Epub cheapnikeshoes.co ✓ American Shaolin Flying Kicks Buddhist Monks and the

Bill Bryson meets Bruce Lee in this raucously funny story of one scrawny American’s uest to become a kung fu master at China’s legendary Shaolin Temple Growing up a ninety pound weakling tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas young 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 While in college Matthew decided the time had come to pursue this uixotic dream before it was too late Much to the dismay of his parents he dropped out of Princeton to spend two years training with the legendary sect of monks who invented kung fu and Zen BuddhismExpecting to find an isolated citadel populated by supernatural ascetics that he’d seen in countless badly dubbed chop socky flicks Matthew instead discovered a tacky tourist trap run by Communist party hacks But the dedicated monks still trained in the rigorous age old fighting forms—some even practicing the “iron kung fu” discipline in which intensive training can make various body parts virtually indestructible even the crotch As Matthew grew in his knowledge of China and kung fu skill he would come to represent the Temple in challenge matches and international competitions and ultimately the monks would accept their new American initiate as close to one of their own as any Westerner had ever becomeLaced with humor and illuminated by cultural insight American Shaolin is an unforgettable coming of age tale of one young man’s journey into the ancient art of kung fu—and a funny and poignant portrait of a rapidly changing China


10 thoughts on “American Shaolin Flying Kicks Buddhist Monks and the Legend of Iron Crotch An Odyssey in the New China

  1. says:

    There are five compelling reasons why I shouldn't have liked this book1 It's about martial arts and Jack my husband and I are uakers As in pacifists 2 It's about a sport I was the smart kid who had her period every week throughout high school so she could avoid playing volleyball3 A man wrote it 4 It's about China Africa and the Middle East are my anthropological areas of expertise and ergo what I read about because I can tell when somebody's lying5 It's about a rich white guy from the American Midwest who decides Princeton is too shallow and he really needs to find himself by discovering the Exotic Other someplace else Every ethnographic nerve in my body bristles when Americans discover themselves on other people's backs Also people with opportunities others can only dream about who throw them over to become enlightened really need to go work for the Red Cross for a year Or volunteer at a battered women's shelterAnd the reason I picked this book up in the first place? I liked the cover Yes I knowBut it's FUNNY And altruistically cynical Hey like calls to like He's got a lovely way of delivering a punchline haha using deadpan dry caustic witThere are two incidents recalled in it that I'm now beginning to believe are standard to every exchange student's experiences 1 waking up in the hotelhostel to find someone you don't know standing over your bed with That Look in the eye and 2 being so lonely for the sound of your own language that you hold complete conversations with imaginary people or yourself And that you do this so often you forget and do it on the street which causes people to shun youI awoke in Hungary with someone I knew I could not best if it came to a wrestling match holding a bottle of vodka starting at me with That Look Since we shared no common languages it was very hard for me to convince her that while I was certain she was an intellectual soulmate and I admired her muscles er figure and if I weren't in fact about to flee the country we probably would have had meaningful things to say to one another well gosh darn it given the current circumstances it was best to decline courteously both the explicit offers her body language was makingThe down side is he doesn't respect the women in the book; they're straight men well to his jokes and his own personal agenda of searching for enlightenment Girls don't get enlightened in this book; they get screwedOther than that Mrs Lincoln Dear Author if you hadn't been so unenlightened about the women I'd have given you five stars So there


  2. says:

    This book was so phenomenal that I wrote a thank you note to the author The way he wrote it makes him so likable and human that I didn't want it to end He becomes a badass by force of sheer will and that's always one of those things I want to hear is possible The big bonus was learning so much about the Chinese culture I didn't realize it until I was listening to a story on NPR about 'The New China' and I thought Yeah I know all about those customs and traditions Even if you don't love martial arts you'll love this book If you like martial arts this book will be dangerously inspirational


  3. says:

