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  4. Just very briefly I want to take up one of the most interesting aspects of the fighting art of Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, an aspect that really cues for me how I watch fights and weigh the skills of fighters. Managing distance. Many people watch "strikes" and look for "points", but there is an under-fabric to strikes, a kind of landscape of them, no less than how a topography will influence how a battle is fought between armies. Even the most practiced strikes rise and fall to opportunity, and in Muay Thai a significant determination of opportunity is distance. Above is a quick edit of Sylvie's last fight up in Buriram, bringing out all the significant moments of engagement, telling the story in about a minute. (The full fight should be up in a few weeks with Sylvie's commentary, as usual.) I'm going to start with Entertainment Muay Thai as presenting an negative can often be the best way to bring out a positive. Entertainment Muay Thai (and there are many versions of it, so we have to be very broad here), is largely principled by eliminating the importance of distance. What is sought, again being very broad, is a more or less continuous trading in the pocket. The quest is for an easy to follow, by the casual eye, "action". Everything is about the distance of the pocket. Setting up outside of the pocket can be regarded as anti-action (so, if you do, you should regularly charge into the pocket...and trade). And fighting through the pocket, to clinch range, is also devalued by very quick clinch breaks, scoring biases (changing traditional aesthetics). Clinch, which historically is featured in some of the most technical fighting of the sport, in Entertainment Muay Thai is more and more understood as a stall of the main goal. Pocket trading. Much of the art of Muay Thai is actually organized around all those distances that border "the pocket", controlling distance through length, or through grappling. In this fight Sylvie is giving up between 8-10 kgs (perhaps more than 20% of her body weight). Now, imagine it being fought under Entertainment aesthetics. What would it be if she just stood in the pocket, bit down, and just traded over and over with Phetnamwan? Would there be any point of such a fight? Yet, as the Golden Age legend Hippy Singmanee once said when criticizing hyper-aggressive, pocket-trading Entertainment Muay Thai, "Muay Thai is the art where small can beat big." Hippy was one of the most renown undersized fighters of the Golden Era. He knows of what he speaks. This fight, in the broad brush, illustrates some of that. More and more we've come to realize that as traditional Muay Thai evaporates slowly from the urban stadia, the only traditional Muay Thai still being regularly fought is in the provinces of the country. It is there that fights are scored in keeping with the art, and fighters retain the all around, multi-distance skills that make that art happen. Clinch is allowed to unfold. Narrative fight arcs are told as principle to scoring. Ryan, a knowledgeable commenter on Twitter and a very good writer on the sport, right away noticed how the ref let clinch flow. You can see some of our discussion there. I recall a conversation I overheard when attending the funeral of the legend Namkabuan in Nongki. It was the passing of one of the greatest who ever fought. During the day-before cremation a casual conversation arose between other legends of the sport, and very experienced news reporters, people who had been a part of it for decades. One of them insisted, Muay Thai no longer existed in Thailand. Others knowingly nodded their heads. But a Muay Siam reporter objected. "No...it still lives in the provinces." And the others agreed. It still was there. We in the English speaking world tend to think the substance of something is what has been presented to us. The Muay Thai of Bangkok is the real Muay Thai of Thailand because that is what we see...and, historically, many decades ago, it did represent the highest skills of the country. But what largely remains unseen is that more and more of the sport is being designed for our eyes. It is less and less for Thais, and more and more for "us", so we can become quite disconnected from what is real and authentic in a cultural, and even efficacy sense. There rhythms and values of provincial Muay Thai, as it is fought, coached and reffed, are part of the rich authenticity of the sport which falls into the shadows when we just look at what is being shown to "us". This fight, how it is fought, shows "the art of where small can beat big", and it shows why. It's through the control of distance. If you are small you just cannot stand at range. You either have to explore the bubble outside of the pocket, too far, or at its edges, and fight your way in to score...or, you collapse the pocket, smother the strikes, and possess the skill to control a much larger bodied opponent. Clinch, historically, is kryptonite to the striker. Muay Maat vs Muay Khao battles are legendary in the sport. Classic. Who is going to impose the distance which is best for them? It's a battle of