Tagged: matthew polly

American Shaolin

american shaolin polly gotham books 2007American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly, 3/5

This memoir of an American college dropout who transforms from bullied to badass by studying kung fu with Shaolin monks in China is a fun read, if a little bit less interesting, less believable and dirtier than the author’s later book Tapped Out.

[Why I read it: I enjoyed the author’s other book a lot.]

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Tapped Out

tapped out polly gotham books 2011Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts by Matthew Polly, 5/5

This entertaining account of a middle-aged writer’s transformation from overweight fixer-upper with a distant background in kung fu to competent mixed martial artist is impossible to put down–I started it at 2am last night, meaning to read just a little before falling asleep, and the next thing I knew it was 2.5 hours later and I was on the last page.  Polly is a good writer with a great sense of humour and seems to know how to embellish a story without exaggerating it all out of proportion.  Famous figures in MMA appear throughout and I’ll admit to a few fan-girl squeals along the way.  Probably the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of kickboxing, grappling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu this year made the book even more enjoyable–a lot of Polly’s experiences as a beginner were hilariously relatable.  I enjoyed the book so much that I’ve already ordered Polly’s American Shaolin from the library.

[Why I read it: I came across it while looking for BJJ books in the library database.]