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Matthew Polly was your typical 98-pound weakling with sand kicked in his face - until he decided to learn to kick back. Dropping out of university, he travelled to China to study at the granddaddy of all Chinese martial arts monasteries: the Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of both Zen Buddhism and kungfu. But, as Confucius might have said, path to becoming kung fu master very difficult. For one thing, no one knew where exactly the Shaolin Temple was. And asking for directions proved problematic - after three years spent learning Mandarin in college, Matthew couldn't understand a word outside the classroom. He finally found the Shaolin village hidden away between five mountain peaks. But the hard part was yet to come. The Chinese term for tough training is chi ku (eating bitter) - and Matthew quickly leaned to appreciate the phrase. By the end of the second day of training his knees were in agony and he was walking like the dead - and that was just the induction. American Shaolin is the hilarious story of Matthew's remarkable two-year travel odyssey - a tale of gruelling training, forbidden romance and an eye-watering insight into the art of 'iron-crotch' kungfu.