Posts posted by CSIBMOD
Where are you located in Atlanta? Because the metro area is so big and traffic a mess, it would help narrow things down to make suggestions.
Thank you everyone for all the feedback. I’m in the process of obtaining a building to house out new gym and have a great business partner that does respect female fighters. We have some things to work on with incorporating our values into the culture of the gym and I intend to lead by example.
While I’ve been training for 3+ years, I’m still very much a newbie. My business partner is a pro fighter that has been in the game for a bit so to a large degree, he will be setting the tone. But our mission statement will include welcoming ALL student whether they be LGBTQ, female, mature students, kids, beginners, advanced, amateur fighters, or pro fighters. It will be emphasized that hard work is the great equalizer but also recognizing that there will people that are there just for fun and fitness. That’s cool too.
It’s going to be tough to foster this environment because of the traditionally male dominated history of the sport but in order the create a strong business in the city where we are located, we have to expand beyond the “traditional” student and target market. I want to grow the sport in our city beyond the usual niche.
I think to do that I need to understand the dynamics at play in order to counter them the pitfalls of your average gym. Fostering that type of environment, combined with quality, rigorous training is our goal.
It’s all getting real as we get closer to securing a location. It’s exciting!
On 12/13/2021 at 3:16 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:
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.
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.
On 12/13/2021 at 5:35 PM, Kellie said:
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.
I think you hit the nail on the head in so many ways here. These are most of the top issues that I see. They are challenging both from a personal perspective and the perspective of figuring out how yo prevent them before they happen as a business owner. My goal is to be very proactive in creating a healthy environment for all members, focusing on preventing sexual harassment, creating a respectful culture, and prevent problems before they happen. I have a rough rule set built in the back of my brain and this is a good reminder to be specific about what those rules mean.
I’m a “grown” woman in my 40s and have no issue calling people on the carpet about unacceptable
On 12/13/2021 at 2:47 AM, emma said:
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!
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.
On 12/13/2021 at 12:10 AM, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:
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.
Thank you for this feedback. I think the communication aspect of creating a respectful training environment is very often overlooked. Encouraging people, especially people new to the sport and to the gym, to express their level of comfort with their training, sparring, etc.
I specifically want create an environment that is encouraging and firm when new people are brought in. “Firm” meaning even if you are experienced in the sport doesn’t mean an automatic green light for being set loose. And also for people new to the sport to know that it’s okay to be nervous. And also to be aware that nervousness can lead to some poor choices when new to sparring and create problems unnecessarily. And as you said, this needs to happen across all genders. I was even thinking about having a required session *just* to coach people on how to spar safely, address safety issues for injuries, adjust power levels, communicate respectfully with training partners, etc before new people are permitted to participate. I think this will help all members but especially women who may feel uncomfortable without these guidelines specifically spelled out.
Women being able to come to trainers, coaches, and me as the owner and know that they will be heard if something doesn’t feel quite right or if something happened that makes them feel unsafe is huge. That’s a great part to focus on so thank you for that!
On 12/11/2021 at 10:34 PM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:
What are things you are already thinking about as substantial changes? As this comes from your experience it would be interesting to hear what you are already envisioning.
I think I’m envisioning a place where everyone is on equal footing no matter gender, sexual orientation, fitness level, etc. Where we create a culture of equity and that people will know to leave the ego at the door. It will be a fighters gym but it will also be clear that no one is better than anyone else. This especially applies to the gym social hierarchy. I’m having trouble defining exactly how that would be encouraged and enforced.
As a woman with some level of life experience, I want to make it clear that woman won’t just be accepted or tolerated but that they are a mainstay of our gym. What I mean by not using the wording of “accepted” is that that term implies women are being accepted into a space that doesn’t already belong to them. I.e. you wouldn’t use that phrasing when you are walking into your own home. Not sure if I’m saying this in a way that’s easy to decipher.
I’m envisioning a place where there is a very clear set of boundaries in regards to respecting training partners and equal treatment amongst all students. Again, it’s difficult to define and even harder to figure out how to create this type of environment.
