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  • American Shaolin

  • Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
  • By: Matthew Polly
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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American Shaolin cover art

American Shaolin

By: Matthew Polly
Narrated by: George Newbern
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Summary

Bill Bryson meets Bruce Lee in this raucously funny story of one scrawny American's quest to become a kung fu master at China's legendary Shaolin Temple.

Growing up a 90-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 quixotic 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 Buddhism.

Expecting to find an isolated citadel populated by supernatural ascetics that he had 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 become.

Laced 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.

©2018 Matthew Polly (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Brilliant

I have read enjoyed this story of what life in China was like a few years ago, very interesting and worse than I thought.

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Insightful

Excellent reading and real story full of amazing experiences.
I feel like I have been on a journey!

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Takes me back to the glory days...

Loved this book. I trained in Lau Gar Kung Fu for about 7 years and this book brought back many memories of groin strains, sparring in competitions and the truths behind the myths. Highly recommended

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Loved this story

I accidentally stumbled across this book on Audible and was immediately hooked. What a wonderful adventure.

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way of the exploding crotch

I loved it. sooooo easy to listen to, I got through it in a matter of days. At the end he revisits his old training ground and wonders how he managed to survive two years without feeling so alone. I'm guessing he did feel that loneliness but our brains have a skill of filtering out the thoughts we don't want to remember.

Very funny, light hearted and very well narrated.

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life and times of an American as a Shaolin

Superb biography, a great listen! Rich stories and telling a life time of learning. Painful and true grit.

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Brilliant Listen

A great story, well narrated. I thoroughly recommend this, and not just to martial arts fans.

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Great listen

I really enjoyed listening to this book. It had a good amount of humour in his stories to keep it interesting.

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top banana story.

really enjoyed the insight into the behind the scenes of the Disney land shoalin temple.
Well narrated and good tempo story.

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wonderful storytelling

A wonderfully fun story with fantastic characters that draw you in. I found the narrator to be excellent too. Found myself smiling a lot throughout.

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