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A Fighter's Heart: One Man's Journey Through the World of Fighting Hardcover – January 2, 2007
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Sheridan joined the merchant marines after high school, eventually graduated from Harvard, and worked his way to Australia on a yacht. There, in 1999, he decided to indulge his fascination with fighting, hoping to test himself and explore what has become a mostly sublimated aspect of masculinity. After some months of training in Australia, he moved to Bangkok to train with a legendary Muay Thai (kickboxing) champion. That experience--and his first professional bout--expanded into a multiyear odyssey in which he trained with Olympic boxers, Brazilian jujitsu champions, and Ultimate Fighting combatants. The magic in his account is in the telling detail--not only about how he suffers, trains, and fights but also about his reactions to his surroundings; the way, for example, he finds himself gradually becoming indifferent to the street orphans of Brazil, desensitized by their very omnipresence. It isn't Sheridan's toughness or fearlessness that makes this an involving excursion into a shadow world; it's his ability to re-create the textures of those shadows and to make us care about his oddly quixotic journey. Wes Lukowsky
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Top customer reviews
As a writer, he provides real insight not just into the world of fighting but the world of men and why we go there. He is frank about his abilities and fears, and by the end of the narrative has come to a place of real humility and enlightenment.
I highly recommend "A Fighter's Heart." I'm looking forward to his next adventure.
Sam's adventures can be relevant even to those who are not particularly interested in martial arts and can appeal far beyond martial arts enthusiasts to anyone who has an interest in the human condition. From the perspective of the author as a student of numerous martial arts philosophies throughout the story, we learn the common denominator of all forms of combat in which humans play a part (even a few involving animals, like dog fighting). The author does not hide the grim reality of injuries that result from participating in these martial arts, as he receives a good deal of punishment in the course of learning, all of the events that transpire are in the spirit of exploration of the common denominator.
Activities the author studies range from Tai Chi to Muay thai to western boxing to Brazilian Jujitsu and beyond. When I began reading the book I was mildly interested in the author's experience studying Muay Thai abroad, my initial motivation for reading the book, but by the end I could appreciate in more depth the motivations of practitioners of violence from MMA fighters to pit bulls.
There are several major appealing factors of this book.
1) It attempts to make hand-to-hand combat relevant even to the non-fighter
2) The sheer scope of styles covered can be a draw to anyone with a general interest in martial arts
3) Even those who do not condone physical combat can appreciate the honesty of of the author in his quest for understanding the fighting spirit
4) The author is a great storyteller, and spins his yarn to engage and relate to the reader
I'm a poor reader, generally speaking, but I could not put this book down once I started reading it. I highly recommend it.
I never too much interest in fighting before a couple months ago, but I recently started doing muay thai (kickboxing) and a friend told me about this book. If you're not a fighter, but have ever wondered why people make such a fuss over these brutal spectacles, this book will give you a peek into the mind of a fighter. If you are a practitioner of combative sports, I think you'll be able to relate to Sam, his questions, and his adventures all the more.