Wow! You guys have given so much thoughtful and in depth feedback. I have 4 kids and things are a little nuts as it’s dinner, homework, bedtime. I’ll come back and respond and ask more questions this evening. I appreciate the answers both on the personal level as well as from a gym business perspective. Thank you so much!
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.
I currently live in the American south, Georgia to be specific, and our Covid situation is a cluster fuck. Going to my indoor, not very well ventilated gym where no one is wearing a mask is not an option for safety reasons.
I have put together a small group of people who are interested in training in my well ventilated garage wearing masks. So yay, I don’t have to train by myself all the time. But also, we need some guidance or some sort of structure for drills, conditioning, skill coaching, and whatnot.
Are there any online programs that give guidance on curriculum for partner drills instead of only solo workouts? Ones that are more traditional style Muay Thai?
Ideas? Suggestions? Most of us have been training in the 2-3 year range so not complete noobs but not super advanced either.
I’m also hoping to be able to pay a coach for guidance and hopefully come in to coach in person once a week. That’s proving to be a challenge though despite offering a fair rate so not sure if that will work out.
Thank you for any sort of guidance.
** I’m aware of Sean Fagan’s YouTube stuff but I don’t have an interest in following him for reasons unrelated to training.
On 7/13/2020 at 6:45 PM, Mike Howard said:
My problem is not so much that I love her that’s her annoying it’s that they’re not sticking to the ground, they literally slip when I try to put it through a kick or punch etc.
There are sticky mesh thingies that can go under rugs to keep them from slipping. I’m thinking those might work.
Out of the things I’ve tried for my at home space, I like the puzzle mats the best. I tried yoga mats but there really wasn’t enough cushion for my (admitted “mature”) joints. I have two pieces of “gym mat” flooring that is easier to fold up and put away but the pieces come apart because they don’t puzzle.
The non slip thing I’m talking about is something like this:
Veken Non-Slip Rug Pad Gripper 8 x 10 Ft Extra Thick Pad for Any Hard Surface Floors, Keep Your Rugs Safe and in Place https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GV9XW42/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_et0eFb02S4SHW
On 6/25/2020 at 11:34 PM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:
As others have mentioned, sak yant aren't really "for" Muay Thai. In fact they are seldom prominent in most prominent Thai Muay Thai fighters. They are kind of from the under-class of Thailand, much as perhaps tattoos in general were in western countries for a very long time. And, some of that under class become fighters. But...mostly they are just symbolic representations of protection, or power, believed in an an animistic level. A sak yant of a tiger may just be summoning up "tiger energy", the ability to command, stalking forcefulness, etc. It could apply to anything in life.
So...sak yant could just tap into or express the underfeelings of what Muay Thai has brought to you, without being some sort of "bro" appropriation. Your own attempt to get in touch with that thing, that meaningfulness. Or, maybe not.
In either case, I would say to just get in touch with that thing that Muay Thai has done for you, brought to you, and then find some representation that speaks to that for you. Maybe its nothing that looks like its related to Muay Thai at all...but YOU know it's about Muay Thai. Or, perhaps, if there is a particular heroic fighter who inspires you, then perhaps something related to their image.
As for words, Sylvie's discussed a series of Thai words that embody the spirit of Muay Thai, I'm sure she would double check the graphic for you before you got it tattoo'd. This was one: Ning:
Thank you! This is quite helpful for finding a place to start. Tattoos are permanent and I’m old enough to know that you do NOT want something permanently on your body if you aren’t 100% sure about it and of course I don’t want to be a disrespectful appropriating asshole.
I appreciate you spending the time to clarify these things and providing some great insight.
On 6/16/2020 at 2:06 AM, SHELL28 said:
SakYants Aren’t just for Muay Thai fighters, lots of people who aren’t fighters have Sak yants.
It’s a tradition too that is based on animalism and Magic so it not just Buddhism:)
But if Sak Yants don’t resonate how about finding a symbol that represents what Muay Thai means....
Like does training MT bring freedom? Maybe freedom written in Thai? Or something like that.
