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American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New Chinaby Matthew Polly
Synopses & Reviews
An aging amateur takes his shot at glory in the world of mixed martial arts.
As a younger man, Matthew Polly traveled to the Shaolin Temple in China and spent two years training with the monks who had invented the ancient art of kung fu. Fifteen years later, his weakness for Chinese takeout and Jack Danielandrsquo;s had taken its toll. Firmly into middle age and far removed from his past athletic triumphs, Polly decided to risk it all one last time. Out of shape and over the hill, he jumped headlong into the world of MMA.
In Tapped Out, Polly chronicles his grueling yet redeeming two-year journey through an often misunderstood sport. From Thailand to Russia, Manhattan to Las Vegas, Polly studied with the best trainers, concluding with a six-month fight camp at Randy Coutureandrsquo;s legendary gym. He explores the history of fighting sports and joins a fascinating subculture of men who roll around on sweaty mats with one another in appreciation of the purity of contained combat. And in the end, Polly straps on the gloves, gets into the cage, and squares off with a fighter fifteen years younger.
and#160;An honest and humorous look at a hard-core sport, Tapped Out is a fascinating look into the fastest growing sport in America and what it takes to be an MMA fighter.
Laced with humor and illuminated by cultural insight, this coming-of-age tale explores one young Americans quest to become a kung fu master at Chinas legendary Shaolin Temple. 8-page photo insert.
The raucously funny story of one young American?s quest to become the baddest dude on the planet (and possibly find inner peace along the way)
Growing up a ninety-eight-pound weakling tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas, Matthew Polly dreamed of one day journeying to the Shaolin Temple in China to become the toughest fighter in the world, like Caine in his favorite 1970s TV series Kung Fu.
American Shaolin is the story of the two years Matthew spent in China living, studying, and performing with the Shaolin monks. The Chinese term for tough training is chi ku (?eating bitter?), and Matthew quickly learned to appreciate the phrase.
This is both the gripping story of Matthew?s journey and an intimate portrait of the real lives of the Shaolin monks, who struggle to overcome rampant corruption and the restrictions of an authoritarian government. Laced with humor and illuminated by cultural insight, American Shaolin is an unforgettable coming-of- age story of one man?s journey into the ancient art of kungfu?and a poignant portrait of a rapidly changing China.
About the Author
Matthew Polly is an award-winning travel writer for Slate. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Polly has also written for Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation. He lives in New York.
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