Lifelong wimp Brian Preston spends a year immersed in the world of martial arts. But can this ancient knowledge turn a pencil-necked pacifist into a Kung Fu killer?
Committed conflict-avoider and “spineless wuss” Brian Preston sets out on a personal odyssey through the global phenomenon of martial arts. Along the way he traces its history from its birthplace in the Shaolin Temple where Zen Buddhist principles were the order of the day to Bruce Lee, whose singular talent and “no-style” style brought Kung Fu to a worldwide audience, to the joint-ripping submission locks of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the theatrics of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Las Vegas.
Embracing the challenges of self-transformation, Preston gives himself up to broken ribs and the submission pins of middle-aged women, all in an effort to gain the enlightenment and fearlessness of the ancient masters. But the real meat of his story is in reflective detours on such subjects as the nature of violence, fatherhood, the Tao, and modern China, sprinkled with humorous and surprising insights into the modern male psyche.