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  1. One of the more difficult and hidden aspects of gender gym dynamics that I've noticed is that because Muay Thai gyms are almost always male coded spaces it can be that there is a limited amount of social capital that women receive. That is to say, some women will get a desired amount of attention - the quality or kind of this attention may vary by gym - but because this is set up as inherently scarce, women will be even unconsciously forced into competing over that scarcity. This means that other women in the gym who may be more natural allies, making one feel more comfortable or at home, persons of support, inspiration or encouragement, actually become your competitors over "being authentic" or "being treated like a fighter" or even just "the coach pays attention to me". One woman may feel that the gym is pretty fair and supportive of women, because she's competed over the limited resource and won it, but other women may not. I'm not really sure what the answer to this is, other than being really sensitive to the idea that there may be hidden limitations of social capital. It can be very difficult, because a lot of what coaches can do is set up a scarcity in the first place, to motivate students. "I'll pay attention to you if you do it right", "I'll pay attention to you if you work really hard" "I'll pay attention to you if you show toughness". This leads to some very earnest women over-performing, or out-performing males in a space. They want to earn their rightful place in a male coded environment. But, this scarcity which should be a equally distributed scarcity also really easily can become quite gendered. That is to say: it's much more scarce for women than it is for men. In some gyms men will just take for granted something that women end up competing with other women for. Men compete with each other and will tend to bond. Women may experience competition with other women differently. Sylvie's talked about this female competition in the gym space a few times.
    5 points
  2. I wrote a poem to Sylvie about Karuhat once: "Karuhat, The king of cats, He has a hat, full of clapping bats And lots of friends, in as many flats He's not a brat. But if you act, Like a twat, He will pat your back and you will fall, In a friendly pit full of hungry rats." And this has been my input, lol
    5 points
  3. Last night at the Petchyindee show at Rajadamnern Stadium there was a disagreement about the outcome of one of the main events and this happened: https://fb.watch/dHq7PRppGW/ Gamblers stormed the ring and the man waving his arms around trying to get the crowd more riled is known as Hia Dtee (in this case the "hia" part means an uncle, but it's often changed in comments to be spelled like a swear word). He's a major player and is associated with TDet99, which is a group of fighters that are managed separately but train out of Petchyindee. Sia Boat, the head of Petchyindee (the "sia" here also means a ruch uncle in Chinese dialect) has struggled with his fits at his shows many times. Petchyindee just announced they will be adding another show on Monday nights, making them the most frequent promotion around with 3 shows per week (Mon, Thurs, Fri) at 2 dofferent stadia. After last night's erruotion, Rajadamnern announced that Hia Dtee and 2 other gamblers are banned from entering the stadium, at all, indefinitely. Petchyindee's Monday show is at Rangsit, so we'll see if the ban carries over or if it comes dorectly from the stadium. (Hia Dtee in yellow, Pern and Lek flanking) there is a general consensus that gamblers and gambling is out of control with their influence over decisions. Gamblers think referees and judges are corrupt and fighters are lazy. Arguments over decisions are as frequent as there are promotions, every single one has SOME online debate raging for a day or two after. Promoters are tired, fans are always complaining, and Lumpinee banned ALL gambling when they reopened their doors after Covid closures (the stadium is more or less dead as a result of that and a few other factors). Raja banning individual gamblers is a better move than attemtping to ban all gambling, but these are also heavy hitters... the state of Muay Thai in Bangkok is complicated and this is today's hot issue. Yesterday was Mathias's dad being an ass, tomorrow will be whatever happens tonight.
    4 points
  4. So, the title of the forum thread kinda says it all "what makes karuhat special, like no other fighter" Well, it's just that, he is not like ANY other fighter that I have seen, met or fought. Back in 1993 I was in Thailand for the first time training and fighting as a wide eyed teenager, full of red bull and dreams of Lumpinee Stadium! Before I went to Thailand I had studied Samart, Chatchai and Kongtoranee so made my home in Sityotong, fighting on small shows in Pattaya. I had seen video of Karuhat before then but did not know his name or where he trained. I went to Lumpinee one night with the camp to watch Chatchai fight and was lucky enough to be back stage helping out with massage and bandages etc. Considering that there were so many quality fighters in the old Lumpinee warm up area as soon as one character entered all eyes fell on him, like a magnet drawing a hushed attention to him, "Karuhat had arrived" He quietly and methodically arranged his shorts (sans label of course) bandages, warm up shorts etc into a quiet little corner and made his preparations for battle. (I still did not know his name at all then) My Thai was poor and I did not know how to ask. For those who have never been the Old Lumpinee stadium was a strangely magical place, when empty, just an old shack with barely spinning fans and a dusty stink to it, but on fight night a magical place indeed! Chatchai had fought and lost a close decision as the main event was about to start, he, and the other fighters form all of the other gyms hurried to catch sight of the small mad entering the ring with a slight smile and more than a slight swagger about him. "Karuhat had arrived" I was dragged by Kru Yodatong to "watch, watch" and I watched as he explained with his hands as i could not understand him. He placed on hand horizontally at chest height "Boonliai, Chatchai, Dekkers, Numphon, Sangtienoi" then he took his other hand and placed it at his chin level, again horizontal "Karuhat"; he was explaining "there are levels to this" and he is above them all! There started my love affair with his style, grace, power, swagger, smile, style (yes I had replica shorts made up and even a side part in my hair). It was the timing, the bravado, the slickness and the speed that excited me and prompted me to try and copy him in every was at the start of my career. He stood out, he gave and received so much respect with ease. But for me the one thing that makes him stands out is when after winning at Lumpinee, was that I got to say hello to him and share a few moments. In true Thai style, it was less of what was said (very little apart form me prostrating and saying in a strong English accent "Sawadee Krup") He pulled me us and asked "nak Muay"? I nodded, he then did the ultimate Thai thing of squeezing my muscles on my arms, shoulders, and legs, he kind of looked me up and down, I was not muscular, I was not strong and he could see that but what he mimed next will stay with me forever "He spoke in Thai but I didn't understand - I did understand what he meant though" He gestured like a big strong fighter, he pushed his nose down like it was broken, made some clumsy punches in the air, then shook his head, waved his finger to say NO. Then the poined to himself, showed a couple of teeps, a couple of pivots and japs "bop,bop" he said, then he brushed his hand over his face as if to say how handsome he was and no scars "YES YES" and a thumbs up. He was telling me to fight smart because of my frame - then a little smile and he was whisked away for a press conference. So, that's why for ME he will always be so special, he made time for a farang kid in the middle of a room full of experienced amazing Thai fighters. So, I just want to thank him! Thanks for letting me rant and geek out over him for a while :)
    4 points
  5. Amulets can go anywhere on the rim of the Mongkol, the only place I don't see them is on the tail. The hair can be put inside fabric and tied on to the Mongkol, or put in a fabric that gets integrated into the wrapping. My mom's skirt was cut into long strips and twosted very tightly, then wrapped around the tube that's the shape of the Mongkol and glued into place.
    3 points
  6. Stay super playful durring sparring sessions. Work on integrating defence moves that get you inside and in positions where (if you were in a fight) your muay kao style would benefit, and then smile at your partner and reset (thus your muscles are learning without finalizing the action). Another great sparring goal is to find yourself back at center and cutting off partners movements. This helps when you start going too hard.