distances. And, for this reason, Muay Maat fighters of the past were not experts in trading in the pocket. They were experts in managing clinch fighters, or even high level clinch fighters themselves...and they were experts at hunting down evasive femeu counterfighters as well. Muay Maat fighters were strong. They had to have so many tools in their tool box. In versions of the sport where both fighters are forced to "stand and bang" repeatedly, we have been taken quite far from the glories of Thailand's Muay Thai fighters, and that is because Muay Thai is an art of distance control. This goes to a deeper point about the sport. It isn't really a "sport" in the International, rationalist idea of a sport. Muay Thai is culture. It is Thai culture. Thousands and thousands of fights occur on temple grounds, far from Western eyes. It has grown up within the culture, but also expressive of that culture. And it is a culture unto itself. The more we try to extract from this rich fabric some kind of abstract "rule set" and "collection of techniques" that can be used in other cultures, expressing their values, favoring their fighters, the more we lose the complex art of what Muay Thai is...and in the bigger sense move away from the value it has to the entire world. It's value is that it has a very highly developed perspective on distance management and on aggression. It has lessons upon lessons to teach in techniques of control and fight winning, woven into the DNA of its traditional aesthetics. And these techniques embody the values of the culture. It's all of one cloth. Sylvie has chosen the path less traveled. She's fought like no other Westerner in history (a record 271 times as a pro), and she has devoted herself to the lessor style, the art of Muay Khao and clinch fighting. There are very, very few women, even Thai women, who have seriously developed this branch of the art in the way that she has. And she's done it as a 100 lb fighter, taking on great size disparities as she fights. Because Muay Thai is "the art where small can beat big" there is a long tradition of great, dominant fighters fighting top fighters well above their weight, and developing their in style the capacity to beat them. Fighting up is Muay Thai. Sylvie's entire quest has been to value what may not even be commercially valued at this time, the aspects of the art which point to its greater meaning & capacity. The narrative of scoring, the control of distance, the management of striking through clinch, in the heritage of what it has been. I'm not saying that this is the only way to fight, or that Entertainment Muay Thai has no value for the art and sport. It's not, and it does. But, we should also be mindful of the completeness and complexity of Muay Thai, and the ways that those qualities can be put at risk, as the desire to internationalize it and foreign values become more and more part of its purpose. If we love what we discover when we come to Thailand, we should fight to preserve and embrace the roots of Muay Thai, and the honored aspects of the culture/s which produced it. photos: Khaendong, Buriram, Thailand (temple grounds)
  5. Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships. Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV
  6. I would respect the hell out of one if I met him or her. Huge character.
  7. Anyone have any recommendations for fully indoor gyms in Bangkok? Understand that these tend to be the more commercialized/fitness oriented ones. I am coming mid February and I'm not sure if I want to train outdoors with the poor air quality during this period of time. Many thanks!
  8. Hi all. I have my first tournament coming up March 21st and I need to cut from 140 to 130. I have a month as this point. I’m particularly interested from hearing from other women about their experiences. This sounds simple enough but I’m a woman and also 42 so losing weight is a bit more challenging. I would like to lose down to maybe 133 or so with diet and then cut water for the rest. Do you guys cut carbs? I know this will make me lose weight but every time I do, my energy takes a complete nose-dove. Or does it make more sense to speak with a nutritionist? I’ve lost weight before but more slowly than this so the relatively quick loss has me freaking out a bit.
  9. I see that this thread is from three years ago, and I hope your journey with Muay Thai and mental health has evolved positively during this time. It's fascinating to revisit these discussions and reflect on how our understanding of such topics can grow. The connection between training and mental health is intricate, as you've pointed out. Finding the right balance between pushing yourself and self-care is a continuous learning process. If you've been exploring various avenues for managing mood-related issues over these years, you might want to revisit the topic of mental health resources. One such resource is The UK Medical Cannabis Card, which can provide insights into alternative treatments.
  10. Thank you for the beautiful insightful review I will be training at Kem Muay Thai Gym at the end of February. Do you think 7 days is a good amount or would you extend to 10 days?
