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Thread: Tapped Out by Matt Polly

  1. #31
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    Congrats Fa Xing!

    Marital and martial. Tricky balance. But then, all the best stuff is deploys tricky balancing acts.

    A 6-month Vegas trip, even for work, would still be a deal-breaker with my wife.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #32
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    Another review

    'Tapped Out’ and ‘The Voodoo Wave’
    On Sports
    January 08, 2012|By Bill Littlefield

    Not so long ago, John McCain characterized mixed martial arts as “human ****fighting’’ and called for it to be abolished.

    He lost that one, too.

    Mixed martial arts in various manifestations is available to anybody with a TV, a laptop, or a smart phone, and as far as Matthew Polly is concerned, that’s as it should be. He protests that even in the allegedly bad old days when the sport’s advertising hyperbolically claimed that there were no rules, “MMA fighters were free men voluntarily participating in a regulated, unarmed combat sport that at worst resulted in a broken hand or a concussion. MMA wasn’t as safe as golf, but it wasn’t Mexican knife fighting.’’

    In order to write “Tapped Out,’’ Polly explored mixed martial arts in several exotic venues, including Bangkok, where he watched two practitioners of a form of combat known as Muay Thai lock arms and take turns kneeing each other in the chest until said chests were “pulped like raw meat.’’ Compared to spectacles like that, the big business of mixed martial arts as it has flourished in the octagons of the United States may seem downright tame, and Polly does emphasize that despite lots of World Wrestling Entertainment-like trappings - dry ice and so on - the best practitioners of MMA, like the most successful boxers, are patient and tactically sound rather than pathologically violent.

    None of this explains why Polly felt that to write “Tapped Out,’’ he had to step into the octagon himself and face somebody determined to punch, knee, elbow, and otherwise pummel him until either Polly or the other guy “tapped out,’’ meaning surrendered. To understand that sentiment, it’s important to know that the author is no novice at getting kicked in the head. As a younger man he trained for two years with the Shaolin monks in China - men who beat their shins with sticks to turn those shins into more effective weapons with which to humble the foolish westerner. Polly has a taste for this sort of thing, and he puts himself in the hands of the staff at Xtreme Couture, the MMA gym and training center in Las Vegas, with at least as much enthusiasm as trepidation.

    It would be a heel to the nose to reveal the outcome of the event to which “Tapped Out’’ builds: Polly’s bout. Suffice it to say that readers of “Tapped Out’’ will learn a good deal about how the battlers of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and various MMA vehicles train, and how they regard what they do. It’s also 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, he’d cringe at Polly’s endeavor.
    I clipped the Voodoo Wave review. Follow the link if interested.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  3. #33
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    Another review

    Book Review: Tapped Out
    Submitted by Sports Nickel on Jan 12, 2012

    I’ve read a few MMA-related books in my time. Some of them serious, some of them funny, but Tapped Out Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts (long enough title there, buddy?) was both.

    Matthew Polly (the author) jumps head-first into the deep waters of MMA competition. Polly undergoes a long and arduous journey of transformation from a leisurely every-man to becoming a capable mixed martial arts fighter. And yes, there is the expected blood, sweat and tears of training, as well as the physical and mental battles of climbing into the cage and competing against a guy that wants to beat you silly. And judging from experience, Polly pretty much nails it. But throughout the book there’s also the author’s girlfriend-turned-newly-wed wife. She served as the comedic presence during Polly’s odyssey into the world mixed martial arts.

    His journey from a hard-drinking “noob” to something more than “noob” takes him from the New York MMA studios to Muay Thai camps in Bangkok. Polly also visits Russia and attends a tournament featuring the legendary heavyweight fighter Fedor Emelianenko, goes to a few workouts of ace jiu-jitsu and kickboxing coaches John Danaher and Phil Nurse, and to trainer Joey Varner in Las Vegas. All of which, were a joy to read. Through it all, Polly never fails to remain on his self-deprecating and informative narrator/protagonist path, adding to the story with the history of MMA’s development and rise to its current prominence, and balancing the tale with snippets about his relationship with “Em,” who goes from girlfriend to fiancé to wife over the course of his rise to becoming a MMA fighter. Polly’s journey into the realm of mixed martial arts is both illuminating (for those of you who don’t know what it takes) and compelling, and thanks to his wife, “Em”, Tapped Out is also a window into what it means to be a husband in that world. I could only imagine.

    TAPPED OUT is a knockout (see what I did there?) for MMA fans, who will laugh at the intimate portraits Polly sketches of some of the sport’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 won’t be disappointed.

    Rating: 8.5 / 10
    Long titles are Matt's style.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  4. #34
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    Gene; your boy's got an article up on Deadspin. Good stuff.

    http://deadspin.com/5880477/how-to-s...n-an-mma-fight

    There's a funny comment or two as well.

  5. #35
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    Nice find, wenshu

    Although I doubt Matt considers himself my 'boy'. In our Shaolin family, he's the shixiong and I'm the shidi.

    There's a podcast interview on Slate - follow the link to hear it.

    An Aging Amateur Enters the Octagon
    A new podcast about nonfiction books and their authors.
    By June Thomas|Updated Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, at 6:57 PM ET
    Listen to Episode 3 of Slate’s new podcast, The Afterword:

    At the age of 21, Matthew Polly dropped out of Princeton to study kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in China. Fifteen years and 100 pounds later, he decided to get back into shape to explore the world of mixed martial arts, now firmly entrenched as America’s most popular fighting sport. Tapped Out chronicles his two-year journey back to fitness, all the way to the night when he got into the cage to square off in a bout against a much-younger fighter. The discussion lasts around 25 minutes.

