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Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts Paperback – Oct 2 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (Oct. 2 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159240619X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592406197
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #867,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 33 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Tapped Out Succeeds Where Others Fail Nov. 17 2011
By jim genia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Matt Polly's "Tapped Out" succeeds where all other mixed martial arts-related books fail: it tells a fight story for both the male and female reader.

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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Who knew that violence could be fun? Nov. 18 2011
By Helen Crow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like fellow author Bill Bryson, like the best kind of teacher, Matthew Polly has a gift for explaining his subject with so much empathy for his readers that even the most unlikely martial arts fan (that would be me) gets caught up in his enthusiasm for violent one-on-one fighting. He builds perspective for his readers with whimsy and with rich details. He taps into such a broad range of interests and experiences for context that, as you read, it is impossible not to find yourself nodding along with various points, pausing for thought at others, deeply engaged in this book. You learn. That's satisfying. And, it's fun. This author's down-to-earth writing style adds to his readers' comfort. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) turns out to be a fascinating topic. Who knew? :) As this book draws you in, I predict you will find that you care (a lot) about MMA, or at least about learning about MMA, even if you (like me) couldn't stomach actually watching a fight in this lifetime. Most of all, you become a fan of Matthew Polly.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tapped Out Taps In Nov. 20 2011
By Gene Ching - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Matt Polly does for MMA what A.J. Jacobs did for the Bible in his NYT bestseller, The Year of Living Biblically. Once again, Matt immerses himself in his subject, putting his body on the line for an authentic experience of America's fastest growing sport. if you enjoyed American Shaolin, you'll like this too. Matt's wit and self-effacing honesty are still very present. In fact, in many ways, his 2nd work banks on the same formula - open with a fight, make a self-examining list, present character studies of exponents, encapsulate the history and explain some of the major techniques. At first, it struck me as too formulaic, but even though this is still about martial arts, it's the opposite side of the spectrum. It's the yang to American Shaolin's yin.

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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Matt Polly could win with one arm! Nov. 17 2011
By Daniel Stern - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An extremely enjoyable, entertaining, and educational read! As a pacificist reader, I found TAPPED OUT to be an ideal introduction to the erupting sport of MMA. Polly strikes a remarkable balance between entertaining memoir, informative description of martial arts, and an anthrologist's view of an intriguing subculture. He travels the world meeting the biggest names in the sport, from Fedor "the Last Emperoro" Emelianenko in St. Petersburg to the Brazilian Gracie's to Randy Couture in Las Vegas. He surpasses the typical journalist interview by training with these incredible athletes. Indeed, the book culminates with Polly fighting in an amateur tournament in Vegas against a man 15 years his junior -- though Polly has Randy Couture cornering him, which would be a bit like an amateur boxer being cornered by Mike Tyson. Polly tells the colorful history of MMA, including such classic tales as Royce Gracie's preference for a broken arm over surrendering ("Honestly, I thought I could still win with one arm."). Equally interesting are the people that Polly trains with and under, from Manhattanite professionals (a lawyer and a McKinsey consultant) to a former Columbia philosophy Ph.D. student turned jiu-jitsu coach.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Phenomenal Nov. 17 2011
By Shayna Gunn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For someone who knew nothing about MMA and had no interest in learning, I found Polly's book to be extremely engaging, even for a female reader. I was so inspired by his story, that I immediately went out and signed up for a boxing class. This is a great read for any MMA fan or just those looking to develop a new hobby. Highly recommended!!


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