  11. Our travel plans changed due to some visa issues in Vietnam (but that’s a different story) so we found ourselves in chiang Mai for two weeks. My wife and I came to Thailand with the main intention of training Muay Thai with some travelling thrown in from time to time. As we hadn’t done much research on gyms in chiang Mai and we were sitting in the airport waiting to board our flight from Hanoi, we furiously searched forums and reviews of the best gyms in chiang Mai. We had it down to a choice of three gyms Hong Thong, Manop gym and sit Thailand, all top class gyms in their own right with great coaches and we probably couldn’t of gone wrong going to anyone of them. We decided on Sit Thailand and I’m so glad we did! A little bit about the gym, The gym is a decent size and open on two sides which gives it a nice airy feel and is tucked away at the back of a holiday villa compound. It’s a family run gym and kru thailand and his family all live on site. The gym has about 8 bags and 1 large raised ring. There is a small area with free weights and some machines for strength and conditioning work outs. Toilets and showers at the back. There is a cooler full of ice and a water machine and a full rack of plastic cups for drinking. The gym has the feeling of a real fighters gym but still with an alls welcome vibe. we messaged the gym on Facebook to just touch base with them and check what the training times were. 6:30am if you want to run 7:20am if not, afternoon training starts at 4pm the training, we turned up at at 7:20am the next day ready for our first session at Sit Thailand, we were the only people there apart from Kru O who said his hellos and ushered us into 15minutes of skipping followed by a couple of rounds of shadow boxing, by this time the fighters had started to trickle back into the gym from their morning runs. Kru Thailand then came out from the back and spoke to my wife and i about where we were from and where we were staying. He’s actually a really down to earth nice guy. He then took me on the pads for 4 x 5 minute rounds, more than likely to gauge my level of Muay Thai. This went on to be the best 20 minutes of coaching I have ever received from anybody, he corrected many things in my technique but the difference being he explained why he was correcting it. The attention to detail and the explanation he was getting across blew me away. Everything was covered footwork, balance, defence, attack for each technique. Into the ring I went for clinching for the next 30 - 40 minutes there is about 10 people in the ring so it’s not crowded. Thailand pairs everyone up with who he thinks is equal in size/ ability and watches the full thing and if he thinks anyone needs to change partners he changes them, (this to me is a sign of a good coach) he walks around the ring and give information to everyone fighter or not everyone gets the same level of attention. I’d like to note here that when we arrived he had about 8 fighters getting ready for a big show in Issan that he was Co promoter and he still had time for the non fighters if not more time. my wife’s experience my wife did not want to clinch because she was a little anxious as she is a bit new to the sport and clinching is still a bit alien to her. This was no problem she was taking on the pads with Kru O for many rounds, learning technique then onto bag work. From the ring Kru Thailand sees everything and he headed over to my wife and worked with her perfecting her low kick technique for a good 5 to 10 minutes. With his trademark “watch Thailand, watch Thailand” as he shows her how to low kick and where her head position should be until she hears the approval which comes in a high pitch “aghhhhhhhh”. She’s got it and back in the ring he goes. my wife came away from the session with an even bigger love for the sport and was dying to get back in for the afternoon session. This was a big thing for her because she was very anxious before we set off for the gym in the morning which is natural I think starting anywhere new can be anxious and I’d be lying that I don’t get that feeling my self from time to time. sparring After clinching straight into sparring again over the watchful aye of Kru Thailand who picks the pairs. Sparring is very technical and controlled, light but fast again 5 minute rounds (which killed me) for about 4/5 rounds . The gym is mainly active fighters atleast when we were there so the sparring was very beneficial for me, in my opinion there is no better way to learn than to spar you find out what works what doesn’t and what you need to work on. My wife didn’t spar but again was included and Kru Thailand took her and worked on her elbows for 10 minutes. My wife eased into the gym and over a couple of days eventually sparred and clinched every session and she loved it. She almost always sparred and clinched with the younger Thais because of her size but even at a young age they were very technical and give her a lot of time. conclusion sit Thailand is an absolute gem the level of coaching you receive from Kru Thailand pinsinchai is priceless. He is that hands on in every single session that it feels like a one to one with him everyday. They have two more very good pad holders in kru O and Kru tan. My Muay Thai has definitely Improved since being here even in a short time or two weeks. If you want to fight then that’s is no problem here with smaller fights around chiang Mai to larger fights in stadiums in Bangkok they will be able to sort them out. the main attraction here is Kru Thailand pinsinchai and for good reason, great fighter, great coach and a great man. I would highly recommend this gym and will definitely be returning we are heading to kem Muay Thai in February for two months and I will leave a review of our experience there as well and how the compare.
  12. Phetjeeja fought Anissa Meksen for a ONE FC interim atomweight kickboxing title 12/22/2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu92S6-V5y0&ab_channel=ONEChampionship Fight starts at 45:08 Phetjeeja won on points. Not being able to clinch really handicapped her. I was afraid the ref was going to start deducting points for clinch fouls.