    For more on Polly’s journeys around the world, most of which involve a little martial arts training, check out his Slate travel series from Russia, Thailand, and Brazil.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  6. #36

    The Boy is Father to the Man

    In the states Gene is my big brother, especially when it comes to all things kung fu and Bruce Lee-related (hopefully more on that later). Some one said above that they enjoyed American Shaolin slightly better than Tapped Out. Off-the-record, I do as well. The difficulty with non-fiction is you have to deal with reality as it presents itself, and it is very hard to come up with anything crazier than iron crotch kung fu.

    Thanks everyone for all your comments and support.

    Amituofo,
    Matt Polly

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Although I doubt Matt considers himself my 'boy'. In our Shaolin family, he's the shixiong and I'm the shidi.
    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewPolly View Post
    In the states Gene is my big brother, especially when it comes to all things kung fu and Bruce Lee-related (hopefully more on that later).
    I just meant "your boy" as in "your friend" as in "Is that your boy?". (Link possibly NSFW).

    From the Deadspin write up:
    But the really wacky stuff happens when you sustain a concussion without losing consciousness. You can actually experience your senses shutting down. In my final MMA fight, in Las Vegas in 2009, I was clipped on the button with a right hook that made everything go dark. One moment I was in a ring with spotlights, the next everything was black, as if someone had hit the light switch. I was aware I was still standing but I couldn't see and I couldn't hear anything. My senses began to return. From a distance I heard a scary voice growl at me, "Get out!" It was like The Amityville Horror. "Get out!" Then another voice screamed, "Hands up! Circle! Get on your bike!" It took me a second to recognize it was the voice of my coach. I tried to circle but my right leg was numb. I dragged it around the ring, ducking blindly, until feeling returned. The end of the round saved me from a TKO. I still couldn't see, so the referee had to lead me to my corner. It wasn't until halfway through the minute break between rounds that the lights in the arena turned back on.
    I have experienced something similar except I wasn't getting paid to write a book about it. I was just being an asshole. Alcohol may have been involved.

  8. #38
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    Matt is the big bro

    He was at Shaolin first. His Shaolin book sold a lot more than my Shaolin book.

    No worries, wenshu. I got ya. Just gotta give respect where due, ya know?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  9. #39
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    Another review

    Tapped Out by Matthew Polly
    by Shawn Proctor | 02/28/12 |

    The pen may be mightier than the sword, but Matthew Polly decided to test whether a writer is tougher than an uppercut in Tapped Out. That’s a dangerous proposition for a Princeton grad, Rhodes Scholar, and self-labeled mixed martial arts (MMA) geek.

    Polly planned to spend a year in preparation before stepping into the ring against his unknown opponent. Luckily, Polly has some fight training. He spent two years learning techniques from Shaolin monks. But that was years and many pounds of fat in his past.

    And in MMA, which most people know through the Ultimate Fighting Championship, skilled kicks and punches are only half the battle. Submission and ground fighting add a whole different aspect to the sport. Essentially, the most successful fighters in modern MMA can fight standing or on the ground and anywhere in between.

    Where does that leave Polly on the scale between helpless kitten and grizzled combat expert? Somewhere closer to the former, which makes him the everyman trying the thing every man fantasizes about trying.

    But Tapped Out is no Rocky story. Look for inspiration elsewhere.

    It’s closer to the competition part of Old School, you know when Vince Vaughn is on the rings with a cigarette dangling from his lips. 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.

    This is the book for the older wannabe athlete as well as the casual UFC fan. It is the cautionary story for all those keyboard warriors and loud mouths on the message boards who quickly dismiss fighters after one poor match. And hardcore fans will thrill at the appearances by well known (and obscure) MMA luminaries, including Randy Couture, Georges St. Pierre, and Fedor Emelianenko.

    Rest assured the ten-page recounting of Polly’s fight is worth the wait. I suggest you watch the Youtube video after finishing the last page—his memory of the match is uncanny.

    For those who are tempted to look it up now, don’t. Like this book, Polly’s journey is the reward. He gains better health and an appreciation of the men who endure endless suffering in the gym, just so they can endure more suffering in the cage. In short, Tapped Out is so in-your-face good you’ll check your jaw for bruises.
    Next time I interact w/Matt, I should call him the 'helpless kitten'.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #40
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    Interview vid

    Matt Polly on HDNet's Inside MMA

    "kill the american!"
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Marital and martial. Tricky balance. But then, all the best stuff is deploys tricky balancing acts.

    A 6-month Vegas trip, even for work, would still be a deal-breaker with my wife.
    Likewise, Chiropractors often have weekend seminars there as most professions do, and I know that if I have to go she will come with me. Even if that means she misses work.

  12. #42
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    The paperback edition just debuted this Tuesday

    So you know what that means, right?

    Enter to win an Autographed edition of TAPPED OUT (paperback edition) by Matthew Polly! Contest ends 6:00 p.m. PST on 10/18/2012. Good luck everyone!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  13. #43
    You guys really need to start including Canada in these things. I am closer to you than anyone on the east coast. Our laws our similar and VERY compatible. Make it happen captain

  14. #44
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    Wish we could

    It's a shipping issue, as well as issues with international sweepstakes laws. Everything gets to be a hassle when you cross a border. And Canada, in particular, has rather harsh issues with martial arts imports. All of this adds up to way too much of a hassle for something we give away for free. Sorry.
    Gene Ching
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  15. #45
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    An interview by Matt for KungFuMagazine.com

    Matt interviewed noted playwright David Henry Hwang about his latest work based on the life of Bruce Lee, KUNG FU, for us. Read David Henry Hwang's KUNG FU by Matt Polly.

    BTW, we did award winners for that contest back in 2012. See our Tapped Out autographed by Matthew Polly winners thread. Not sure why I missed posting that here when it happened.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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