ABOUT matthew polly
Matthew Polly is the national bestselling author of American Shaolin, Tapped Out, and Bruce Lee: A Life. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, he spent two years studying kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in Henan, China. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Esquire, Slate, Playboy, and The Nation. He is a fellow at Yale University and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Matthew Polly was born on May 5, 1971, in Dallas, Texas. His father, Dr. Richard Polly, was a physician to the Dallas Cowboys, and Matthew spent his early childhood (until his family moved to Topeka, Kansas) on the sidelines of Texas Stadium watching Tom Landry’s team practice football. However, it was the prowess and mystique of Bruce Lee and Kwai Chang Caine—the protagonist of Matthew’s favorite 1970s series, Kung Fu—that inspired him to one day become a fighter. Before earning his degree at Princeton, Matthew dropped out to pursue his dream to learn kung fu straight from the source—the Shaolin Monks. He lived for two years at their temple and became the first American accepted as a Shaolin disciple. Fifteen years later, Polly dove into the world of Mixed Martial Arts as a participant and as a journalist, traveling the globe for two years to train with renowned masters. More recently, he spent seven years compiling the most comprehensive biography of Bruce Lee ever written. To say the least, Matthew Polly’s work is the epitome of experiential and investigative journalism.