    This was a fun story I wanted to give it 25 stars but the cultural insensitivity lowered it for me I liked the author's self effacing and simultaneous self promoting style But I was never able to fully suspend disbelief about how successful and loved and accepted he was being the only non Chinese in a town full of 10000 Shaolin practitioners It wasn't too gory and only glorified violence a little It completely hooked me all the way through but I hate that this is the kind of American who represents me abroad No wonder we are despised world wide


  4. says:

    I hated this book Rather than being culturally sensitive this asshole woke up 10 years after his experience and decided he wanted to make some money so he wrote this book He's totally ignorant and doesn't even use the principles he SHOULD have learned from what SHOULD have been an incredible experience He gives people who do follow this way of life a bad name Asshole


  5. says:

    the cover picture captured me i do sometimes judge a book by its cover and in this case the contents matched the goofiness at least initially i really enjoyed his writing for much of the book here is this person who goes to learn from Shaolin monksthat's such a little boy dream thing to do he interacts with the people he meets and makes a story out of small encounters he describes his training the distinct personalities and hopes of each key monk daily life at the temple the competition he enters and performs well in he is funnyBUThe was also smugly annoying here is this person who goes to learn from Shaolin monksan incredibly expensive venture that his family is rich enough to provide funds forwhat parent would front that kind of money for a whim??? either they're the kind that buy his love or he nagged them into it he tells you how much it costs ridiculous wastealso his dealings with the women of China were all unsavory these girls are raised in a male centric culture where a good marriage is the goal he takes up with no intention of marriage just to 'relieve pressure'what an a hole rather than impacting and ruining yes ruining these girls' lives he should have stuck to self pleasure didn't we learn it's not shameful any? maybe he didn't have enlightened health classes he wrote a vivid passage about one of these encounters that was ethereally beautiful but not enough to cover the fact that he was deceiving the young lady gah he's a jerki'd recommend this book for its humor but you'd enjoy it if you weren't as uptight about wasted money and a holes who take advantage of the disadvantaged in upbringing cultural freedoms economically etc as i seem to be


  6. says:

    Why is it that only disillusioned rich white kids who drop out of Ivy League schools that they aren't even paying for because Daddy's footing the bill all go on to lead these neat ass adventures and fulfill lifelong dreams? oh wait it's because Daddy's paying for their dreams Polly's a hack and a chump


  7. says:

    When Matthew was a teen he made a list of things about himself that he didn’t like – and then went about changing those things His first accomplishment was educating himself and becoming an intellectual From there he went on to tackle his cowardice – by going to China and studying kung fu in a Shaolin templeIt was a lot harder than he’d expected He met with resistance from his family – they wanted him to finish college and difficulties finding the temple once he’d reached China and was faced with hours of training every day – which was initially very painful and exhausting Matt came away having learned a lot than just kung fu Although he knew some Chinese Matt was not educated in Chinese culture and had to pick up a lot on the fly Polly is now fluent in many things Chinese vulgarities dirty jokes bargaining male friendships debts and call girls just to name a few After training in traditional forms for a number of months Matt was able to observe a shanda Shaolin kickboxing match He became interested and encouraged his school to start up their own shanda team and training program by holding them up against the competing school in a rather unfavorable light Matt took to shanda like nothing the monks had seen Once he got over his fear of being beaten he rapidly mastered all of the kicks punches and throws His trainer told him he had never seen someone particularly a laowai or outsider progress so uickly and then arranged to have him compete against the finest shanda fighters in the worldMatt eventually makes it through other items on his list and adds new things to work on finally realizing that there will always be room for improvement and his list will never be completeA friend of mine pointed out that this is pretty much every guy’s dream You go off to some remote temple and learn to be a complete bad ass And after that either no one messes with you or those that do come to regret it I don’t think it’s a completely male attitude either – we all want to be invincible inviolate eternal in some way Some of us just make it physical American Shaolin was a really fascinating look at Chinese culture – going beyond kung fu and really allowing readers to get to know and understand some of the people While Matt’s personal story was interesting his descriptions of the place and the people of China were far intriguing and entertaining I mean how can a laowai compete with someone who studies iron dong kung fu? Don’t answer that If you’ve ever been interested in martial arts or training to be the biggest bad ass around however this might suit your tastes exactly And for those of us who like a taste of other places and cultures this will leave you wanting to know much much about China


