Lawrence Kenshin Interviews Emma Thomas for his New Site

  Check out this absolutely amazing interview of Emma Thomas of Under the Ropes by Lawrence Kenshin of Lawrence Kenshin Striking Breakdowns. Lawrence asks very thoughtful questions and Emma,...


Check out this absolutely amazing interview of Emma Thomas of Under the Ropes by Lawrence Kenshin of Lawrence Kenshin Striking Breakdowns. Lawrence asks very thoughtful questions and Emma, in her true form, offers brilliant and insightful answers. I liked this one in particular, but there are so many: “I think the main thing that draws me to it is that it’s such a challenge for me. I was always very academic and could easily be building a career in something that I excelled at in school right now, but that wouldn’t help me grow the way that this does. It constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to adapt, and I love that.”
To give a sense of just how good and substantive this interview is, I’m just going to post the questions Emma answers here. Read what she says.

1. Hi Emma, going through your blog, Under The Ropes, it’s clear to see that you’ve went after your Muay Thai dreams with total abandon. What was it about the art that initially captured your attention, and what was it that made you fall in love with it?
2. Master Toddy gave you these amazing words when you showed up to his gym with your luggage and ready to move in. Eight weeks later, you had your first fight. You must’ve held onto these words closely and used it as a driving force. Can you elaborate just how important it is to have a coach who believes in you, so that you in turn also believe in yourself?
3. I think martial arts have a heavy emphasis on continuous improve in increments. Through so much trial and error, and so many successes and failures – a martial artist grows. I think this is a great perspective to approach the journey and a great life lesson. [Side Note: Check out Chatri Sityodtong’s Ted Talk: “How to Achieve Greatness in Life”]
You’ve mentioned several times that you’ve became a better person due to your experiences. What are some of the greatest lessons and developments that you’ve gained from Muay Thai?
4. Muay Thai has been heavily ingrained into your identity, shaping who you are and what you experience. You’ve noted how incredible this journey has been, but also some of the hardships. For example… the loneliness caused by the rotation of foreigners going in and out of the gym and country, plus the pressure of societal conformity and judgements of friends and family…How did you deal with the disapproving peers that were detrimental to your pursuit of happiness and dreams – a pursuit especially foreign to so many people that aren’t involved in martial arts?
5. At times, while you had no one to share the experiences with, did you ever come to enjoy or find beauty in the solitude? Or were these times of discomfort, looking back, perhaps blessings in disguise used to become a stronger person?
6. If you don’t mind sharing, what is it about a “conformist lifestyle” that puts you off? Or better yet, what is it about this “non-conformist lifestyle” that you’ve grown so passionate about? Is it the freedom and sense of liberation?
7. Setting up “Under The Ropes” must’ve been a big step forward, so few fighters have done something like this! Putting out your experiences in such a transparent manner is both personal and intimate – were you by any chance inspired by Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu of What were some of the benefits derived from setting up a website and sharing your experiences? Any words of encouragement for other Muay Thai enthusiasts to step forward?
8. You mentioned that since starting your Muay Thai journey, you’ve grown more assertive and confident. Another change is embracing your inner introversion. How much of this would you attribute to training and fighting?

9. Some people fight in combat sports for the money, fame, and glory. You’re fighting for the experience, passion, and love. What is your definition of a fighter? What is your ultimate goal in this passionate pursuit?

10. So many people categorize a fighter as some sort of extreme winner. Or at least, they assume that a fighter is not a good one because they’re not an extreme winner. To me, a fighter is someone who gets up repeatedly, fall after fall – anyone who shows a fighting heart and spirit is a great fighter. After all, the dictionary definition of a fighter is: “someone who does not give up: someone who continues fighting or trying.” This is in my opinion what separates a fighter from one that is not, despite talent, experience, or athleticism. As someone who dove into the deep end in Thailand with 8 weeks of training and no previous athletic or combat sports experience, what’s your take on dealing with losses – something that’s so deeply personal and seemingly detrimental to the psychology of so many in the west?

I can’t wait to read what Lawrence writes next.

I really look forward to what he’s going to be blogging, you can follow his upcoming articles here.
And check out the comments about the quality of his work from across the martial arts community.
You can support this content: Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu on Patreon
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A 100 lb. (46 kg) female Muay Thai fighter. Originally I trained under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K) and Kaensak sor. Ploenjit in New Jersey. I then moved to Thailand to train and fight full time in April of 2012, devoting myself to fighting 100 Thai fights, as well as blogging full time. Having surpassed 100, and then 200, becoming the westerner with the most fights in Thailand, in history, my new goal is to fight an impossible 471 times, the historical record for the greatest number of documented professional fights (see western boxer Len Wickwar, circa 1940), and along the way to continue documenting the Muay Thai of Thailand in the Muay Thai Library project: see


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