perfecting his calligraphy skills and as weeks had passed he began to make progress He was getting tired of the models and wanted to try something new When he told Hai Binhis teacher hefrowned and saidSome people spend their entire lives researching a single model You should be willing tospend a year on this one This is an example of the dedication and perseverance these men have towards theirchosen artform or skill Another example of this theme was Marks Wushu teacher Pan who punched a fiftypound plate of steel up to ten thousand times a day Marks relentless practicing of the many forms of Wushu wasSalzman also showed that there was great oppression The people of China were under constantsurveillance and control Rarely were they able to make important decisions for themselves It was sad to see thatin a country with so many people there was so little freedom The government controlled everything from therailroad to the Rat Collection Office to whether families and friends could mourn for lost loved-ones Mark foundthis way of life troublesome yet he had stay strong and focused for his calligraphy and martial artsMark Salzmans Iron and Silk did a wonderful job of illustrating the people of China He brought to life acorner
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