    3 points
  7. So here is an informal list of gyms I'd generally recommend, and a short synopsis why. These are maybe one-month-stay recommendations. These are not reviews, just quick overall impressions. Keep in mind, I don't really spend a lot of time in gyms during regular training hours, and I'm not drawn to mega-gyms with lots of trainers, students and new facilities. I just get asked this question a lot so this is my best answer on my experiences, and sometimes from feedback I've heard from people I've sent there. If you have a question you can post it on this thread, or create a new thread in this Topic. I've included links to filmed sessions with some of the krus that head these gyms, I'd strongly recommend watching them to get a sense of the gym and the teaching style. [updated March, 2022] Sit Kru Thailand (Chiang Mai - contact here) Thailand Pinsinchai is a late- Golden Age fighter, so well rounded in beautiful technique, powerful striking, and a great teacher. He was originally part of the Santai krus, so he has experience with western fighters, but has opened his own gym in Chiang Mai. Importantly, he trains his own son as a fighter, and a handful of young (teenage) fighters who are frequently on Channel 7 and Petchyindee shows. The reason this is important is that gyms can have a sweet spot they hit when a Thai team is being built, which makes them very full of focus. Kru Thailand streams training often, you can find video of it here. The gym is on the premises of a resort, so you have a room right there if you wish. The facilities are nice but not fancy, but mainly Thailand is just an excellent teacher and a funny and sincere man. You can see how great Kru Thailand is as a teacher in my hour long Muay Thai Library sessions with him. Session 1 all about technique, Session 2 on clinch Yodwicha Muay Thai Gym (Buriram - contact here) Yodwicha is kind of the last of the great Muay Khao, at least in the true sense. Since he doesn't fight in Thailand anymore, his style is more of an "international" hands and forward-fighting, but he never forgets his roots. You'll be training with one of the best fighters in the world. He's a very generous and patient teacher and his wife Yanisara is a wonderful woman who speaks quite good English which is always a bonus. The gym has moved to Buriram from its former location in Bangkok. I have not visited or seen this new location but have heard from a recent couple who trained with him there that the experience was great. Another perk is that Yodwicha is still an elite fighter, so you can be there while he's preparing for fights and see what that looks like, as well as help him if you're of a suitable size. You can see Yodwicha's teaching style in this great Muay Thai Library session in his gym. Or. Kham/Fight House Thailand - Singburi with Kru Diesel (Singburi - connect to them here) Famed Kru Diesel is the big draw of this gym, but there are a number of very good fighters training there too. Kru Diesel is best known for having brought up two Muay Khao superstars at F. A. Group (Petchboonchu and Yothin) but he has moved to be the head trainer up in Singburi, where at the time of this writing he's rebuilding Sirichai (formerly Tanadet Tor. Pran49 - see this quick interview here), a handful of young male fighters. Female superstar Sawsing also trains there and brings female fighter teammates like Dangkongfah, Fahseetong, Petsaifaa, et al. Kru Diesel is a mastermind for the Muay Khao style, an amazing padman and a truly great teacher. For Muay Khao, this is a top option. The gym currently has nearby apartment options, but they tell me to build fighter dorms early 2022. Importantly, this is a legendary kru involved in building a legit Thai fight team, who also has lots of experience of training western fighters as well. These kinds of sweet spot gyms that are authentically Thai, but also understand western needs are rare. This session was filmed at FA Group, but you'll get a strong sense of Kru Diesel's teaching: Kru Diesel F.A. Group - The Art of Knees (84 min). A new session is coming to the Library that I've filmed at Fight House in Singburi. Follow Kru Dieselnoi Facebook, he live streams a lot. This gym is not easy to find, but here is the Google Map link to it. Manop's Gym (Chiang Mai) - For those that want a gym that is a bit more personal in their training Manop's gym in Chiang Mai is definitely something to check out. Manop is famously known as Saenchai's Yokkao trainer, and he's left Yokkao now to start his own life in Chiang Mai. He is incredibly perceptive as a teacher, very, very technical. I'm not sure I've run into a more precise and intuitive teacher of technique, a man with a gentle spirit as well. He also works really well with young western fighters. The gym is in a quiet neighborhood outside of the city, and seems like a great opportunity learn and train hard. If you check the threads of this forum you will find some very positive, thorough reviews of the gym a solid year or more into its foundation. Also it would seem very women-friendly, as Kru Manop raised his daughter Faa to become a fighter. You can see Kru Manop's teaching style in my Library sessions with him: The Art of the Teep (90 min), Session 2 - The Art of the Sweep (57 min) We did this quick video edit of the gym in 2020 if you want to take a look Gyms I Haven't Been To in While But Probably Still Recommended Kem Muaythai Gym - clinch heavy, gorgeous mountain location, run by a great fighter in Kem, access to Isaan festival cards. Kem's Muay Thai gym may be one of the best in Thailand, high up on a mountain near Khorat. I call it the Shaolin Experience. Big beautiful resort like grounds, grueling training sessions, at times lots of active fighters. The connection to Isaan fighting is very special, there is nothing quite like festival fighting. It's one of the best experiences you'll have as a fighter. I wrote about the gym a few years ago here: Kem Muaythai Gym: Hardcore, Beautiful, Clinch Gym - You can see Kem's teaching style in the Muay Thai Library: Session 1: Building a System (52 min), Session 2: Mastering Everything In Between (80 min) Hongthong Gym (Chiang Mai - contact here) - My private with Joe Hongthong was absolutely wonderful. He thinks creatively about the fighter I am, and then about how to enhance that. They've had successful women fighting out of their gym, and from personal experience I'd say that if you are a Muay Khao fighter Joe would make a wonderful teacher. The gym is very connected to the local Chiang Mai fight scene, and to Bangkok fight opportunities and is very fighter-oriented. mid-sized western fighters seem like they've had success training and fighting out of this gym. Watch Joe's training style: Developing the Muay Khao Style | 87 Minutes - Joe Hongthong - Chiang Mai Please post all gym recommendation questions you have for me here on this thread, or start your own thread. That way the conversation can develop and benefit others too! (This list and its descriptions will be revised over time)
    3 points
  8. I've read a similar post on how to improve conditions for women at the gym but I haven't quite found what I was looking for. A few years ago, I started to train Muay Thai. At first, I didn't feel the gender inequity because I was just working out. But now that I want to get ready for my first fight, I've hit a wall. There are not many women in Muay Thai, much less in advanced categories. I usually train with the same 2-3 women that are somewhat advanced and that I feel we can make each other better. However, I train 6 times/week. They train much more sporadically. So I'm often left to find other partners that are usually beginners which is fine once in a while but when it's 75% of my training, I quickly feel like my progress is stalling. Sometimes, I train with my boyfriend who is certainly up to par to help me progress. However, I'm 5'2 120 lbs and he's 6'1 180lbs. When I hold the pads for him, with 180lbs of muscle, his blows are too powerful. I always end up with a massive headache (from the vibrations on the pads) and pain in my forearms (from his kicks), even when he doesn't go full force. I'm afraid that it will either cause micro concussions or a stress fracture. And even if it doesn't, it's more than an inconvenience. The reason I mention women and not just general people in my weight category is because I feel that the bigger issue is the gap in women's progress (also, not many people in my weight category in general). So recently, I asked the head coach for a solution, explaining the situation (which of course he already knew because I've mentionned it before). His only solution was for me to go to beginners' class, where most of the women are. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body but he doesn't always understand the struggles. I was very displeased, especially that we were planning my first fight before the last shut-down we had in December because of COVID. I must say, my gym is very inclusive and I feel safe. I'm just frustrated I can't progress as much as I want. The thing with most women at my gym is that they do it to get in better shape but not many actually want to get better in their technique. Because they've never been told they could? Because they think getting better necessarily means they need to fight? Maybe, I don't know. I'll for sure talk to them about it. I've been offered the opportunity to coach at that gym. I think that is one way to change women's mentality and help them progress and at least make them feel they can progress if they choose to. I want to bring forward a class or program that would make women more comfortable in progressing (many have told me that titles like 'advanced' lessons intimidate them , especially with the majority of really tall men that attend). I feel like my post is a little scattered but I wanted to explain where the problem stems from. So, my aim is to help women exploit their potential and make the male coaches more proactive when it comes to gender problems. I was thinking of doing a women-only class tailored to the needs of those who attend, but that's as far as my idea goes. I would really like having a great plan to present to the owners and other coaches. I'm hoping you can share your tips and tricks. I look forward to reading your feedback, solutions you've witnessed, whatever you think might help.
    3 points
  9. Hi there! I've just finished my first session at Hongthong this evening so I might not be the most qualified person to comment as I haven't trained at Santai but from my perspective things were really lovely at Hongthong. I had some technical correction from my pad holder but not to the point where it seemed like I had been doing things wrong forever. In terms of fighting I've gone there expressly for the purpose of fighting and they seemed really happy and willing to let people fight (someone actually agreed to a fight at the time I was there so its not like it is a 'behind closed doors' deal). Unfortunately, I can't comment from the perspective of being a female fighter in a gym but that being said it seemed like the women who trained with us today were included. I don't feel like they were as actively included as men were. I had to offer to spar with one of the women because she was left without a partner but I'm not sure if that is just a one-off or a long-term thing. I do know that women do fight out of that gym successfully so I imagine you would have opportunities to get rounds in and all that. But, from my perspective as someone who is openly, though not too openly, queer I felt comfortable. People were respectful and didn't seem to be creepy towards the women at the gym though I don't speak Thai and can't comment on whether anything was happening that I didn't understand. From a community standpoint they were lovely I was introduced to everyone, and they made an effort to remember my name. I got good treatment and jumped right into the group really, I've even been invited to a gym drinks on the weekend. So in terms of 'community' it seemed really nice but I can't say whether that will be universal as I'm able to pass as a cis-het man. All in all, after only one day of training I plan to go back, unfortunately I'm not staying at the gym but the facilities didn't seem to bad. I think they were only built in the last 5 years or so. Sorry that I don't have all the info you need but I hope this helps! :)
    3 points
  10. February 1st will present the first all-female card at Lumpinee Stadium, it's GoSport (the promotion that introduced women to the ring there) and doesn't indicate whether all these fights are 5 rounds or if some are 3 rounds. It appears to all be Thai women and the Main Event is Sanaejan (the first female fight for the Lumpinee banner was Sanaejan vs Buakaw, but wasn't IN the stadium due to Covid restrictions, so this will be her first time actually in the Lumpinee ring) vs Somrasmee, who was "Rising Star of the Year" in Thailand's Northern region last year or the year before.
