When one thinks of the background of athletes in the sports of boxing, mixed martial arts, and kickboxing it is very rare that anyone would think of a former Harvard student being an expert in that field. However, that is the case with author Sam Sheridan, who wrote a novel a few years ago called A Fighter’s Heart. As previously mentioned, Sheridan is a graduate from Harvard and when he was in school at the Ivy League university he got involved in boxing, which prompted further interest in pugilistic sports. The novel profiles Sheridan and the sports he covers as he traverses the globe to get a feel for why people fight and the mentality of the competitors. One of the drawbacks of combat sports is that often times on the mats that people train on, they can pick up an infection such as toenail fungus since the mats are unclean. This can result in needing to use fungus toenail laser treatment or Long Island fungus toenail treatment. Along the way he also experiences the different sports for himself, completely immersing himself in the culture of whatever sport he is profiling at the moment. A fairly simple read and very intriguing, it is no wonder that A Fighter’s Heart was at one time on many different best sellers’ lists.
The novel begins with Sheridan briefly explaining his interest in fight sports and his background. After graduating from a prestigious prep school on the east coast he went into the Merchant Marines for a while to participate in the military. After that adventure, he went to Harvard and graduated with a degree in art. Fresh out of Harvard Sheridan went on a boat trip around the world on the yacht of a family friend and wound up in Australia. Australia is the setting for Sheridan’s realization that what he really wants to do is explore the culture of fighting. Working out at a gym in Australia in the art of kickboxing, Sheridan is told that training at a gym in Thailand for Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing, for a few months is worth years at any other school in any other country.
Needless to say, Sheridan winds up going to Thailand. Working out at one of the more famous gyms, called the Fairtex gym, Sheridan finds out some incredible facts and gets top notch training. Sheridan learns that Muay Thai is a way out of poverty for many people, much like boxing in the United States, and that fighters typically begin having fights at age six or seven and are considered at their peak at seventeen. After participating in a Muay Thai fight of his own, which he wins, Sheridan moves back to the United States.
The novel continues as Sheridan travels to Oakland to train with and pick the brain of an Olympic medalist in boxing and then moves on to Rio de Janiero and subsequently Japan to work in Brazilian jiu jitsu with famed heavyweight mixed martial artist Antonia Rodrigo Noguiera. The lowlight of the book for many people; is when Sheridan discusses dog fighting and how it is popular in many different countries. Despite his attempts to explain it away as a dog showing love for his owner, there is really nothing that can take away from the disgusting brutality and senselessness of dog fighting and it really taints the book that it is even brought up.
Despite the obvious low point, the novel is still an excellent read and very satisfying to those already interested in combat sports and people who may be looking to learn more.