Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martia l Arts Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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“Polly earned my respect. He's got a ton of heart. He did the work and played the part.” — Randy Couture, former UFC heavyweight champion
“Matt Polly's Tapped Out succeeds where all other MMA-related books fail: it tells a fight story for both the male and female reader.” — MMAConvert.com
“You have to give credit to the author for making a huge investment in proper training, the opportunity cost that he could have spent on more lucrative gigs, as well as the emotional pain Polly endured on the road to glory.” — TheSweetScience.com
“He’s a fighter. Not just a writer.” — New Hampshire NPR
“Hypnotic…Tapped Out manages to humanize a sport once demonized as “human cockfighting” by deconstructing the stereotype of the martial-arts tough guy.”
--The New York Times
“You have to give credit to the author for making a huge investment in proper training, the opportunity cost that he could have spent on more lucrative gigs, as well as the emotional pain Polly endured on the road to glory.”
“He’s a fighter. Not just a writer.”
--New Hampshire NPR
“The Best MMA Book of 2012.”
—The Bleacher Report
“A vivid, breezy read.”
“Polly’s self-deprecation in the painful learning process stands out as much as the witty prose. His delivery is Plimpton-esque.”
“It is 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.”
—The Boston Globe
“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.”
—Bill Littlefield, NPR’s "It’s Only a Game"
“A gregarious and charming protagonist, Polly comes across as self-deprecating, yet his enthusiasm and passion for martial arts are unmistakable. Readers familiar with MMA will be gratified to hear how affable their heroes are and will recognize themselves in the author’s shoes. Those who previously lacked knowledge of this modern craze will respect both Polly, for undertaking this odyssey, and the fighters whose grueling training regimens he followed.”
“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. Tapped Out is so in-your-face good you’ll check your jaw for bruises.”
“Polly’s memoir of a middle-aged, thoroughly out-of-shape couch potato’s quest to become a UFC-style cage warrior is one of the funniest yet most insightful books that I’ve come across in quite a while.”
“Tapped Out is a knockout 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.”
“In between throwing up on the subway following training sessions and getting yelled at by Xtreme Couture coaches for his terrible diet, Polly actually learned a great deal about this sport and its denizens, and the book is a must-read for any MMA fan.”
—Ben Fowlkes, MMAFighting.com
“Tapped Out has a big heart that will make you enjoy its quirks as much as its virtues. It’s a delight to read and has a much greater mass appeal than most of its contemporaries. This book is a must-read for the MMA fan and a probably-should-read for everyone else.”
“Matt Polly’s Tapped Out succeeds where all other MMA-related books fail: it tells a fight story for both the male and female reader.”
“Polly earned my respect. He’s got a ton of heart. He did the work and played the part.”
—Randy Couture, former UFC heavyweight champion
About the Author
Matthew Polly is an award-winning travel writer for Slate. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Polly has also written for Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation. He lives in New York.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
By jumping head-first into the icy waters of competition, Polly undertakes a journey of transformation, leaving behind a hard-drinking, leisurely everyman to become a capable mixed martial arts fighter. There is, of course, the expected blood, sweat and tears of training, as well as an exploration of the physical and mental rigors of climbing into the ring and beating someone silly. But throughout the narrative there's also the author's newly-wed wife, a presence that colors Polly's odyssey with a perspective heretofore unseen in mixed martial arts books.
From a visit to Russia and a tournament featuring the legendary fighter Fedor Emelianenko, to the grueling workouts of ace jiu-jitsu and kickboxing coaches John Danaher and Kru Phil Nurse, to the nigh-sadistic tutelage of trainer Joey Varner in Las Vegas, Polly's passage into the realm of sanctioned unarmed combat is both illuminating and compelling, a George Plimpton-esque case study on what it means to be a man in a sport populated by fistic giants - and thanks to his wife, "Em", Tapped Out is also a treatise on what it means to be a husband in that world.
Like Polly's "American Shaolin" before it, Tapped Out has all of the author's usual wit and ease of prose. But unlike his two-year stint at that Shaolin Kung Fu temple in China detailed in Polly's first book, this tale involves mixed martial arts, a bout in a Las Vegas hotel ballroom, and a wife waiting at home to kick his butt. And that sets it apart from every other MMA star bio or historical text out there.
Buy it. Read it. Love it.
Tapped Out is a good crash course on the history of the sport, from a very UFC angle. It's enjoyable for those not familiar with MMA as it explains a lot of history and introduces many of the big players. It's entertaining for those into MMA because Matt scores some good interviews and offers an unflinching insider perspective. Of course, I'm biased, but it's a quick read, so I don't think you'll be disappointed, especially if you liked American Shaolin.
His style is impetuous, his defense is impregnable...oh wait, wrong guy.
His writing style is endearing and really draws you into the story. You find yourself rooting for him but his ability to be self-effacing keeps you from feeling he's an egomaniac.
I look forward to his next book.