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Thread: Tapped Out by Matt Polly

  1. #16
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    NHPR Interview

    Click the link for the interview.
    Word of Mouth - Segment
    12:43 pm
    Tue November 29, 2011
    He's a Fighter, Not Just a Writer
    By Virginia Prescott

    Listen
    0:16 / 11:59

    Who doesn’t love an underdog? A Rocky in the ring? With the audience for boxing eroding, the new ring is an octagonal cage. In popularity and profits, mixed martial arts, or MMA, has knocked out boxing in the past decade. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, MMA’s flagship event, was sold for two million dollars in 2001. Today, it’s worth an estimated one billion. Our guest today is a definitive UFC underdog. He’s a writer who dove George Plimpton-style into the grueling world of MMA and landed in the octagon.

    Matthew Polly tells the story of his odyssey in a new book called Tapped Out.
    See also Tapped Out, Matthew Polly - 9781592405992
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #17
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    Just watched Matt's MMA fight on youtube. Very nice movement and timing from Polly. He dominated.

  3. #18
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    You ought to read the book version of it, ShaolinDan

    It's interesting to get inside Matt's head for that fight.

    BTW, our Tapped Out autographed by Matthew Polly winners have been announced.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #19

    Glad you liked it

    To Kevin93,
    Thanks for the kind words about the book!

    To Fa Xin,
    I studied San Shou, which is kickboxing with throws. So the kicks were the easiest to pick up and my takedown defense was good. But san shou has subpar boxing, so I had to work on that. The biggest difference is their is no ground fighting in san shou, so the hardest part was learning Brazilian jiu jitsu. I got better, but I was still a novice at the end of two years.

  5. #20
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    Only a Game interview

    There's a 10+ min interview if you follow the link.
    ‘Tapped Out’
    Saturday, December 10th, 2011
    Listen

    In Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts, Matthew Polly intersperses entertaining anecdotes from his own stint in mixed martial arts with the history and background of the sport. He interviews stars like as Fedor Emelianenko and Randy Couture, and includes his own honest and eye-opening account of training and fighting at some of the top facilities in the world.

    __

    Bill’s thoughts on Tapped Out:

    All sorts of writers have endured all sorts of pain and suffering in order to better know their subjects, but most of them haven’t had to get punched in the nose. Or kicked in the knee.

    Matthew Polly decided that he couldn’t write knowledgeably about mixed martial arts and those who engage in same without training to climb into the octagon and then actually fighting somebody who was trying to beat him up. Tapped Out presents the story of his journey into at least the outer fringes of “the world of MMA.” (“The outer fringes,” because he didn’t gobble steroids or suffer brain damage in pursuit of the story.) He was better equipped to go there than most men on the cusp of middle age. He had trained years earlier with Shoalin Monks in China…men who beat their shins against trees in order to render said shins better weapons when they kicked Matthew Polly.

    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.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #21
    Mega respect man, I will be getting this book!

    I don't agree with the reviewer though:

    “the world of MMA.” (“The outer fringes,” because he didn’t gobble steroids or suffer brain damage in pursuit of the story.)
    That's a stupid thing to say really ^^

  7. #22
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    Just picked up copies of "American Shaolin" and "Tapped Out." Looking forward to them.

  8. #23
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    Finished my last final today for Immunobiology, so now I get to read Tapped Out. I loved American Shaolin, so this is probably gonna be just as good.

  9. #24
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    SI recommends...

    I only cut&pasted the part about Matt's book. There's more recommendations if you follow the link.
    Posted: Tuesday December 20, 2011 3:57PM ; Updated: Tuesday December 20, 2011 3:57PM
    Jeff Wagenheim>INSIDE MMA
    For the MMA fan who has it all

    In this season of giving, what gift should you wrap up and adorn with a colorful bow for the mixed martial arts fan who has everything?

    You can call your special someone's cable or satellite company and see if it'll sell you a season pass for the year's pay-per-view telecasts. I've never heard of such a subscription, but I can't imagine Comcast or DirecTV brushing you aside when you come calling, wallet in hand. Those pay TV folks love watching money flow in through the coaxial cable, and a whole lot of it would be headed their way if you purchased a year's worth of PPVs. Consider this: Next week's UFC 141 will be the fight promotion's 16th PPV of 2011, and at $55 a pop, well, you do the math.

    For a little less cash, you can send your loved one to a UFC event. That'll still run you a few hundred bucks, though, even if the fight card is in your hometown and requires no plane ticket or hotel room. Yes, you can get in the building for less than a C-note, but you don't want to just get in the building. I've sat within blood-splattering distance from the octagon, and I've sat high in the rafters, and there's no comparison. Don't make your gift recipient squint at a couple of ants sparring in the distance. Let him or her really experience the fights.

    Actually, if a true-to-life pugilistic experience is the ideal, why not give your gift recipient the feeling of really being in the cage? The sweaty soreness of training in multiple fighting disciplines. The butterflies and general uneasiness -- hello, weight cut -- as the bout approaches. The fight-night reality check in the form of stinging immobilization from kicks to the thigh and ribcage, the bitter mixture of pain and disorientation from punches to the head.

    If that last possibility sounds like more than your friend can handle, you're still in luck. Matthew Polly has taken those kicks to the body and punches in the face so you or your loved one don't have to. In his new book, Tapped Out ($26, Gotham Books), Polly puts himself through months of training leading up to an MMA fight, and he's a vivid enough writer that you can share the whole episode vicariously.

