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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 11 January 2009
It's already been mentioned on the reviews but again, I have to agree with Jamie's review - the book is well written by an obviously talented writer but I very much lost interest in the book once I reached the chapter on dog fighting - as Jamie said in his review - not really sure what this had to do with MMA / martial arts apart from the fact that Brazilians seem to enjoy this blood "sport" and that imagery of dogs seems to be used as logo's for a number of BJJ clubs and / or club brands / names - otherwise, this chapter very much lets the book down in my opinion. I did in fact skip the whole chapter on dog fighting because I just do not agree with it. What a shame Sam Sheridan let himself down with that one chapter in what is otherwise an interesting book.
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on 4 September 2007
This is a book that is very hard to give a star rating. It has some very good points and it deals with its main subject very well. Sam Sheridan describes the training and fighting lives of MMA, Muay Thai and Western boxing fighters with a good deal of insight and in interesting detail. This is the stated subject matter of the book and if the author had restricted himself to this area, or if he had had a better or more forceful editor, the book would be a lot better for it.
However, when Sheridan strays away from this area the book becomes extremely weak, sometimes to the point of being offensive. When he tries to deal with the antropological and sociological roots of (mostly) male violence he presents a very simplistic argument. In fact, he basically just quotes very short extracts from what must be much larger and more complicated texts and seems to think he has done the job, as it were. If he wasn't going to deal with this area in the complexity it deserves he should have left it out altogether.
The most serious problem I have with the book, however, is the large amount of time the author spends discussing dog-fighting. The subject of dog-fighting is not mentioned anywhere on the book jacket and it has been included because the author seems to think that we can learn something about human fighting sports and arts from it. The arguments he uses to support this are simply ridiculous! The connections he tries to make between dog fighting and boxing, MMA etc just don't stand up to any kind of logical analysis. In the chapter concerning dog-fighting he continuously makes a contection with men fighting in that it is a test of "gameness". He makes no mention of the simple fact that dogs do not have a real choice in whether or not they fight. At the end of the chapter he backs out of a Lethwei ( a particularly tough kind of Myanmarese bare knuckle kick boxing ) because he gets a slightly bad feeling about the promotor. This illustrates just why you cannot compare fighting sports with dog-fighting. Can a dog back out because he gets a "bad feeling" about this one? Does the author think that he turned cur because he backed out of a fight and that he should therefore be culled or does he feel that he made an intelligent choice. I feel that dog-fighting is essentially a disgusting activity that is engaged in basically for money and so that certain people get to see blood spilled but even more than that in this context, it is irrelevent and riduculous to waste about 40 pages of this book on. The author talks about "the responsiblity to experience everything" and the fact that dog-fighting will go on with or without his support. It's hard to think of a more immature attitude. We all have to make choices as to what we believe is right and wrong. How far does the author's responsiblity to experience everything extend, Murder, Rape...you get the point. The "repsonsiblility to experience everything" argument is used when people want to experience something they problably believe is wrong just for the titilation.
All this is a pity because the main subject of the book is, like I have said, dealt with very well. The book just needed a good editor and the author maybe a few more years to grow up.
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on 15 April 2008
This is a good narrative of one mans journey through the fighting world. As already described there are a number of styles covered-Thai Boxing, MMA and boxing with others including for example Tai Chi. It's a very personal narrative and I think is interesting to people that are training or even those that want to gain an insight into it and why people do it-infact especially those people.

It contains a number of very good observations and interesting points. It is different to any other book I've read and overall I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 7 November 2008
The portion of the book devoted to dog fighting is one chapter, one of many chapters that include ones devoted to BJJ, boxing, tai chi and thai boxing. I personally wasn't particually keen on the dog fighting aspect but it in no way dominates the book in the same way it does two thirds of the current reviews!

The rest of the book is a true martial arts classic that is pretty unique. I think the book it most resembles is 'Angry White Pajamas', but it is less biography and instead addresses the question, 'why do civilised men still feel the need to fight?'

In the book Sheridan trains in thailand at the famous Fairtex gym, at the former UFC chamption Pat Miletich's MMA gym, with the Brazilian Top Team in Rio, and is taught boxing by a renowned trainer. In addition to this he goes to a UFC event, and accompanies the BTT when Nogueira fights Fedor at the 2004 NYE show. These are fancinating and rare insights into high level MMA and give you a real idea of what goes on behind the scenes.

I heartily recommend this book to any UFC fan, boxing fan, BJJ fan or anyone who is a practicing martial artist of any kind.
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on 9 September 2012
Sam Sheridan tells a story of entering into the world of martial arts, travelling to locations like Brazil, America and Thailand. He looks deep into the psychology of such pursuits, even trying meditation with Buddhist monks, comparing his experiences of different sports like boxing, Muay Thai, Jui-jitsu and Tai Chi. He does go into quite some depth about dog fighting, which it is clear to see the point he is raising, of gameness being present in both animals and humans, despite animals not having a choice. Although it is something I disagree with at least I can say that with more knowledge of why I condemn it. It is clearing to see that he wanted to add some different angles to it.

The only thing he missed out on was talking about journey men, he does touch on it, but doesn't describe it fully. I think discussing the psychology a journey man is crucial, since to one degree or another they're abundant in most of these sports.

Overall it's well worth reading, even if you've only got an interest in fighting from just a spectator point of view.
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on 12 August 2011
omg my fella loves this book. So far he has read it twice. Loads of info and interestin pieces, written really well. A book you can't put down by the looks of it. ha ha. girls get a hobby!
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on 6 June 2015
Brilliant brilliant brilliant
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on 29 March 2008
Don't think i have to include much in this review as Jamie sums up was is fundamentaly wrong with this book. Spend your money on something more worthwhile.
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