A few months ago I was interviewed at they gym by a fellow who is an international journalist for the PRI, which is an affiliate of the BBC. He introduced himself as David Hecht and the two kids trailing him, one teenaged boy and a little girl, as his assistants. He explained that he’d been at my last fight (my first match against YodYing sor. Sumalee) and had spoken with Andy about interviewing me – Andy told him that I’m always at the camp so just show up.
There are waves of journalists and photographers, videographers and occasionally film crews that spill through the gym periodically, but I’d not yet met someone who was coming to the gym specifically to speak with me. Moreover, nobody with whom I’ve spoken (usually they are students of Journalism at the Chiang Mai University) has ever also seen me fight, so that was an interesting twist. David was very nice and told me to just go do whatever I need to do and he’d walk around getting sound at the gym until I was ready to come speak to him in a quieter location.
When I did sit down with David after my padwork it was at the outer limit of the gym, along the edge of the yard/parking lot atop a mound of dirt that turned out to be an anthill. Happily, David was interested in hearing about Muay Thai and my experience in it in Thailand, which I didn’t find a difficult subject at all. We spoke (mostly I spoke) for probably 45 minutes, covering a variety of topics within the Muay Thai experience – why I am in Thailand, how I experience fighting here versus in the US, what it is to conduct oneself within a “violent” sport, being a woman within all these contexts. It was a very enjoyable interview and when David’s little daughter came bounding back to where we were sitting, saying “guess what I did?” I knew right away that she’d been treated to some Muay Thai training.
David then interviewed Taywin, who was my primary trainer at the time. Hearing his voice on the final edit of the interview now made me smile. He didn’t say anything that he hadn’t said to me, but I was honored to hear him say I’m strong, as well as a little bit curious regarding his suggestions for changing my fighting. When it comes to how to improve fighters, the fighter him/herself is not generally included in that conversation. I’ve heard Den speaking with the other trainers (in Thai) at length on many mornings after a fight night, dissecting the failings or defects of a fighter’s performance. But these things aren’t said to a fighter and the corrections are not explicitly stated as any kind of game plan. As a fighter, you just do.
I got an email just a few days ago from David, saying that his editors were working on the piece to run this Saturday, in connection to Take-On’s promotion at Madison Square Gardens. I believe this interview was in July, so it was interesting to listen to it now and identify all the ways in which I have changed – progressed – in my experiences, as well as ways in which some experiences are constants within the grander picture. It’s a good segment. I hope you enjoy it; I did.
PRI’s The World radio interview: American Muay Thai Fighter in Thailand
Above is the radio Interview in an embedded player. If you cannot view the player you can listen to (or download – right click “Save Link As”) the PRI The World Muay Thai Interview mp3 here.