    It might have a longwinded subtitle -- Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts -- but this book is a breezy read. Polly has followed MMA since the inception of the UFC but is by no means an insider, so his prose is laced with irreverent observations that never devolve into either idolatry or cynicism. And lest you think this Ivy Leaguer and Rhodes Scholar is a crazy man for undertaking this challenge, you should know it's not the first time he's tested his body, mind and spirit. Polly's first book, the 2007 New York Times best-seller American Shaolin, recounted his two years in a Chinese temple studying kung fu with Buddhist monks.

    But Polly was a college student while researching American Shaolin. For Tapped Out, he's 37 years old with a pear-shaped physique that one of his early coaches compares, with all due irony, to that of Fedor Emelianenko. To overcome the ravages of time, the author works with the best coaches he can find. He starts in New York at the Renzo Gracie Academy, working on jiu-jitsu with John Danaher, who also helps train some guy named Georges St-Pierre. Polly hones his standup game with another NYC-based GSP coach, Phil Nurse, and travels to Bangkok for Thai boxing and to Russia to observe a sambo competition. While in St. Petersburg he performs what might be an unprecedented MMA feat: teasing Fedor out of his monosyllabic introversion by engaging "The Last Emperor" in a playful, if brief back-and-forth about how a hypothetical grappling match between Emelianenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who trains in judo, might turn out.

    Polly's humor is subtle, not forced. His inner conversation is honest. These are the things that propel the book forward, through his weeks of training at Xtreme Couture, the Las Vegas gym of UFC legend Randy Couture. When fight night arrives, you feel the nervousness the author feels. At the same time, he's still outward-looking, observant and even protective. He appreciates having training partners and friends present to support him, he writes, but insists that his parents stay away because, if he was taking a beating, "my mother might jump in the ring and go mama grizzly on my opponent." I won't say what happens in Polly's bout, other than to share his observation that he was hit so hard that "high school algebra disappeared forever."

    Who needs algebra, anyway? To my way of seeing, reading is way more fundamental, and the value of a good read like Tapped Out is immeasurable.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #25
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    Hey Gene

    I just finished it and I have to say that it was one of the better books that I've read recently, textbooks notwithstanding. Anyways, I started reading it after my finals were over, and it was really entertaining. Honestly, I found Matthew just as relate-able in this book as I did in American Shaolin. Like Matthew I spent 2 years of my early twenties in a Buddhist monastery (not Shaolin, though) and found certain aspects that reminded me of my time there.

    As I enter my thirties, I have recently married and found it entertaining to read Matthew's adventures in getting married himself, as well as getting engaged. Matthew describes things that happen in a light and witty that made me laugh and wake up my wife while she was sleeping.

    While your predominant hardcore MMA fans who are into big trucks, tattoos, and drinking Monster energy drinks will probably not find it so interesting; those of us martial arts geeks will find it enjoyable and light read especially when you're wife wants you to stop bugging her about training.

    I highly recommend this autobiographical presentation of MMA training, as it gives a close personal touch to some of the well-known names in the MMA world, and especially the UFC. I hope this gets a big plug from the likes Randy Couture, Joe Rogan, and Dana White (hallowed be his name ).

  11. #26
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    Glad you enjoyed that, FX

    Here's some reaction to Matt's Only a Game interview posted above.

    Listeners’ Emails, Tweets, Facebook Posts
    By Bill Littlefield | Saturday, December 24th, 2011

    ...

    Jeff Tracy of Lockport, New York, wrote to say he was confused that in last week’s program we had presented what he termed “an excellent piece on fighting in hockey” and “a story on ultimate fighting,” which would have been my conversation with Matthew Polly about his new book, Tapped Out.

    “My point is this,” Mr. Tracy wrote. “Sport is good. Fighting is bad. Your broadcast created a mixed message: fighting is bad in one arena and good in another one. Let’s leave fighting to the Rock ‘Em – Sock ‘Em Robots.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Here's some reaction to Matt's Only a Game interview posted above.


    Just goes to show that you really can't trust someone who's never been in a fight.

    How quickly we forget the lessons we learned from Fight Club...

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    It's interesting to get inside Matt's head for that fight.

    BTW, our Tapped Out autographed by Matthew Polly winners have been announced.
    Yes, it is interesting. Never would have guessed he was 'in trouble.' Even re-watching the fight now, I can't really see it, guess it was lucky round 1 ended when it did. Certainly (as mentioned in your interview) Polly downplays his previous experience...
    Anyway good, funny book. I enjoyed 'American Shaolin' a bit more, but I'm a skinny, unmarried, kung fu student, so it was easier for me to relate to (though I'm certainly closer in age to Polly in 'Tapped Out').

  14. #29
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    Matt's discussion of his new wife was really entertaining to me

    When I first met Matt, we were both bachelors, but I was engaged. His comments about juggling marriage and training were very amusing to me.

    I look forward to meeting his wife someday. She must be very... tolerant.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    When I first met Matt, we were both bachelors, but I was engaged. His comments about juggling marriage and training were very amusing to me.

    I look forward to meeting his wife someday. She must be very... tolerant.
    I had the same experience while reading it, being recently married (Aug 2011), it was interesting to read that she let him go to Vegas of all places for 6 months.

    My wife would have told me that plumbing is a good job to have....

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