    3 points
  11. There is a topic that I’ve been hoping to discuss recently regarding my own personal experiences and those that I’ve heard about from other women. My experience at multiple gyms as well as the one where I currently train, is there is a “boys club” that exists and creates a certain barrier for women who train. I’ve only trained in the US, so that is my frame of reference for gym culture. A (male) business partner and I are hoping to open a gym in the near future. I’m hoping that this discussion will help inform the culture we create as well as improve the approach of current gyms. I’ve noticed more than one coach almost entirely ignore women who train either as beginners or experienced fighters. Men are given more attention in terms of coaching, encouragement, and feedback. I’ve also observed that women, myself included, seem to get excluded from conversations, condescended to, have borderline or blatant sexist comments directed toward them, and assumptions being make about fighting knowledge as well no matter the level of experience. Other than power level, there have only been a handful of times where experienced being treated differently in sparring. I’m not sure if that’s a common experience for other women or not. This question is addressed to other women who train. What is your experience in this regard? Have you felt that this was common in gyms where you have trained? Do you feel like it slowed down your progress with learning? How do you think the gym culture can be improved so women become more skilled? I’m asking men, respectfully, to refrain from saying things along the lines of “That doesn’t happen” or “women are being too sensitive”. You are welcome to constructively participate in the conversation and ask questions but please do not deny that other people experience things. Men, please be respectful and measured in your responses. I'm placing this here instead of in the women’s only forum because I feel it’s important for all people to read and consider these observations. It’s important for the growth of the sport and for women to have better experiences in the gym.
    3 points
  12. I’m not sure there is anything I can add here because this spelling out exactly what I feel like I’m responding to both personally and as a potential gym owner. Very insightful and I’ll have see if I can find some what Sylvie has written about how this happens. That scarcity is a very real thing and quite frequently does not filter down to women regardless of skill level, even if she is a fighter. As a woman in my mid 40s, I’m *never* going to a high priority for 99% of coaches. I’m a woman, I’m older, I’m past the prime age where sexual interest is a major driving factor, there is no potential there for being a legit fighter, professional or amateur, etc. But I see even the younger women that have far more potential than I do and pro female fighters having the same issue. And it keeps the ball rolling because the scarcity breeds lack of trust between the women at the gym. So not only are you not getting in optimal training with men, you also aren’t getting it with women either because there isn’t enough trust built to push each other to be better. I like my female training partners but sometimes it feels like that isn’t necessarily reciprocated. It doesn’t have to be like that.
    3 points
  13. One thing I wanted to mention is also us women understanding how much power we have and how hard we punch. I might be mistaken, but I feel sometimes women tend to go pretty hard because guys we spar with never want to admit when hurts. So we don't learn to assess our own strength in strikes.
    3 points
  14. What you're describing is internalized sexism. So, you deal with that. It's not your "fault" and it doesn't make you bad, but you do have to acknowledge and recognize it first and foremost in order to go about addressing it. Women aren't children. Women aren't weak and unable to make decisions for ourselves. Women go to sparring for the same reasons men do, to be challenged, to improve, to experience pressure. By giving priority to your discomfort, you are robbing your teammates of all those benefits. Be generous, just as you would for a male teammate. Note size difference and skill disparity and make adjustments for those, just as you would for a male teammate. Also, thank you for asking this, as it demonstrates you do care and want to do better for your teammates.
    3 points
  15. What would be good etiquette if, as a man, the reason for this attitude during sparring (or any other sort of intense pair training) is mental discomfort with the idea of throwing even mid-level strikes with women? I've found myself paired with girls and it is quite uncomfortable to try and disregard this cultural norm. I did that exact thing described of just using defence and letting the girls work their offence during these routine 'colosseum' exercises (I forget the English term for it) at a gym I trained at, where the instructor would make one of us (sometimes a woman) do rounds with almost everyone at a time. It wasn't supposed to be sparring, but eventually the one doing the rounds would get tired and more desperate, so they'd put more behind their strikes and, between men at least, you'd end up reciprocating with similar intensity. I use this example because, even if you oppose to being a sparring partner for a female (if your instructor lets you, that is), you might find yourself in a situation where you'll basically be doing light sparring with them, and might adjust your power a bit too low for those that want to be treated equally. Sorry if this is a bit of a convoluted question, but basically I wanted to take the chance (and please do excuse me if I'm unknowingly derailing the topic of conversation) to ask what you think would be the right procedure for males that just feel uncomfortable hitting females but nonetheless get thrown in situations where you have to be available for them and actually want to help them improve their skills in any other way you can (as you would with any other training partner, since that's obviously the idea- to get better together). Thanks!
    3 points
  16. My experience as a female who has trained in a variety of western gyms is as follows: 1. Being paired with men who will decrease their intensity too much out of fear of "hitting a woman" which hurts both of our training but is especially frustrating to me. I have to ask them to go harder, the coach has to tell them to go harder and sometimes they will and sometimes they still won't. 2. Not being taken seriously, left out of the gym "community" which usually consists of the coach and his best male fighters. 3. Sexual harassment or unwanted attention from other members; same age, older, single, married. It's demoralizing but women are sadly used to being in spaces that are not friendly to them. The gym owner and staff need to be in charge of establishing and controlling the gym's culture. There should be an anonymous complaint box, established rules and no tolerance for sexual harassment. If possible the gym staff should take interest in all its members and try to understand why they are there and how they can support their goals.
    3 points
  17. I've been training (US-based) for about 5-6 years. I was lucky to have the option of finding gyms that weren't sexist in the ways you described, but in visiting other gyms or trying other gyms to potentially join I have experienced a lot of sexism. In the US, I'm considered a fairly experienced amateur fighter with 21 fights, but when I visit other gyms I almost invariably get paired with the only other woman in the gym, regardless of size or skill level. This drives me nuts, because I'd much rather have a partner with comparable skill - whether that person be male or female! It also poses a problem as sometimes there are men more appropriately sized to work with me, when I'll get paired with a much larger woman. Combine that with a skill discrepancy, and it makes me feel like I'm only good enough "for a girl" and not to train with the majority of the fighters. In sparring, I get a lot of guys trying to go light on me but they go so light that they're basically shadow boxing or going super slow. If I pick up the intensity, sometimes they get mad and try to hurt me. Neither is beneficial. I also get a lot of those guys that just shell-up and say "hit me, hit me!" and (maybe this is just me) I find this super condescending because if I wanted to just hit something that doesn't move I'd hit a bag. In some cases, I've asked coaches (that I'm more familiar with) "hey, you paired me with her, but I think this other person would be a better match based on skill and/or size." In my own gym, I try to take my turn teaching newer people how to hit and hold pads - we all have to learn. But when I'm paying to drop in at another gym, I am paying to work, not teach their new students to hold pads. The biggest thing I've learned is just to advocate for myself. It's really hard, and the response isn't always what we want but I find that 95% of the time people don't realize they're behaving in a sexist way and didn't realize how you interpreted what they did. Sometimes I've been given really thoughtful reasons why I was partnered up the way I was, too - trying to inspire a student who's expressed interest in fighting by letting them work with a fighter who "looks" like them. As for the "boys club" part of it, sometimes I find this. I always ask myself if I really want to be in that club. If yes, I assert myself. If I have valuable knowledge, I put it forward. Sometimes though, I can see that this is a group I don't care to be part of and I have no problem just walking away. I'm happy to share my thoughts if they ask, but unconcerned if they don't and that they don't consider me one of them. Many gyms have cliques and sometimes those cliques are all-encompassing. I'm not trying to join a Muay Thai cult - just train and fight and make some friends. I hope this helps!
