The Five Tiger Stick Society: Pilgrimage, Local Religion and the Martial Arts

Kung Fu Tea

Daoist priests on Hua Mountain in the 1930s. Source: Photo by Hedda Morrison, Harvard digital archives.

An Unexpected Lunch

A friend from graduate school called during one of one of those terrible afternoons that only the month of February can conjure.  I was sitting in my windowless office at the University of Utah, ostensibly writing lectures for the semester’s new course preparations.  Half an hour later I found myself in a Chinese restaurant with my friend Whitney and his former Chinese language and literature professor who also happened to be in Salt Lake for the day.

The professor was a jovial older gentleman who was regaling us with the sorts of travel stories that one accumulates after bouncing around Asia for decades.  The company was excellent, the food was average, and before we left I decided to ask him about something that had come up.  At this point I had…

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