American Shaolin Quotes

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American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly
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American Shaolin Quotes (showing 1-23 of 23)
“It is difficult for my fellow countrymen who have never lived abroad to understand that until a foreign man is about sixty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he'd like to punch an American in the face. Even people like the Chinese, who mostly like us, think of us--at least partly--as loud, fat, poorly dressed, overprivileged, hectoring, naive, arrogant, self-righteous bullies with little knowledge and no interest in any culture other than our own. I once had a conversation with a Japanese journalist who said to me, "You don't seem like an American." When I asked him, slightly hurt, why he said that, he replied, "Because you listen.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“A club hurts the flesh, but evil words hurt the bone. -Traditional Chinese Proverb”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“The sayers do not know and the knowers do not say.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Only those who have tasted the bitterest of the bitter can become people who stand out among others. -Guanchang Xianxing Ji”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“[...] it doesn't take much courage to fight when you still believe you can win. What takes real courage is to keep fighting when all hope is gone.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“[...] The monks sped up the process up for us laowai who have less time, less patience for basics, and a greater need for external markers of our accomplishments.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“When you are the only laowai in a village of 10,000 Chinese martial artists and you've sat through several dozen films where a white man shouts, "You Chinese dog," before getting his ass kicked, it starts to irritate you. We all need role models.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“This was not uncommon in government-run operations, where a request that someone do their job often induced a catatonic state that might last anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“If I had been a Chinese student, Cheng Hao would have shouted all these failings at me, while occasionally whacking me with a wooden staff to emphasize his criticisms. Shaolin’s pedagogical style was profoundly corporal. China has a saying parents often use with their children when they punish them, da shi teng, ma shi ai (smacking is fondness; scolding is love). But I was a foreigner. More important, because he was only nineteen, I was two years older than he was. So he only said, “Good…very good…better…you’re getting better” as I stumbled through the morning.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“At some point within the first month I started talking to myself, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the fact that I was also answering myself. I’d never imagined how crucial English was to my sense of a unified self—part”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“The Japanese fighter was wired. He ran forward several steps and then backpedaled to where he stood before, ten yards away from his opponent. He repeated this several times. It was like he suffered from physical autism. “What does this stupid egg think he’s doing?” Deqing asked of no one in particular. “Feinting?” It was a surreal sight watching this karateka repeatedly charge forward and then dash back, as if his opponent lacked any depth perception and would therefore be fooled into thinking that the object in front of him was closer than it appeared. Finally,”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“What takes real courage is to keep fighting when all hope is gone.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Almost everything in China was subject to a negotiation because the Chinese believe all situations are contextual. The price depended on who you were. There was the Chinese friend price (deep guanxi), the Chinese friend-of-friend price (shallow guanxi), the Chinese stranger price (no guanxi), the smart laowai price (he knew what the Chinese price was), and the sucker laowai price (usually 100 to 200 percent higher than the smart laowai price). Taking their cues from the government, which had instituted different prices for Chinese and foreigners at tourist attractions, hotels, and friendship stores, the local merchants felt no unease in gouging a laowai”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“The Chinese expected the white man to pay more for his burden because the British, the Pablo Escobar of imperialists, had forced them to buy opium from India in 1850 and had stolen Hong Kong.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“The North Beijing train station was a vivid example of the kind of pervasive poverty the Chinese people were willing to concede their political freedom to escape. It looked like a refugee camp after a war of ethnic cleansing. Actually, a refugee camp looks better, because at least it has Red Cross tents.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Two goals in a Maoist economy are to keep people working whether their job is necessary or not (idleness is the bourgeoisie’s workshop) and to make sure everyone is keeping an eye on everyone else.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Shaolin was the first known Buddhist monastery to develop its own fighting system—quite unusual for a religion whose pacifism rivals that of the Quakers.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“He had me at “hallo.” No red-blooded American can resist the siren song of TV exposure. It’s our God-given right.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“There are few things more nerve-racking than trying to act normal with a camera in your face and someone shouting at you to “act normal.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Almost all of it was a reconstruction of recent vintage, part of the government’s effort to increase tourist revenue after the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“the Chinese Communist Party played only a minor role in battling the Japanese. It was the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] that bore the brunt of the heavy fighting and was significantly weakened in the process. Without the Japanese invasion, it seems improbable that the CCP could have won the “Nationalist-Communist” Civil War in 1950. But historical memory is rarely gracious, self-deprecating, or forgiving, especially in a police state.) The”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Like many sons of famous men who can’t live up to their fathers, Big Wang covered up his insecurity with a belligerent jocularity. Or to put it another way, he was an annoying prick who thought he was hilarious. He liked to make his power known by publicly berating”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
“Chinese is a tonal language. Words spelled the same way mean different things when pronounced with one of the four different tones: the 1st stays level, the 2nd rises, the 3rd sinks and then rises, and the 4th falls. For example, the sentence “ma [1st] ma [4th] ma [3rd] ma [1st]?” means “Did mother curse the horse?” First-year Chinese students either use their heads or their index fingers to try to get the tones right: half the class looks like bobblehead dolls, the other like conductors of a Lilliputian orchestra. “Where?”
Matthew Polly, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China

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