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  1. He Returned To The Mongkol A bit of historical context, Somphong who lost vs Samarn above would return to the Muay Thai ring in 1948 to face the feared "Giant Ghost" Suk (grandfather to Sagat), a former imprisoned murderer, who attacked and knocked down Somphong so violently that his corner threw in towel, and it was reported that Suk was boo'd by the crowd for how brutal he was. Suk was a figure of terror in the Muay Thai scene in his day. Historians have pointed out that he was in direct contrast to the more gentlemanly matinee idol starts of Muay Thai and boxing of the 1930-1940s (images of masculine charm and handsomeness persisted through the Golden Age), and was in part promoted by the Fascist regime to move away from reflected composed Royalty, and Royal political power. His transgressive, violent image was a nakleng symbolic of a politics of The People ("Das Volk") as the Phibun dictatorship represented them (it had been aligned philosophically and militarily with Hitler & Japan in WW2). Somphong was nicknamed "atomic fist" (it seems), after the American power that ended the war with Japan. Suk Prasarthinpimai was about 36 years old here, said to have fought into his 40 or even 50s. from this Facebook Post here "ยักษ์ผีโขมด ดวลโหด ซ้ายปรมาณู" วันนี้เมื่อ 76ปีก่อน... วันที่ 16 พ.ค.2491(1948) ศึกชิงยอดมวยไทย ณ สนามกีฬากีฑาสถานแห่งชาติ กรุงเทพมหานคร .."ยักษ์ผีโขมด" สุข ปราสาทหินพิมาย ตำนานยอดมวยไทยผู้ยิ่งใหญ่จากโคราช โชว์โหดถล่มแหลกไล่ถลุง เอาชนะน็อคยก3 "ซ้ายปรมาณู" สมพงษ์ เวชสิทธิ์ นักชกกำปั้นหนักจากเพชรบุรี ดีกรีอดีตแชมป์มวยสากลรุ่นเวลเตอร์เวทและมิดเดิลเวทของประเทศสิงคโปร์ ผู้กลับมาสวมแองเกิลชกมวยไทยอีกครั้ง ...โดยก่อนเกมส์การชกใครๆก็มองว่าสุขจะสู้พลังกำปั้นซ้ายอันหนักหน่วงรุนแรง และความเจนจัดบนสังเวียนของ สมพงษ์ เวชสิทธิ์ ไม่ได้ แต่พอเอาเข้าจริงปรากฎว่า สุข ถล่ม สมพงษ์ อย่างเหี้ยมเกรียม เอาเป็นเอาตาย ไม่มีคำว่าปราณี จนพี่เลี้ยงของสมพงษ์ต้องโยนผ้ายอมแพ้ในยกที่3 ...สุขถึงกับโดนแฟนมวยโห่ หาว่าชกโหดร้ายทารุณเกินไป คิดฆ่าเพื่อนร่วมอาชีพ (ดราม่าเลยว่างั้น) ทำให้ไม่ค่อยมีใครอยากขึ้นชกกับสุข และสุขจึงหาคู่ชกที่เหมาะสมยากมากยิ่งขึ้น ..สุข เผยว่าที่ตนต้องชกแบบนั้นเพราะว่ากลัว ซ้ายปรมาณูของสมพงษ์เหมือนกัน จึงต้องการรีบเผด็จศึกเร็ว ไม่อยากให้ยืดเยื้อ อนึ่งการชกครั้งนี้.. "สุข ปราสาทหินพิมาย" ได้เงินรางวัล 30,00บาท นับว่ามากที่สุดเป็นประวัติการณ์ ในสมัยนั้น พักยก24 : ระบบใหม่ เล่นง่าย ราคาสนาม ออกตัวได้ มีครบทุกความมันส์ (poor) Google Trans: "Giant Ghost, Brutal Duel, Left Atom" Today 76 years ago... Date: 16 May 1948 (1948) Muay Thai Champion At the National Athletic Stadium Bangkok .."Yak Phi Khom" happy at Prasat Hin Phimai The great Muay Thai legend from Korat. Brutal show of destruction and destruction. Defeated by knockout in round 3 "Left Atomic" Sompong Wechasit, a heavy puncher from Phetchaburi. Defeated by knockout in round 3 "Left Atomic" Sompong Wechasit, a heavy puncher from Phetchaburi. แพ้น็อกยกที่ 3 “อะตอมซ้าย” สมปอง เวชสิทธิ์ นักชกหนักจากเพชรบุรี Defeated by knockout in round 3 "Left Atomic" Sompong Wechasit, a hard-fisted fighter from Phetchaburi. แพ้น็อกยกที่ 3 “อะตอมซ้าย” สมปอง เวชสิทธิ์ นักชกหมัดเด็ดจากเพชรบุรี Former welterweight and middleweight boxing champion of Singapore. Who returns to wear the mongkol in Muay Thai again. ...Before the fight game, everyone thought that Suk would fight with the power of his heavy left fist. and Sompong Wechasit's expertise in the ring is not But when it came to reality, it turned out that Suk brutally attacked Sompong. Seriously There is no word of kindness. Until Sompong's mentor had to throw in the towel and surrender in the third round. ...Suk even got booed by boxing fans He said that the punch was too cruel and brutal. Thinking about killing a professional colleague (Drama, that's all) causing not many people to want to fight with Suk. And Suk found it even more difficult to find a suitable fight partner. ..Suk revealed that he had to fight like that because he was afraid. Somphong's atomic left is the same. therefore wanted to quickly put an end to the war I don't want it to drag on. Incidentally, this fight.. "Suk Prasat Hin Phimai" Receive a prize of 30,000 baht It was considered the highest in history at that time. Rest round 24: New system, easy to play, field prices, easy to start, has all the fun.