    3 points
  18. Thank you Kevin for voicing this and as a man understanding this. I really appreciate that. I find personally it's really hard to speak about these things. When as a woman you get discriminated against because you are a woman (and this happens a lot), those situations are easy to fix: everyone gets to spar, everyone gets clinching etc. The hard part is the benefits you might receive because you are _not_ like other women. So there are situations where you receive a lot of attention because you are not what they expect a woman to be (oftentimes playing that card of being very strong physically but just sweet enough so that they accept your male coded attributes), but you know for sure that this attention is at the same time cutting into attention that could have been given to other girls, because of the scarcity you speak of. You "play the game" to get ahead. And you not proud of it, but as a woman you know it's a zero sum game. So the ideal situation is that your gender is viewed neutrally. But if that happens, lots of benefits are lost.
    3 points
  19. Thanks for raising this issue and for wanting to create a better gym environment for women. I second everything that Sylvie said. I'd definitely recommend having a reporting/feedback system, which people can choose to use anonymously. But also to make sure that gym members see and feel that they're listened to and that steps are taken after their feedback is received. Otherwise, it can become disheartening and the system becomes pointless. I've experienced all the things you mentioned. When it comes to sparring, I think it's important that trainers step in. Not just when things get out of hand, but when they can see that people are being treated differently. For example. I've been frustrated so many times by male sparring partners who've refused to hit me, spent the whole round just blocking, running away, or acting like a punch bag (regardless of their size or experience level). At times, my trainers have made comments, reminding them to hit me and spar properly. Other times, they've switched my partner for someone more suitable. That makes me feel like at least they have my back and encourage these guys to be better sparring partners. I understand that you can't (and shouldn't) babysit everyone all of the time, but just being observant of these imbalances can make a big difference in making women feel more supported. You've reminded me that I have an unpublished blog post written about a similar topic, so I'll get on and finish that!
    3 points
  20. I don't have a lot of experience training in western gyms, but when I have these experiences were my experience as well, and Thai gyms absolutely treat women differently from men but not necessarily in every aspect. I would offer that as a gym owner you will have to explicitly correct your trainers and even gym members on a fairly regular basis, as sexism is cultural and not specific to the context of the person or the gym. Normalizing communication between gymmates, as well as feedback between staff and members - across all genders - will make it easier and more reasonable for members to voice their needs. "This sparring is too hard for me," should be as valid as "this is too light for me." All genders. Maybe encourage training partners to communicate and check in with each other between each round. And an anonymous comments box to make complaints or suggestions about trainers.
    3 points
  21. Hello everyone, on wednesday I will be giving a talk at the danish art and sports festival Go Extreme https://www.kunsthalaarhus.dk/en/Exhibitions/Go-Extreme where Kevin has kindly agreed to lend me pictures for the powerpoint presentation. The format is very interesting, I think: I will be providing the theory, and two danish muay thai fighters Frederik Fenger and Mikkel Haahr will be displaying the points physically throughout the presentation, concluding with a fight. The argument will be as follows: The classic golden age muay thai dichotomy of muay femeu and muay khao is well established within these circles: the muay femeu is the matador, the muay khao the toro. The muay khao fights with heart, brute force, intensity, relentlessness, violence and strength; the muay femeu fighter is elegant, intelligent, evasive, transcendent, unphased and manipulative. I will argue that the dichotomy of the dionysian and the apollonian as conceived in the work Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Tragedy is applicable and reflects the same dynamics, ideas and intuitions as our muay thai distinction. Following this, I will use Sherry Ortners classic Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture? http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/sites/default/files/pdf/class_text_049.pdf to further the dichotomy, concluding that these dichotomies as historically created reflect the same relation and opposition: male/muay femeu/apollonian/culture vs. female/muay khao/dionysian/nature. With this concessed, we run into an interesting paradox of masculinity: if hypermasculinity is conceived as the capacity for and willingness to use violence, masculinity cannot also be metaphysically defined as an identity that is opposed to (animalistic) violence. From this standpoint, I will be arguing with Judith Butler that a metaphysical conception of masculinity as a moral or identity of masculinity is untenable, and that through the Heideggerian reading of the greek truth-concept aletheia https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heidegger/#ReaRelBeiTim, masculinity is an event of dominance, which does not have an intrinsic and transcendent identity or moral at its core, but is created as art from and in the body of the fighter. The reason muay thai is so interesting as a paradigm for the thinking of gender is that it reveals that masculinity, however, is not something radically constructivist or relativistic, seeing that the fight constitutively has a winner and a loser as its ontological foundation. This implies that masculinity is something that shows itself - or lets the truth of masculinity happen - through the art of muay thai. I will try to get it filmed and transcribed so that all of you who cannot attend will get to see it anyways, but I can't promise anything as of yet. Either way I'd love to hear what you guys think about the reasoning and elaborate in case any of you have any questions. Best, Asger
    3 points
  22. Hello everyone, finally got the video, hope you enjoy and looking forward to hear what you think!
    3 points
  23. Two things may have persisted through all these years. Sylvie just has always patchworked her training approach. At the time of the the first video she's taking the train down from Fort Montgomery where we lived in a little rented house next to a National Park, to train in Manhattan. We were just piecing training together because there was no real path to where she wanted to get as a fighter, no "Point A to point B, just do all the work, listen to all the right people and you'll get there" path. 11 years on we are in the exact same place. There is no point A to point B path. She's much, much further down a path of her own invention, to be sure, tinkering steps forward up a rock wall, but everything unstable that she faced 11 years ago is still right there. She's training sometimes at her old gym, sometimes alone working on self-curation, daily in sparring at another gym, privately with Yodkhunpon, and all the intermittent training in filming legends and great krus in the Library. But, from at least my perception, nothing has changed at all in this. She is not being carried by a process, or by powerful others, and in this sense is exposed. There is no safe port. And because her process involves sharing her flaws with others - unlike every other fighter I've ever seen, where it is regular to hide your flaw and amplify your best qualities - this exposure is hard to carry. The other aspect that has persisted is that because she's a true disruptor in the sport, doing things outside of the expectations and ways of others who are invested quite differently, there is a constant social current she is swimming against. In the first video she's talking about YouTube criticism, but more this is just push back against who she is. So many have come to support her over the last decade, and lent their voices & resources to make the path possible, but still there is, and may always be a detractor audience, which in part comes from the fact that she's still doing things that nobody else does. In the second vlog she's matured into her place in the sport, taken root in herself...to some small degree, but personally the same pressures of resistance press upon her. The road is no easier at this point, than it was 11 years ago. In fact in many ways its even more difficult...but, what has changed and deepened is the richness of what she has built up inside, with 268 fights and a decade of sharing her flaws with others for over a decade. She has more substance and standing and belief in what she is doing. This is what I see.