  8. says:

    This book caught my attention several years ago due to my interest in Shaolin kung fu I read it uickly and found it uite delightful; the tale is of a young American who leaves university to travel to China with an interest in albeit temporarily living as a monk He arrives in a particular province I can't remember its name just that it began with d and after acuainting himself with locals and picking up a few anecdotes to tell the reader one of which has to do with locals believing he is some kind of mythical creature and that he is blind because of his blue eyes travels to the Shaolin Temple to train under the monksAfter trying hard living and not liking it he ends up in a reasonably priced hotel where he remains for several years if I can remember correctly As I said I read it a while ago The rest of his book actually describes the martial arts practice in relatively little detail and examines themes such as cultural differences between the West and China; China US relations; Chinese life under the Communist regime; the emergence of a capitalist market in China; his relationships with the men at the Shaolin temple whom he calls his brothers; his attempts to date local women and the prejudices of the Chinese against the laowai the Mandarin term for foreigner which he learns after winning second place in a local tournament And of course what needs to be mentioned is his bizarre experience of being offered to opportunity to become immune to pain in his groin by having it battered until the nerve cells are dead a practice in kung fu known as 'Iron balls' which he thankfully rejects He then finally makes his departure to AmericaIn an epilogue he returns to China to find the Temple dead and the local area commercialised for the enjoyment of tourists The Chinese government wasn't big on Kung Fu but realised it was an opportunity to bring in Western money by the bucket load so changed its mind The changes are completely to his dismay and he has a long rant about what has happened blaming tourists in large part to his blatant hypocrisy But he finds hope in an elderly man who has dedicated his life to Kung Fu and realises that the Shaolin tradition is far from deadThis review doesn't do the book justice If you are interested in China or Kung Fu I'd definitely recommend it It was enjoyable and did touch my heart It is not brilliant but it is not your typical 'American youth travels to China to find himself' story My interest in Kung Fu is now gone and I doubt I will read it again but it will always have a place on my shelf


  9. says:

    I read this book a long time ago so my apologies for writing this review from memory But I had to say I loved this book Don't take it too seriously it's not trying to be a major spiritual journey through martial arts and the Chinese cultures it's trying to be funny I first picked it up off the shelf because at the time I was a Wushu practitioner I opened to a random page where the author is practicing with something called a 7 sectional whip or chain you don't whip it Indiana Jones style you swing it around with a beautiful woosh woosh sound This weapon was my specialty weapon for performances and I am very proud of the fact because I had to be uite aggressive and win many arguments with my renowned instructor to be allowed to learn the weapon in the first place being that I'm female and it's not traditionally a woman's weapon Being white probably didn't help either But I ended up excelling by some fluke of odd chance and I love this weapon dearly On the page that I first turned to of this book the author is practicing with this weapon when a pretty girl walks by As he's mentally stroking his ego he smacks himself in the face with the 7 sectional You must believe me that this probably hurt a LOT I laughed so hard I think I got a few looks in the bookstore and I knew I had to buy it I wasn't disappointed it made me laugh uite a bit


  10. says:

    I had a lot of fun reading this memoir about Bao Mosi and his mad kungfu skills It's cool how he speaks Chinese so well I like his honesty He's not afraid to look kind of ignorant or silly when he describes events in the book Love that I read a review that said something like a good book but I'm sad that this is the kind of person who represents Americans abroad I have to respectfully disagree with that I thought Matt was exactly the type of person I'd want representing America abroad he was willing to learn Chinese and adopt the ways of life of the Chinese people he lived with even holding hands with one of his monk friends while walking down the street He was very adaptable to his situation and he never knowingly let himself be taken advantage of because he wasn't Chinese He respected the people and customs and grew to love them Matthew Polly rocks The Shaolin Monks rock I loved learning about the Chinese culture and their language through the eyes of a fellow American and a very funny one