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  2. The above is a rough sketch of the triune circulations that engendered Thailand's rural Muay Thai, under the description of Peter Vail's dissertation "Violence & Control: Social and Cultural Dimensions in Thai Boxing" (1998). His dissertation captures Muay Thai just after its peak in the Golden Age (1980-1994), and focuses on the region around Khorat. what follows is just going to be some broadbrush patterning drawn from the work, and my other readings on Siamese/Thai history and that of Southeast Asia. One of the things that Peter Vail is really good at is bringing together Thailand's Muay Thai and Buddhism, especially in the production of (ideal) masculinity. In this post you can read about that nexus: Thai Masculinity: Positioning Nak Muay Between Monkhood and Nak Leng. The sketch above brings out the larger, more materialist aspects of the relationship between Buddhism and Muay Thai, the way in which Thai wats (temples) operate within the production of merit (positive spiritual karma), in parallel to how Thai kaimuay (camps) and festival fights (often on temple grounds) operate to produce earned income, through a gambling (chance-status) marketplace of fighting. These two economies flow both merit and income into the (here very simplified) subsistence economy of rice farming. Thai farming labor does not really make money, nor particularly symbolic merit, and its sons become novice monks or nak muay, just to name two options, each of which circulate in the community. Merit, social status & income flow from these into the family. And following Vail, the kaimuay-festival-fight machine produces a culturally ideal masculinity, just as the wat-machine produces spiritual capital (as well as its own idealized masculinity). Each of them supplement to the middle circulation. You can see more economic details and some graphs of the relationship between local fighting and rural subsistence, in this post: There is another really interesting aspect that comes to the fore when you drawn back and see these three circulations side by side. Historically Siamese kingdoms drew their power largely through seasonal slave raiding warfare. Whole rural, outlying communities were captured and relocated to nearby lands where they could work as farmers and also serve in the military. There was a double sided dimension to their capture and labor that then persists, transformed, in these 3 circulations. It is as if the rural economies of Muay Thai in the 20th century expressed the much older divisions of slave and then indentured service of Siam's past. Rural farmers no longer worked for the kingdom, but rather worked to pay back loans (in patronage relationships which operated like a safety net against unsure crops), and sons (as nak muay) not only served in the national military, but also produced a warrior hypermasculinity in the art form and local fighting custom of Muay Thai. What was slavery (or a strongly indentured/corvee hierarchy) developed into a community of rural farming (with little hope for social advancement) and the art of Muay Thai festival fighting, which provided income in supplement to the farming way of life. When Slavery was abolished in Siam, by the Slavery Act R.S. 124 (1905), the Military Conscription Act came along with it, binding the newly freed young men to military service. In 1902, three years prior, religious reforms were passed against non-Thammayut Buddhism mahanikai practices – (often including magical practices). Siam sought to standardize Buddhism, but it was also working to shift political power away from regional wats and religious leaders. The Siamese wat likely carried its own largely unwritten history of Muay Thai heritage, a keeper and trainer of the technical art of Muay Thai (Boran), along side the arts of magical combat. (The history of the famed early 20th century policeman Khun Phantharakratchadet