    3 points
  24. I’m deeply worried about the future of traditional Muay Thai.
    3 points
  25. For me Karuhat is a representation of the true beauty of Muay Thai, obviously he is a femur but he just has a style and aura that is like nobody else which has me in awe every time i watch him. It’s from the way he throws every shot to how he makes everything look so effortless that makes him just so fucking cool but at the same time just beautiful to watch, and in my opinion one of the best ever. Every technique and shot karuhat throws is so so beautiful and fucking unreal, it’s in the way he moves and flows around the ring as if he’s melting, the way his shots just come out of nowhere and land with the most perfect technique all whilst making his opponents look so stupid as he does everything with such elegance and ease, it’s like watching an artist at work, it’s just fucking beautiful man. I’ll watch for literally hours videos of these golden era fighters, studying them but mainly just being in amazement of there styles and the passion they bring to the ring, the boxers nowadays just don’t really do it for me and the beauty of the sport with the showing of pure heart just isn’t there anymore. When i watch these fighters like karuhat i get a feeling i can’t describe of just excitement and pure fucking awesomeness, you can really feel the love these guys had for the sport and the passion they brought to the ring that made them so special, they fought with absolutely everything they had showing pure heart ans love for Muay Thai which you can feel through the screen. Every single day i train day in day out giving 110%, i want nothing more in life but to be a champion and have a love for this sport that is like nothing else i have ever experienced, karuhat is like a legend to me as well as every single one of these golden era fighters and i dream of being just half the fighters they where . If i where to win these shorts would mean a fucking hell of a lot, i’d never have them off
    3 points
  26. This is one of the most interesting things for us who laud the excellence of the Golden Age of Muay Thai, and the ages that surround it. The very truth of the matter seems to be: Fighting excellence has come out of great cruelty, intense difficulty, and even injustice. We think somewhat glamorously about things like how Dieselnoi's patron was a mafia boss and godfather, in the Hollywood sense, but this is, in a lived reality, a realm of harshness and crime. The romance we have towards traditional hierarchies include also injustices, and dictatorships in life. Muay Thai (as with so many fighting sports in the world) likely laundered not only slews of monies (gained from cruelty & suffering), but also social statuses. This is the nature of it all. It might be said that it was an immense oppression machine, a compression machine, that produced not only the excellence of these fighters, but also the fights and promotions that produced them. Talking this over with Sylvie, this seemingly inherent connection between cruelty and fighting excellence, historically, makes me value all the more the precious achievements in Self that people like Dieselnoi, and fighters of his age produced. These men fashioned high art, of themselves, in the harshness of opportunity and circumstance. From where we stand now, it seems like the worse thing of all to forget these men, to forget or lose what they created, out of that harshness. It was that medallion of gold that they mined from their flesh, forged into an art and history. When we remember them, when we document them, we extend its reason for being. Dieselnoi once was talking about the differences between his historical fate and that of Samart, in the context of having beaten him in the fight of the year, The Holy Grail of Fights. He says, he would not have wished upon anyone his fate. He explained that in Thailand it's not how you go along, its how things end. Just like in a 5 round fight, it's the 4th round that matters. For someone like Dieselnoi its the ending that matters, for all of us who are seeking to record and celebrate the creations of these men, the excellence they drew out of extremely harsh circumstances, its about fashioning that ending for them, the one that says: It matters. We can do that now.
    3 points
  27. the illustration above is of Karuhat done by graphic artist Luis Pinto, layered over a Van Gogh At bottom of this post is a segment from a ways back where Sylvie and I touched on some thinking I've had that placed Muay Thai, the art of Muay Thai, as one of the great Art Forms of our time. After reading this you can see the live thinking between the both of us on this. I for some time have tried to position Thailand's Muay Thai - and the all art forms of combat sports as well - in the context of other traditional fine art forms such a poetry, painting, dance, fiction, etc. The two bookends that we extemporaneously covered in the video below were the idea that Muay Thai (and full contact fighting arts), unlike almost all the others, is done under great duress. I think dance can be considered to be under something of intensity which is akin to duress, and we could talk about that as a special case, but the fighting arts, in so far they are arts, involve duress and bodily fear as the material, the paint and canvas, with which they paint. There is something quite special about this, I believe. The fighting arts are heroically expressing themselves at, in and on what can be thought of as the most base, or perhaps animal, in what is human. This canvas and paint is unique. The other bookend that is brought up below is that the art form of something like Thailand's Muay Thai, and maybe western boxing of the past when it was more composed of communities, is a Way of Life. Which means that it expresses something more than techniques, or excellence. It comes out of lives, values and culture, in a weave that makes it incredibly rich. Rich in an artistic way. I compare it to something like Fishing, which may be considered a craft, which also traditionally is a body of practices and techniques which are embedded in a Way of Life which might express the lives of an entire village. I'm purposely blurring the lines of craft and art here, largely because "art" usually resides in the hands of the privileged, and as we move along the spectrum towards craft we encounter the knowledge and practices of a people. How much of qualifies as Art is part of the question as to whether Muay Thai is a great Art Form, or even an Art Form at all. Given enough historical perspective individual art is understood to be an expression of a people in a historical time, such as the art of the Incas, the tragedies of the Greeks, the Impressionism of late 19th century Europe. Core to this perspective is raising an appreciation for what combat sports is, the position they have within a society, and laying some claim to the importance of the aesthetics of the combat sport performance. This dimension of fight aesthetics is what elevates fighting to an Art in the societal sense, I'd suggest, in the same way that painting or poetry can possess inherent expressive value, to the culture itself. This means that western boxing, the world's MMA and other combat sports have a claim to artistic value, even though they also ride hard the lines of commerce, popular culture and arguably the role of sheer spectacle, in the "bread and circuses" sense - see Noam Chomsky for that perspective. Perhaps like cinema, the fighting arts in sport operate between entertainment and art, which isn't to deny film or fighting its real value as an Art itself. This post just wanted to spin out some of those developing ideas, and in thinking about Thailand's Muay Thai explain why I believe it may be the greatest art form in the world. This isn't to say that it is better than poetry, or dance...or better than western boxing or Karate, but rather in a specific way see all the differing threads that it brings together into a single rope, that make of it something that is extraordinarily rich. That we raise up the importance of fighting arts themselves along with this discussion is also a benefit. To start with, one thing that arguably separates out Thailand's Muay Thai are the firm aesthetic demands that it places on scoring. For some this might make Muay Thai somewhat unreal as a fighting sport, because it's not all about the damage - though it clearly is one of the more violent combat sports on the planet, its full-rules version not even legal in many countries. Muay Thai has a unique combination of very visible violence, but also strong aesthetic guidelines. Things like fighter posture, displays of balance, self-control figure heavily on the scorecard, as well as the ability to express oneself narratively throughout the 5 rounds - narrative itself is the real of many of the fine arts (for more on narrative time in Thailand's Muay Thai see: The 6 Core Aspects of Muay Thai). Fighting in Thailand is expressly, even in terms of score, storytelling. (I believe fighting is also storytelling in other combat sports, in terms of audience appreciation, but this valuation is not expressly embedded in scoring criteria). Muay Thai advocates might say that these aesthetic principles in scoring are actually encoded guidelines for real fighting prowess, so that if you excel in balance, posture, artful dominance, narrative, you become a very effective fighter in the raw sense, but, it is really that there is a strong aesthetic demand that allows Thailand's Muay Thai to ascend up the pyramid of combat sports, as an Art. It is, or has a strong artistic aspect. And if it has a differential of artistic quality from some combat sports, it also distinguishes itself from more "traditional martial arts" that went through long periods of development apart from large volume full contacting fighting, in the hands of masters or teachers who perhaps somewhat aesthetically carved & preserved fighting skills. Thailand's Muay Thai exists pretty much baby bear between let's say western boxing and 1980 Korea's TKD. The product of 100,000s of full contact fights - determining its grounded efficacy - while maintaining an expression of the culture and the people out of which it has sprung, purposely. It is Buddhistic and artistic, but also it is quite reality tested, made from the lab of full-contact physically clashing, highly trained bodies. It's important to understand because people in combat sports, and traditional martial arts like to argue about which fighting form is superior, in some kind of abstract, almost technical way, as if you could take a blank fighter in art x, and a blank fighter in art y and come out with which art is better. Aside from that being not very close to how real fighting knowledge works, this is not what this is about. And, this is not about badassness, or technical proficiency. Nope. It's thinking about the Art value of Muay Thai, and other fighting sports and arts in general. And in terms of Thailand's Muay Thai, thinking about all the ways that information, distinction, criteria, belief, aesthetic ambition and experience come to be expressed through it, in real world fighting stages. Like other arts, fighting arts are staged. In a way, it's about all the influences of value that are poured into the expression of Thailand's Muay Thai, let's say over the last 100 years of its modernity. Its how much variation and richness, and portrayed human efficacy can be packed into a fighting art and its real world practice, so