Big Words – Playing In Muay Thai

I watched Big’s fight with one hand wrapped, the other one clenched in a naked fist.  The first round was a little slow, both fighters feeling each other out...

I watched Big’s fight with one hand wrapped, the other one clenched in a naked fist.  The first round was a little slow, both fighters feeling each other out but the second round was already heated.  By the middle of the second round the elbows had started and by the third Big knocked his opponent to the floor three times before the ref called a stop to the fight.  It was beautiful – Big’s aggression and pomp inside the ring, his confidence surging.

Den and I crossed paths as the fighters exited the ring and we looked at each other.  Den’s face was full of pride, just beaming and he said, “you have to fight like this.”  My heart was already saying it – God, how I want to fight like that.  And I will, eventually.

Big is known for taking risks in his fights.  It doesn’t always work out for him in terms of landing strikes or even winning, but the way he plays in a fight – not tricky, not jesting, but playing – is more beautiful than the clean, disciplined technique of other fighters.  And his cockiness goes on thick at the application, but it wears nicely.  He’s a cool guy and he struts after losses, too.

When I circle the ring, I’m not as aware of myself as I’d like to be.  (Or maybe too aware of myself and not enough aware of the whole fight.)  I’ve heard and read many times that fighters are one way in the ring and the opposite outside of it.  Sure, that makes enough sense in that you don’t go around hitting people in your daily life or you’d basically be a total jerk or in jail.  But I don’t draw a thick line between who I am as a fighter and who I am as a person.  I don’t need to pretend to hate my opponent to hurt her – I don’t hurt people I actually hate so much as ignore them completely.  I don’t lack confidence in verbal exchanges and I’m pretty game for upping the ante if someone tries to get witty at my expense, but for some reason the physical version of this hasn’t come together yet.

Banter is like fighting, truly.  Fights aren’t conversations of arguing a point or trying to be persuasive with your information – they’re not an opinion.  Rather, a fight requires speed in that everything builds on everything else.  Someone gets a good jab at you verbally, if you don’t answer back quickly, with just the right cutting remark, then you’re already losing.  Doesn’t matter how brilliant the retort, if it comes too late you look desperate, or daft, or worse yet like you’re over thinking.  That’s why Big can come out of the ring strutting after a loss, even if he’s been TKO’d.  Because his “comment” was better than the last word.

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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 patreon.com/sylviemuay

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