Synopses & Reviews
An aging amateur takes his shot at glory in the world of mixed martial arts.and#160;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.and#160;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.
“I loved American Shaolin
“An original and insightful book.”—Boston Globe
“Polly is an easy amateur to root for.”—Entertainment Weekly
“It takes a special kind of person to leave the comforts of Princeton University and move to rural China to smash his forearms against tree trunks. Meet Matthew Polly.”—NY Post
“I picked up American Shaolin and read it straight through. It is first rate. Polly’s book tells more about what's going on in China and has more insights into the real China than anything in recent years. It is a wonderful true-life story with profound, behind-the-headlines observations about Chinese life. A tip of the Stetson to Matthew Polly.”—Dan Rather
andldquo;Polly earned my respect. He's got a ton of heart. He did the work and played the part.andrdquo;
andldquo;Matt Polly's andldquo;Tapped Outandrdquo; succeeds where all other MMA-related books fail: it tells a fight story for both the male and female reader.andrdquo;
andldquo;Tapped Out manages to humanize a sport once demonized as andldquo;human cockfightingandrdquo; by deconstructing the stereotype of the martial-arts tough guy.andrdquo;
andldquo;You have to give credit to the author for making a huge investment in proper training, the opportunity cost that he could have spent on more lucrative gigs, as well as the emotional pain Polly endured on the road to glory.andrdquo;
andldquo;Heandrsquo;s a fighter. Not just a writer.andrdquo;
manages to humanize a sport once demonized as andldquo;human cockfightingandrdquo; by deconstructing the stereotype of the martial-arts tough guy.andrdquo;--The New York Times
andldquo;You have to give credit to the author for making a huge investment in proper training, the opportunity cost that he could have spent on more lucrative gigs, as well as the emotional pain Polly endured on the road to glory.andrdquo;--TheSweetScience.com
andldquo;Heandrsquo;s a fighter. Not just a writer.andrdquo;--New Hampshire NPR
andldquo;The Best MMA Book of 2012.andrdquo;
andmdash;The Bleacher Report
andnbsp;andldquo;A vivid, breezy read.andrdquo;
andldquo;Pollyandrsquo;s self-deprecation in the painful learning process stands out as much as the witty prose. His delivery is Plimpton-esque.andrdquo;
andldquo;It is safe to say that if George Plimpton, the fellow who embodied participatory sports writing by pitching to Major League Baseball all-stars, playing quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and otherwise humiliating himself, were still alive, heandrsquo;d cringe at Pollyandrsquo;s endeavor.andrdquo;
andmdash;The Boston Globe
andldquo;Polly takes his training seriously, but as a writer, he never takes himself too seriously, which is one reason why his book works as well as it does.andrdquo;
andmdash;Bill Littlefield, NPRandrsquo;s andquot;Itandrsquo;s Only a Gameandquot;
andldquo;A gregarious and charming protagonist, Polly comes across as self-deprecating, yet his enthusiasm and passion for martial arts are unmistakable. Readers familiar with MMA will be gratified to hear how affable their heroes are and will recognize themselves in the authorandrsquo;s shoes. Those who previously lacked knowledge of this modern craze will respect both Polly, for undertaking this odyssey, and the fighters whose grueling training regimens he followed.andrdquo;
andldquo;Polly is hilarious as a narrator. He gets beaten, tossed, choked, and twisted like a dishrag on every page, yet maintains a humble sense of humor that is both charming and unique. Tapped Out is so in-your-face good youandrsquo;ll check your jaw for bruises.andrdquo;
andldquo;Pollyandrsquo;s memoir of a middle-aged, thoroughly out-of-shape couch potatoandrsquo;s quest to become a UFC-style cage warrior is one of the funniest yet most insightful books that Iandrsquo;ve come across in quite a while.andrdquo;
andldquo;Tapped Out is a knockout for MMA fans, who will laugh at the intimate portraits Polly sketches of some of the sportandrsquo;s most famous personalities. But it also works for those not familiar with the sport. It may even inspire you to start training. I say buy it and read it. You wonandrsquo;t be disappointed.andrdquo;
andldquo;In between throwing up on the subway following training sessions and getting yelled at by Xtreme Couture coaches for his terrible diet, Polly actually learned a great deal about this sport and its denizens, and the book is a must-read for any MMA fan.andrdquo;
andmdash;Ben Fowlkes, MMAFighting.com
andldquo;Tapped Out has a big heart that will make you enjoy its quirks as much as its virtues. Itandrsquo;s a delight to read and has a much greater mass appeal than most of its contemporaries. This book is a must-read for the MMA fan and a probably-should-read for everyone else.andrdquo;
andldquo;Matt Pollyandrsquo;s Tapped Out succeeds where all other MMA-related books fail: it tells a fight story for both the male and female reader.andrdquo;
andldquo;Polly earned my respect. Heandrsquo;s got a ton of heart. He did the work and played the part.andrdquo;
andmdash;Randy Couture, former UFC heavyweight championandnbsp;
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 the author of the national bestseller American Shaolin. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, his work has appeared in Esquire, Slate, and The Nation. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.