that we value it artfully, such that a comparison with the Fine Arts becomes interesting. In my mind, in the modern era, the West's culture of boxing say between the 1930s and 1980s is the closest thing I think of, a performed knowledge and rite, flowing out of specific communities & micro-economies that reached very high levels of skilled excellence, somewhat in parallel to Thailand's Muay Thai. The main difference between the two, in terms of Art Form evaluation, is perhaps the aesthetic dimension of Thailand's scoring criteria, the way that its Muay Thai reaches deeper into performance as art, explicitly, though it would be very interesting to talk about the evolving, often unstated aesthetic demands of boxing throughout its history in the West. There is a deeper dimension of the argument towards an Art, which I've begun talking about in this running short essay series (just below), which attempts to uncover some of the deeper cultural reasons why combat sports themselves carry so much meaning in a culture. They are not just "bread and circuses", but following the thinking of the sociologist René Girard - wikpedia here - who has studied the logic of Sacrifice and victim, they may serve a powerful purpose in equalizing and stabilizing a society or subculture. Much as older rights of sacrifice may have purged a community of inherent violence, combat arts that necessarily produce losers may very well be fulfilling a much older human sociological need. You can read into that possibility as it applies to Thailand's Muay Thai in my unfinished series here: This is explicitly not to say that Thailand's Muay Thai alone might fulfill this role, in fact almost any sporting event that produces losers (and winners) might be performing this role. But, it is to add importance to the kinds of things that are being expressed by the fighter/artist in the ring, an importance that the writers of history gift to the Fine Arts of the academies. Art is supposed to be transformative, expressive and illuminating, with roots into human rite and ritual. It may very well be that combat sports indeed are creating some of these same values, but perhaps in an older way. If we add the aesthetic dimensions that Thailand's Muay Thai folds back in, we can see the unique nexus of kinds value that may be braided. It is the very agonistic nature of the performance, the way that adrenaline, blood, fear, Amygdala, technique, self-possession, Buddhism, pain, recovery and respect mix that make of this art and sport at the very least a spectacular art. It's woven of extremely diverse strains of what makes us human, from the very lowest to the most high. And, as mentioned up top, it is not a rarefied art held by "masters". It exists in a living sense in households, community centers, in family relations, in circles and roots of micro-economies, a thick web of a turf of Life, perhaps how fishing or sailing as an art and craft might inhabit a coastal peoples for a century, expressing them. Filled with practical, hard-won knowledge, and also meaningfully imbued practices, the things that cut off the "artist" in the prototypical sense, are re-grounded in the lives of people, and all their beliefs. It's true. The Muay Thai of Thailand is changing. It could be said that the fabric of which it is woven is unraveling, however slowly or quickly we may not be able to tell, but it is still there before us right now, a certain kind of inheritance. It's the inheritance of a people, the Thai people, but it also I believe the inheritance of the world, because so much of Muay Thai has involved deep international influences, starting with Western Boxing and to a lesser degree Judo at the birth of its modernity in the 1920s. For a 100 years this art form has been catching the strands of the world's fighting arts and woven them into the tapestry, as well. It's okay if it's not acknowledge as the greatest Art Form in the World, but I do want the very idea of Art Form to be expanded to include the fighting arts, and for aesthetic concerns in a fighting sport to gain some weight when we think of the value of what is being done. It may mean something to us to understand that the fighting arts are performing something primally important to us, and that they are doing it both artfully and brutally. The Muay Thai Bones segment:
    3 points
  28. Gyms that I do not have personal experience with but have heard positive things about, or which I visited and have qualities that might appeal to a certain kind of traveler/student/fighter. These are not gym reviews, just quick impressions. Santai Gym (outside of Chiang Mai) - lots of people have had positive experiences here, including pro female fighters. I've heard that they teach one style of Muay Thai (from the famed Pinsinchai camp), so they may try to change your kick or your fighting style. This is good in that everyone is more or less on the same page, but also perhaps limited in the sense that the variety of Muay Thai found in Thailand is incredibly rich, even in a particular gym, which for me means more to learn from. People who seem to really enjoy the camp are those looking for "technical" instruction, enjoy more organized instruction, and they who like to bond with other western travelers/fighters, as the camp seems to have nice tight-knit community. They actively recruit and support female western fighters. new note (3/4/2019) - a mainstay as one of the most dependable gyms in Thailand, I've heard that they have in high season removed the cap of students they once had, and that the gym can get a little overpopulated, with the quality of training dropping for some. This is very hard to gauge from afar, but it should be mentioned as a possibility in high-season. Sitjaopho (Hua Hin) - This is a gym in Hua Hin that is quiet popular with those looking for "technical" instruction. It has a strong Swedish connection, as well as a following with some from the East Coast (USA). I've never been here and can't recommend on my own experience, but they have long-term and repeat clients. Chatchai Sasakul Gym (BKK) - the former WBC world champion boxer Chatchai is highly recommended if you want to work on your boxing. Precise technician, great instructor. Probably the best boxing gym in Thailand, home of several current world champions. Private sessions are best. You can see a full private session with him here. They also have some nearby accommodation for longer-term stays as well. Dejrat Gym (BKK) - This is a hidden gem in Bangkok run by the coach of the Thai National Team, Arjan Surat. Watch our session together. It just is a very "Thai" gym, so I couldn't recommend it in a broad way, either in a cultural or instruction sense. It's no-nonsense Muay Thai that is focused on its serious Thai fighters. They have had experience with female fighters. Go here only if you want some sort of immersion, are prepared to work very hard, and be positioned in a traditional hierarchy. Not a lot of English spoken. My session with Arjan Surat: Arjan Surat 2 - His Old School Tough & Defensive Style (94 min) Burklerk's Gym (Lampang, contact here) - outstanding instruction from a Legend in sleepy and beautiful Lampang. He and his wife have opened up a brand new resort style gym in Lampang. I wrote about his original home gym here: Burklerk's Family Run Gym in Lampang. Burklerk has a beautiful, powerful style and each time I visit I learn things. Even 5 minutes with him is gold. It's a small community gym in a quiet neighborhood, but not a fighter's gym really. Go there for the time with Burklerk, but there won't be much sparring or clinching. My session with Arjan Burklerk in his original home location: Burklerk PInsinchai - Dynamic Symmetry (82 min) Keatkhamtorn Gym (Bangkok) - This gym is an authentic kai muay gym in Bangkok in that it is still very focused on growing Muay Thai stadium champions from an early age. This means that it is a great gym for small bodied westerners especially those interested in immersive clinch. Immersive clinch the way Thais learned, but be warned it takes a while.They have tons of young male fighters between 45-52 kg, and are a Muay Khao gym, which means that you'll be encouraged to develop proper clinch fighting habits. I will definitely make this my clinch gym when in Bangkok. The owner, Teerawat Chukorn is a Police Captain and very kind, and speaks English. You can contact them through their Facebook page which will respond in English. Rambaa Somdet M16 (Pattaya) - Want to train with a Thai MMA legend (their first MMA World Champ), and to do so for cheap? Rambaa's gym is awesome in a very Thai way. Mostly it's neighborhood kids, and a few Thai fighters, but every day this small gym pulses with Rambaa's personality. I'm not sure what his current rates are, but he has some accommodation right on premises, a daily/weekly/monthly building right up the street (with air-con and wifi) and his private sessions are some of my favorites. His gym is mostly young kinds, so maybe not ideal for bigger bodied fighters who need clinch and sparring partners (other than the trainers or a few of his late-teen fighters). This is all about his love for the sport. I wrote about Rambaa's Gym here. I'd say it is only for the adventurous, those who know at least a little Thai. PhuketKing Muay Thai Gym - I don't have any experience in the regular training of this gym, but I went to do a private with Kru Pot, the head trainer, for the Muay Thai Library and can say he is excellent. Anything he's in charge of will be worthwhile, especially for Muay Khao style, and he's a really wonderful man. I'd highly recommend private training with him, if you can. My session with him in the Muay Thai Library: Kru Pot" Bunpot Sor. Boonyaa - Muay Khao Depth (63 min) PK Saenchai Gym (Bangkok) I have never been to this gym at all, but it is a favorite of Westerners both who are seeking to train under a big name and those who have been in Thailand for a long while and decide to move over there for the fight opportunities and training alongside contemporary stars of Muay Thai. The head trainer is Detduang Pongsawang, who was a great fighter in the Golden Age. From what I understand it's a kind of "build a bear" method for training, so you can decide how much or how little you want to do by speaking with the manager and he works it all out for you. He sounds very personable and his English is very good. Lanna: [for those of you who have followed me for a really long time, I used to train at Lanna Muay Thai in Chiang Mai - my first 2 years in Thailand I fought out of that gym. It is no longer the same gym I trained at, but it is the same location and under new ownership it is called Boon Lanna Muaythai Gym.] I cannot comment from experience on what training at Boon Lanna Muaythai Gym is like now, but two of my favorite trainers are still there: Nook and Kru Daeng (one of the best privates in Thailand) are still there, and the training seems like it's become much more regimented and thorough. On the other hand I've heard that in high-season months it can become quite crowded (like a few other Chiang Mai gyms) and that this can impact the amount of guided work you can get. I'm only speaking from afar, but I'd say that if you go to Lanna you should plan to also take a few privates with Daeng to make sure you get the most out of it. I still recommend this gym as a place where you will be able to get fights if that's what you are interested in. Chiang Mai is full of fight opportunities and the gym is well integrated into the various promotions.
