American Shaolin : Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch - An Odyssey in the New China

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-12-27
  • Publisher: Gotham

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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 Shaolinis 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 Shaolinis 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.

Author Biography

Matthew Polly is an award-winning travel writer for Slate. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes scholar, his work has also appeared in Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
The First Stepp. 13
Lost in Transplantationp. 21
Sleeping Beautyp. 31
Kungfu Worldp. 43
Lights, Camera, Actionp. 55
A Coke and a Smilep. 63
Defectionp. 69
Eating Bitterp. 75
The Show Must Go Onp. 89
Chinese Medicinep. 99
Roommatesp. 109
Shaolin's Championp. 123
The Sacred and the Profanep. 135
Kickboxingp. 151
Media Mattersp. 163
Iron Forearm Boyp. 169
Taiwan Tunesp. 179
Playing Handsp. 185
Crazy Negotiationsp. 193
Taking a Beatingp. 205
Happy Endingsp. 211
Iron Crotch Kungfup. 217
Getting Schooledp. 233
The Sixth Racep. 237
Dirty Jokes and Beerp. 247
Pride and Penancep. 255
Another Americanp. 265
Challenge Matchp. 275
Mistress Managementp. 287
Tournamentp. 301
No Problemsp. 325
The Western Spearp. 335
Endingsp. 339
Epilogue: Shaolin Reunionp. 345
Author's Notep. 363
Acknowledgmentsp. 365
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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