and his training at Wat Khao Aor is a very good case study). This was a potentiated martial force. Undermining the martial powers inherent in wat training, placing young men nationally under military conscription, and secularizing Muay Thai (including the formalization of Muay Boran schools and training, and its teaching in civic schools), moved trained man-power away from regional wats and the community. You can read a great account of this struggle between a central government and local religious power in "Of Buddhism and Militarism in Northern Thailand: Solving the Puzzle of the Saint Khruubaa Srivichai" (2014). For some time, after the Military Conscription Act, the main method of its legal avoidance was to become a monk. Siamese regional Buddhism and National military conscription stood at tension, as political and perhaps even to some degree martial man-powers. Several reforms worked to keep men from evading conscription via less-than-committed monkhood (for instance the institution the testing of the literacy of monks). This is only to say that the long history of Siamese Buddhism in the community, organized around the wat and the labor of village sons as novice monks, including the pedagogy of Muay Thai (Boran) lay in tension with the formation of a centralized, newly modernize Nation. When we see the circulation of sons' labor and merit in the wat, and the parallel festival fighting often under the auspices of the local wat, this is a deep rooted, historical connection. Muay Thai and the wat go together, and have gone together for perhaps much more than a century. These 3 circulations put the two in context with the 3rd of rural farming. above, the sacred cave of Wat Khao Aor near Phattalung in the South, where acolytes could undergo rites to make themselves magically invulnerable, my photograph The last provisional note I'd like to make is that in these 3 circulations you find a very ancient production. O. W. Walters, a preeminent historian of Southeast Asia takes pains to draw a picture of mainland kingdom leadership which saw the ideal masculine chief as possessing what he calls "soul stuff". This soul stuff is an animistic vital relationship to power that expresses itself spiritually and martially. A King or chief is chief not because of bloodline, he argues, but because of his spiritual and martial prowess, the union of these two dimensions of power. It is a mistake in perception to take Thailand's Muay Thai practices in isolation. In that it makes sense as a meaningful production, a production of various surpluses (not just monetary, but also cultural surpluses), both strands, Buddhism and Muay Thai, need to be seen in the braid, I would argue. As ancient chiefs were once regarded as martially and spiritually formidable, rural Muay Thai circulations have also been braided in the wider sociological sense, in the production of merit and masculinity. You can see Walters' notes on Soul Stuff and Martial/Spiritual prowess here:
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  3. In November I'll be going to Thailand for 4 weeks mostly to train and hopefully fight. Last time I went to Phuket following @Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu's incredibly helpful advice, and muay thai-wise it was everything I wanted. However, I'm looking for a bit more of a pleasant place this time, maybe a bit less noisy and crowded. I'm considering Koh Samui, but I'm not sure if it fits that description, nor do I know anything about the muay thai scene there. Has anyone here fought in Koh Samui, or knows anything about the fight opportunities there? Any gym recommendations? Right now I'm fighting mostly pro-am (semi-pro?) in the UK, so I'm not exactly a beginner, but not a pro either. I walk around at 65-70kg and have a defensive, kick-heavy style. When I went to Phuket Fight Club I had no issues finding suitable sparring and clinching partners, but I'm wondering whether there are any gyms in Koh Samui that would provide that as well. I'm also open to other location suggestions
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