    3 points
  29. Right now I have the opportunity to work clinch everyday albeit with somebody considerably bigger. I have some experience doing standup grappling but always in the context of takedowns for submission grappling. Does anyone have any advice or insight regarding the difference in these two paradigms? I want to improve my ability to clinch and strike while maintaining a safe and beautiful ruup
    2 points
  30. A fellow on Reddit asked about what he called "passive" Thai fighters, by which he meant relaxed, defensive, countering styles. I put together this list of Muay Thai Library sessions which really bring out that very difficult style, as we've been able to document it, including some of the context that I wrote in answer: There are several top Golden Age fighters (and post-Golden Age) who we have documented in the Muay Thai Library project with styles that are similar to those you describe. I'll link them here. These are hour long documentary videos with commentary, of them showing their style. In terms of study it this format is many ways better than watching them fight in old video (though watch their fights too), because it starts from the ground up, and focuses on their particularly loved techniques or tactics: #111 The Karuhat Rosetta Stone 7 - The Secrets of the Matador (83 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/56179745 #89 Arjan Pipa JockyGym - The Roots of Femeu (77 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/39307538 #118 Phettho Sitjaopho - Muay Femeu Excellence (70 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/63701377 #82 Chanchai Sor. Tummarungsri - The King of Teeps (54 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/35660908 #72 YodPitak Cho. Nateetong 1 - Art of Femeu Interruptions and Balance (73 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/30870395 #55 Manop Manop Gym 1 - The Art of the Teep (90 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/24379228 #47 Silapathai Jockygym - Master of Teep Distance (64 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/21484000 #40 Gen Hongthonglek - Muay Femeu Tactics & Mindset (70min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/19092801 #11 Karuhat Sor. Supawan 2 - Float and Shock (82 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/karuhat-sor-and-8329146 #7 Karuhat Sor. Supawan 1 - Be Like Sand (62 min) https://www.patreon.com/posts/karuhat-sor-be-7348562 You can see the full Library here, but above are probably the most femeu in the way that you described: https://www.patreon.com/posts/muay-thai-uncut-7058199 Of those above, Karuhat and Silapathai are absolutely the elite, Google their fights. Karuhat in my mind is probably the most skilled stylistic fighter in Thai history. Silapathai is just bonkers smooth. Arjan Pipa, above, isn't a top ex-fighter, but he was a lead trainer at Jocky Gym which produced some of the greatest femeu fighters in history. Fighters like Saenchai, Somrak, Silapathai, Lerdsila and others. He holds the blueprint for much of their styles. Chanchai was a beautiful teeper, and may have had the most revered teep game, second to Samart. Manop was Saenchai's padman for a long time at Yokkao, and is one of the best, most technical teachers. Gen Hongthonglek is a newer fighter and talks a lot about the femeu psychological game. The femeu style is one of the most difficult to learn - for that reason it's the most prized in Thailand historically - because it relies on timing and eyes, and a true sense of relaxation. In our documentation it allows us to dig into the hidden parts of the more passive femeu, what makes it happen. Highlights To Study Other great highlight sources are Muay Thai Scholar's Karuhat switching edit, one of my favorite breakdown edits ever produced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9X6N2DmYbc Here is Muay Thai Scholar's Silapathai edit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR13BDVMU7s Here is Muay Thai Scholar's Charnchai edit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfMrauD0Pow Here is Muay Thai Scholar's edit on how Silapathai defeated heavy punchers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hshDy7g1xY8 1 Reply Share SaveEditFollow
    2 points
  31. Question for Sylvie! When you made the transition to Southpaw….I’m assuming all of your orthodox combos and strikes had a natural flow to them because that was first for you. ..Im wondering how long it took to get a that natural flow in your Southpaw stance? Also, if you have any tips on the transition other constant practice in southpaw. Either way thank you for reading this. Have an amazing day! - Mike C.
    2 points
  32. What goes on unstated in this examination is actually one of its most important points. When indeed we are looking for respite from the endless simulations and representations of Life, the chains of images of what our lives should be, when we innately feel that we are surrounded by what seems a culture of false coin, or at least a certain malnourishment, or substancelessness, caught in Baudrillard's hyperreal, fighting itself, the clash of bodies and intentions, feels like one of the most deflationary acts, an anchor point of rock stability, for what is Real. So while there may be innumerable spaces and practices which might provide relieve, cloistered reals cut off from the endless duplication of image, the Thai kaimuay and Muay Thai gym is practicing an art, a craft of the body, meant to be tested body-to-body. There is something inherently truth-telling about fighting. Bodies can only move in so many ways. The clashing of wills that spark in bodies speaks to an order of that which cannot be faked, cannot be duplicated. There is a near-spiritual dimension to the art of fighting which cuts across the very domain of Capitalism, everything that speaks to Spinoza's hopeful sobriety: "We do not even know all the things a body can do." When fighters enter the ring, or even spar, there is a sense in which we have left behind representation altogether, and there are only bodies, only intent. It collapses the image-machine. Of course Capitalism works hard to reappropriate this Real, and put it under its auspice. Belts are manufactured, manipulated as signatures of "what is real". Matches and promotions chain together images to simulate authenticity, greatness and achievement, commodifying the sanctified banality of what a fight is. Fighters get caught up in representations, and use them to stake out places on the mountain of authority. Gyms, promotions, fans, scramble up upon the heap of images and commodity claims. But all of that is because there is a kernel of Real, of the physical, emotional and actually spiritual clash of the fight itself. Even in manipulated fights, in over-hyped belts, even in bad matchups or weakened rulesets, or decisions, even in the worst of Capitalism's falsity, there is the shining sense that something very Real and grounded has happened in a fight, something that defies the promotion, the decision, the belt. This is the gem of the practice of the fighting arts, and the anchor of its rite. The body is the shore of the Spirit. Clashing bodies produces the Real of the Spirit.
    2 points
  33. I originally went at 22 and my parents were the same. Their only reaction when I told them my plans were "well, we can't stop you from going". They're going to worry no matter what, I don't think anything you could say would stop them. That's what parents do, I guess! Maybe just send them as much information as you can about the gym/area you're going to (posts, photos, reviews from others who've trained there), so they can at least visualize where you'll be instead of conjuring up some wild scenarious in their heads. Enjoy your month in Thailand, you'll have a great time!
    2 points
  34. You may find these sessions in the Library helpful: Session with Rambaa with his take on Karuhat's stance-switching Switching to southpaw with Karuhat
    2 points
  35. If you look up "Learn Thai With Mod" on Facebook you can get free, short lessons that teach simple greetings, questions, activities, etc. She and Kru Pear are wonderful at annunciating for correct pronunciation and tone.
    2 points
  36. I just found out this fight is KO or draw so I can't win on points. The thing is my opponent asked to increase weight to 3kg above my current weight. I agreed. Then she suddenly pulled out (people gossip to me "she ran away"). Which is weird because she is younger, heavier, has more fight experience and expected to be next lethwei female champ. I also know her gym as well, it's a modern gym with focus on technique. Her last fight she won knee KO first round (also smaller fighter). Anyhow I went training anyway after I was told my fight was off. Then I was told she changed her mind again and agreed to fight but at a different event 3 days earlier. Apparently this one is more low key with no videos. So I guess it's a great of losing face or whatever. So if the fight happens. I need to go for KO. But I've been told that if the opponent just runs away and KO is impossible, I should avoid a situation where I'm chasing her and instead just display technique. This will help me get respect even if it ends in a draw. People at my gym don't speak much English. My Ajarn has asked an interpreter to support me to understand. But still, most things I know about this fight is from people writing me giving me bits n pieces of information and I patch them together. Location of the fight is only shared shortly before "to avoid the mil. junta to get hold of the events and start messing around". Which adds another dimension to fighting 55. Anyhow the training for this fight is (exhausting) but super fun. I learnt a new way of blocking body kicks, for example like the diagonal block, but really throw your knee into your opponent's inner thigh.
    2 points
  37. Hello! I started training Muay Thai this summer and found that I really loved to train. So far I have attended Thai pad classes and Bag classes. I haven't been able to train in a gym since September because I am taking a service/volunteer year traveling around The United States and I won't be home in my region until August 2022. I want to keep pursuing Muay Thai but I am having a hard time deciding what my focus should be as I have little to no access to gyms and trainers. As of right now I spend time exercising, shadow boxing, and reading through the Muay Thai library. Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I should do to stay engaged in Muay Thai? Thank you for any feedback I greatly appreciate it!
