Friday, August 09, 2019

Books: Forrest Griffin and Sam Sheridan Double Double Feature (Part 1 - On Fighting)

In a strange bit of synchronicity, author/fighter Sam Sheridan and fighter/author Forrest Griffin have each written a bestselling book on fighting and a bestselling book on surviving the apocalypse, so I thought it'd be fun to review all of them.

The first pair of books are about fighting:

A Fighter's Heart, by Sam Sheridan

Writer Sam Sheridan has led a pretty colorful life - he's been a sailor, a firefighter, a cowboy - but one of his biggest passions is fighting. In "A Fighter's Heart," Sheridan takes the reader on a global tour of his fight training, whether it's trying to get a ground game from the Brazilian Top Team or learning the "soft" arts in a New York tai chi chuan studio.

The book's best and longest sections are Sheridan's description of his early experience training Muay Thai at Fairtex, and his time with then-new boxer Andre Ward and his trainer Virgil Hunter. But I thought a chapter dealing with Hollywood stuntwork seemed out of place (it does include some insight into the late Paul Walker), and Sheridan unfortunately glosses over the serious problems of the combat sports (CTE and PED use, for starters).

Got Fight?, by Forrest Griffin and Erich Krauss

Much like Sheridan, Forrest Griffin started out as an amateur, doing local fights whilst working as a bouncer and Georgia cop. Unlike Sheridan, Griffin stuck with fighting, got a big break by winning "The Ultimate Fighter," and went on to become UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. "Got Fight?" is Griffin's summation of his experiences - part biography, part self-help book, and part MMA technique manual.

"Summation" is probably too fancy a word for it. While clearly co-writer Erich Krauss (a former Muay Thai fighter) ironed out some of the rough edges, "Got Fight?" is not one of those sanitized martial arts memoirs. There's a ton of juvenile, crude, non-PC humor and goofy inset testimonials from Griffin's friends (seemingly to assure the reader that, yes, Griffin is that crazy). Still, if you want to read a book from someone who has been there and done that, this is one of the best out there.


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