photo source, credit: Josephine Runeboom (2011)
I wrote about Lindsay Scheer two years ago in a blog post titled “Undo” in which I quoted a statement from her Facebook page following a fluke accident involving the death of a female Muay Thai fighter after being knocked out in an amateur bout. Lindsay’s statement was beautiful, strong and heartbreaking, yet it illustrated her thoughtfulness as is reflected in her recent online interview for “The Science of 8 Limbs” blog: The Real Fighter Interview.
Lindsay has been fighting for seven years (according to the interview above) and has in that time competed in 32 fights, which is a large number for western women in general and is indeed a large number for only seven years. Lindsay went pro last year (2011) when she debuted as a Muay Thai Premier League (MPL) fighter against Aleide Lawant in Holland.
I love the way Lindsay thinks about herself and Muay Thai. She is clearly and openly a reflective person by character and such a quality lends itself beautifully to a fighter because so much of what fighters experience can be tacitly lost because people are afraid to share, unable to articulate their experiences or, worst of all, simply not asked to express themselves verbally. These experiences and thoughts are not only sought after by non-fighters, but are also greatly beneficial and helpful for other fighters, who can learn from those with more experience or take solace in a shared feeling. Nothing motivates so thoroughly as a love for something and it’s clear that Lindsay loves Muay Thai:
Also, I think that being an athlete my whole life made me respect and appreciate the many aspects which comprise the sport and challenge me. I love all of the levels and intricacies that continue to reveal themselves the longer I train and fight. It’s not enough to be in great shape and tough, you have to be intelligent and strategic, as well as confident and calm…and at any given moment, you have to be able to draw on each of these components – some more than others depending on the fight. I can watch fights now with a completely different perspective and idea of the underlying things that are happening, and that is just incredibly fascinating and addicting to me! …more
I view Lindsay as a valuable representative of women in Muay Thai for many reasons, not the least of which is that her dedication is serious. It is, however, not uncomplicated to assume role model status when the world of Muay Thai, and especially female Muay Thai, is so small and in many ways isolating. But Lindsay is, as usual, articulate on this issue:
Do you feel some burden of setting an example for women who compete in kickboxing and Muay Thai?
I would be lying if I said no, but I try not to dwell on that issue because I think it can handicap my training and the perspective I have of myself as a fighter. Of course I love the idea of being a representative of my gender to all the little girls who want to someday comptete…maybe not even in fighting, but in sports, or even life in general. However, at my gym, I am just another fighter. In fact, my only other team mate at the moment is a 160 lb six-foot-something guy who routinely kicks my ass! While Eric constantly has to remind him that I am both smaller and not equipped with a Y chromosome to equal his size and strength, it gives me a sense of pride to know that we are able to train well together, and he does not feel like he needs to hold back…or, he forgets he has to hold back because I am challenging him. Therefore, when it comes to training and my fighting career, I try to hold myself to my own standards, and not those placed upon me by my gender....more
And in the context of being asked how it feels to represent her country she refers back to feeling similarly to how she feels about representing women:
I am proud to be in a position where I get the opportunity to represent something greater than myself, but that is not my main focus. I just try to represent myself well and that is all I can do.
She talks about the difference in strategy between single bouts and tournaments, and different length (number of rounds) fights. It’s great that Lindsay has thoughts on strategy for these differences because, for the most part, my thoughts are limited to, “why the hell aren’t all fights 5 rounds?!” Happily, I don’t have to deal with 3 round fights anymore:
Strategy changes even with a 3 round as opposed to a 5 round fight! When it comes to tournaments, you have to walk a fine line – you can’t really go in with the idea of holding back, because that could cost you a win. However, you also have to be smart if possible to not incur a large amount of damage which could affect the outcome of your next fight.
On the differences in progressing from amateur to professional she’s also provides a perspective, a question which I get asked a lot because the United States has unique (and bizarre) definitions, differentiation and regulations regarding amateur and professional that the rest of the world does not. In short, most of the world has professional and amateur bouts, not necessarily professional and amateur fighters, whereas the US has a one-way progression from which a fighter who has ever earned a purse can no longer fight as an amateur. In almost all cases, rules differ between profession and amateur bouts:
Honestly, having to deal with fighting less frequently, once a fighter turns pro, especially a female fighter is the biggest and most challenging difference. Our gym philosophy is that kickboxing/muay thai is not a recreational sport. It is very dangerous and the training must respect those dangers and exercise precaution. Therefore, there really was no difference with the actual process and the fights themselves – especially since Eric has done a phenomenal job of managing and matching my fights to help build and challenge me the right way as a fighter. The transition was pretty seamless for me.
How important do you think amateur competition is to developing you as a professional fighter?
It is crucial. A fighter’s amateur career is like a college degree: it takes time, money, and effort, but once you get your degree, the education is priceless, and it gives you the ability to be more well-rounded and adds longevity to your overall career.
For the entire interview which has a lot more in it visit The Science of 8 Limbs: The Real Fighter Interview