    2 points
  38. Thx for the insights. One comment. The phenomena I did featured in bold... This is not about you, this is about the alone girl / woman in that gym. Here is she alone, eager to train, but more or less aside... If nothing else, she is the alone woman. And suddenly there comes in another adult woman! They want to give their member a positive experience, to be able to met and train with another woman if and when the occasion arises.... Of course, if you are a paying guest, its not necessarily YOUR problem. But. Hey, what do I know, they perhaps even thinks you are in a similar situation? Alone woman in YOUR gym? Anyways, its a problem with several bottoms. I dont know if its customary to phone the owner / coach / host and tell whom you are and what type of train you do wish. Or the owner / host meets the new face and asks... Its done in some of bridge clubs for example: " I wish to visit your club tonight, and will be happy to get a good partner to play with. I consider myself as an expert." Another proposal I fancy is to have labels to put on: Beginner medium, advanced and Mostly fitness (=take it easy in sparring) (Fighter = Im OK with quite rough sparring too), but as I know, this is not done. Ps. Nay, Im not into active martial arts myself; although I did some other sports, including bridge and riding.
    2 points
  39. I’m looking forward to reading your blog post. I think you make a good point about not just hearing peoples feedback but also reacting appropriately and thoughtfully. I am going into business with another person and I’ve made it clear that poor behavior will get someone shown the door. I also want to be proactive instead of reactive to all types of problems within gyms. I mentioned to Sylvie above but in regards to sparring, I think I would like to have a regular class that teaches people how to spar safely and respectfully that covers all the common problems, including the ones that are specific to men and women sparring with one another. Communication, safety, controlling power, keeping ego in check, making sure to let them know that speaking to the coach about an issue is always an option, how to be a good training partner with other genders, etc. Doing an on boarding seems like it might be a proactive step to prevent problems.
    2 points
  40. This article by Sylvie might really help: Muay Thai Vocabulary | Understanding Your Thai Trainer
    2 points
  41. I understand that we are talking about broadening the scope of viewership, and even the very identity of Thailand's Muay Thai. One can never really be sure if something new is coming to save, or destroy something old or traditional that is waning. I really believe that, but we do need to keep track of where this is going. It's worth noting that Fairtex Pattaya also hosted something called Fight Circus, a bunch of oddity fights November 6th, streamed to the adult cam site Camsoda, and tweeted out in parts. You can read about this show, and see more event examples here Bloody Elbow: Fight Circus 3 videos: Watch insane ‘Siamese kickboxing,’ literal phone booth fighting, more oddities. Pretty incredibly Australian Muay Thai fighter Celest Hansen fought a Phone Booth "Leithwei" fight, streamed 8 days before she became part of the first female bout to fight in the Lumpinee Stadium ring, a huge historic moment in the Muay Thai Thailand. It's highly unlikely that this Phone Booth fight was filmed when streamed, so near the Lumpinee fight, as Celest is cut in the video. It was probably just fed into the Nov 6th stream as if live, or tweeted it out then; who can tell. Celest lives in Phuket, not Pattaya, and again this was only 8 days before she entered the ring at Lumpinee Stadium. But, in the context of changes coming to Thailand's Muay Thai the juxtaposition of the two fights in time is striking. Here is "Siamese Kickboxing" tweeted out from the oddities show. Here Celest is coming out of the Lumpinee ring 8 days after the stream, making huge history, photo series here: You can see Celest fighting the historic fight at Lumpinee on November 13th here [full fight]: The fight oddities streaming show was put on, separately, at Faritex many hours before another historic fight in the evening, also hosted at Fairtex: the WBC World Championship between Souris Manfredi and Dangkongfah. This epic fight marked the first time the new WBC female Muay Thai rankings resulted in a Westerner vs Thai World Championship, which you can see here. In the day fight oddities, in the evening a big WBC female title fight: Aside from the sheer toughness and badassness of Celest being in both of these events, it also provides a jarring snapshot into just how far we can be stretching the tradition <<<>>>new eyeballs spectrum. MMA isn't even the full limit of "extreme" in that reach. And also it brings into view the unique place female fighters find themselves within it. Female fighting, as legitimate, became internationally stamped as legitimate through MMA,, and the transformations that Ronda Rousey forced open in the UFC. Then headlining female fights were embraced by ONE Championship, in some imitation of the UFC, and then by Fairtex itself who set upon creating a female MMA fight team - one of the first in Thailand to do so - starting with Stamp Fairtex. Female fighters in a certain respect represent, or even embody the possibility of new, modern fighting. But as in this case, with commericialization and the need to reach new audiences, one also risks farce and even circus. This occurs just as when female fighters themselves yearn for and reach to be integrated in the traditions and honor of Lumpinee which has excluded them. What does it mean for MMA to be included in Lumpinee? It's a really interesting question with no simple answer.
    2 points
  42. Perhaps shorts and t shirts with profits to the good man's family? He was well known and loved in Europe
    2 points
  43. Below is my paraphrase of some Facebook talk between ex-fighters and legends of the Hapalang gym, the famed gym of the Golden Age which produced 3 FOTYs in Dieselnoi, Chamuakphet and Panomtuanlek. The gym's manager was murdered at Lumpinee between rounds, during Chaumuakphet and Langsuan. This is the posted photo that gave them to talk about it. Dieselnoi on the Hapalang photo, paraphrased: ...time flies by so quickly. Looking at this photo and thinking of all the boxers there every day, different weights, packed from earth to the sky. It didn't matter fight purse or training for a fight, we had parents back home in different provinces, but we could never go visit, even if they were ill. "What are you, a doctor? Are you going to heal them?" You'd only get short answers as news, barely knowing whether they had recovered yet. Two more comments relay that fighters ran away from the camp within 2 or 3 years due to not having money, or being worked so hard in training and fights without benefit. One remarks how he was there at the time that Sia Nao sold the gym to pay a gambling debt and then was killed not long after. Panomtuanlek comments briefly to Dieselnoi's comment, "Yes, I don't even know how to describe how it was."
    2 points
  44. Hi @MuayThaiPanda, I've been living and training in Bangkok for around 10 years and to be honest, I haven't found that the pollution bothers me when I'm running/training. Maybe I'm just used to it! It might also be because of the gym's I've been at. For the last few years, I've been at Attachai Gym (so if you're thinking of coming and need any info, feel free to ask).This gym has a particularly good location if you want to be in Bangkok without dealing with the smog. It's tucked away in a big green area with lots of banana trees, backed onto a lake. The humidity is the main thing, definitely something that you have to adapt to. But I think that goes for Thailand in general.
    2 points
  45. I suspect that this isn't a conceptual thing, a failure of communication, but rather a feeling thing. It takes time to feel comfortable with contact. An idea might be to create more acclimation friendly experiences to start out with? You can explain to them why closer is better, but until they feel it it won't be real. You can for instance modify the drills to include light punches on the arms, instead of the head, where the point is to actually feel (and give) the contact. Just developing a touch, touch, touch experience might open the door to more comfort.
    2 points
  46. I love watching Karuhat fight, he -and his style- is so artistic, so inteligent, like im having a conversation with a Magistrate in my country (im a lawyer in my country and the best way to learn is to hear it directly from the judge/magistrate that signed the sentence, if you have the chance, wheter in class or in any context, its like finding milled gold) mixed with ballet. Smart, eloquent and beatiful. I dunno, maybe im a little crazy -plus the language barrier-, but there is nothing -and no one- like him, in my humble opinion. Awesome giveaway, sir, and ¡those shorts KICK ASS! Greetings from México! Margaritas are on me, folks.
    2 points
  47. Hi, I tried to post this a few weeks ago while I was away working, but my reply wouldn't upload from my phone. Anyways, Burklerk is offering education visas at his new gym in Lampang. Lampang's a nice town and Burklerk is awesome. https://www.burklerkmuaythaiacademy.com/education-visa https://www.burklerkmuaythaiacademy.com/ I think I saw your friend's fight against Sawsing
    2 points
  48. I think in my case, one came to the other and things were adding up. At the beginning I / we followed our Kru blindly. Training was hard and good and we learned and improved. But the more “fitness”-people joined, the worse the training became, the more side-effects came up, no more focus on developing fighters. Of course I completely understand his point and the points of all mentioned Krus! They all went their way, have their way of training, of teaching, of fighting. It’s not my/our western approach of things, but I can live with it - as long as I learn and improve.
    2 points
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