  13. I’m heading to Thailand in April for a 6 month stay solely to train and fight (I’ve trained for three years and have had two interclubs/smokers) an to gain as much experience as possible. I’m really wanting to fight as much as I possibly can for reference I’m 65kg and 6’2 and would like to get an idea of where best would suit me so far Im leaning on training at hongthong in Chiang Mai but was curious to what other places would offer such as Phuket an Pattaya or even Bangkok I am aware that Bangkok is a much higher level and fight opportunities may be less due to my lack of experience thanks in advance homies x
  14. Hello, can anyone tell me if Buacao Banchemek gym is good for training.
  15. I'm new to Muay Thai, but have done a lot of weight training and this sounds a lot like overtraining or similar issues from long-term under-eating/cutting. How's your diet look and how's your recovery? I'd say you need to give your body a chance to recover, either by giving yourself more food or by giving it an actual chance to rest a bit more. If you're training for fights and need to keep the intensity, you need to up your calories so your body can recover from all the extra work.
  16. Here's a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BaanRambaaGym and another Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063547570660 and Rambaa's personal Facebook page (which is the most active): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089593217773
  17. Hello friends. Does anyone know what time the group workouts are at the Walkthrough of Jitmuangnon Gym in Bangkok ??? I want to train with the competitors there and learn from their experience. If anyone knows what time the training takes place, let me know. Thank you in advance.
  18. Earlier this year I wrote a couple of sociology essays that dealt directly with Muay Thai, drawing on Sylvie's journalism and discussions on the podcast to do so. I thought I'd put them up here in case they were of any interest, rather than locking them away with the intention to perfectly rewrite them 'some day'. There's not really many novel insights of my own, rather it's more just pulling together existing literature with some of the von Duuglus-Ittu's work, which I think is criminally underutilised in academic discussions of MT. The first, 'Some meanings of muay' was written for an ideology/sosciology of knowledge paper, and is an overly long, somewhat grindy attempt to give a combined historical, institutional, and situated study of major cultural meanings of Muay Thai as a form of strength. The second paper, 'the fighter's heart' was written for a qualitative analysis course, and makes extensive use of interviews and podcast discussions to talk about some ways in which the gendered/sexed body is described/deployed within Muay Thai. There's plenty of issues with both, and they're not what I'd write today, and I'm learning to realise that's fine! some meanings of muay.docx The fighter's heart.docx
  19. Hello friends. Does anyone know what time the group workouts are at the Walkthrough of Jitmuangnon Gym in Bangkok ??? I want to train with the competitors there and learn from their experience. If anyone knows what time the training takes place, let me know. Thank you in advance.
  20. I have been training Muay Thai for 2 years. This year I started fighting, and that means more training, more sparring, running, etc. Before MT I was a kung fu competitor, so the hard training is nothing new for me. But... over the last few months I haven't felt like I'm getting stronger, faster or better at technique after all the training. I feel like I'm getting weaker and slower. I was a hard kicker but now I don't know why but I just can't kick hard or strong. In my last fight my punches were so weak that they didn't hurt my opponent. I tried my favorite low kicks but... no power. I haven't been allowed to take vitamins or protein shakes since February (due to laser eye surgery). But there are so many fighters who don't take supplements. Do you ever feel this “loss of strength”? Should I do more conditioning, CrossFit, etc.? I'm so frustrated now...
  21. Okay, thank you for your feedback . Do you know if rambaa’s gym have an instagram page or something? I try to get more informations but can’t find it. thank you
  22. If you are drawn to a big gyms then Fairtex (or Venom) might be your best bet. I'd just throw out there the idea of visiting Rambaa's gym if you'd like a unique experience. There's no other gym that's like it. First of all its one of the last kaimuay in Pattaya, a camp full of local Thai kids training for free, but they also have big fighters, like Peungluang who is undefeated on ONE. A few Westerners train there. It's a small gym, but it even has an MMA cage. Rambaa was Thailand's first MMA World Champion. It's just full of so many contradictions, and Rambaa himself is a great trainer, and has a wonderful fight style. I'm just adding this, in case you'd enjoy something that is unique. Here is an album of the photographs I took there not long ago: https://www.behance.net/gallery/166275057/The-Kaimuay
  23. This is the man who modernized Muay Thai, here Prince Vajiravudh. He would become King of Siam in 1910. Educated in British schools (attended Sandhurst & Oxford), he led the infusion of Muay Thai with the British Boxing example, part of a larger International modernizing movement.
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