I hope I’ve helped lol
Thank you! More good info. I thought about the word in Thai thing but soooo much could go wrong there. Kinda like the Chinese symbols that people got in the 90s and 2000s that are supposed to say freedom but actually translate to chicken diarrhea or some such ridiculousness. I sure don’t want to be that asshole.
On 6/22/2020 at 1:04 AM, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:
Tattoos are quite personal, so whatever brings you association to your experiences with Muay Thai is appropriate. You could chose a word written in Thai, or an image (the things to consider here are if you get a mongkol, for example, placement has to be high on your body).
Thank you! That is good starting point for picking a design.
Hi all. I have my first tournament coming up March 21st and I need to cut from 140 to 130. I have a month as this point. I’m particularly interested from hearing from other women about their experiences.
This sounds simple enough but I’m a woman and also 42 so losing weight is a bit more challenging. I would like to lose down to maybe 133 or so with diet and then cut water for the rest.
Do you guys cut carbs? I know this will make me lose weight but every time I do, my energy takes a complete nose-dove.
Or does it make more sense to speak with a nutritionist? I’ve lost weight before but more slowly than this so the relatively quick loss has me freaking out a bit.
2 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:
I'm not really sure it would have a noticeable impact, but, given that it's a very light pain medication, perhaps worth taking preventively before a fight, maybe this small other additional effect could take the edge off a little?
Yep. Given that I’ll likely have a stress headache anyway, it not a bad idea.
On 1/16/2020 at 9:43 PM, Oliver said:
Since first posting this question on the forum, have given up all booze for good now. Feel way way better, and don't even miss it.
But maybe wasn't much of a sacrifice, never was a big drinker anyway. Seems like it's one of those things that's just socially expected of you.
I quit drinking several years ago, except for once or twice a year when I have one or two. A few things happened. First, I feel so, so much better and my sleep got so, SO much better. I actually feel less stressed than I did before when I drank to relax. And my friends and family who drink started being weird about it. I don’t try to convert people but it seems as though they take it that way when I turn down a drink. My mom hasn’t seen me with any type of alcohol for probably 5 years but still tries to get me to drink during the holidays.
The culture around alcohol is strange. Well, at least in the US which is the only place I can speak with any authority. Lol
This is really interesting! I’m train Muay Thai, am a mother, and have my first fight in March. One of the biggest things I struggle with is actually wanting to hurt someone else. Sometimes that instinct kicks in and sometimes it does, although I’m getting better at letting it happen.
This might be a good way to boost that in a pinch.
On 12/11/2019 at 4:56 AM, Xestaro said:
Good that you got it sorted out!
When I consulted my trainer about it he also treated my feet with some of his therapeutic torture instruments which was fucking painful but also helped. He went on a bit of a ramble about how people pay far too little attention to the health of their feet even though we all need them dayly for our whole lives and so much other stuff in your body depends on them as the form the basis of your posture and all.
He recommended using one of those spiky massage-balls for a bit every day. Basically you stand up and put one foot on the ball so you can create pressure, then you slowly move it back and forth. Doesn't exactly feel pleasant but helps to "unlock" your feet and the tendons in them.
When I saw him about it before showing me the thing with the ball he basically did the same thing to my feet with something that looked an awful lot like a handheld steel axe-blade
Yea well.... as my Kali trainer back in the day once said: "yea a healthy degree of sadism is necessary if you want to be a trainer."
Thank you! This is a simple thing to incorporate into my training routine. Seems common sense that we need to pay attention to our feet but I never really thought about it.
You had me cracking up about the sadism part. Definitely true!
On 11/4/2019 at 7:33 AM, deano said:
If there's any long lasting swelling on your Achilles and depending on your age you may be heading in to Tendinosis territory, common amongst runners after a lay off, negative calf raises worked for me. there's plenty about it on You tube, might save you a trip to a physio.
It was definitely tendinitis but may have been getting worse. I’m 42 sooo, age is definitely a factor. My PT gave me some stretches and calf raises to deal with the issue. Dry needling helped too as did changing the type of shoes I wear.
its been some time since I asked this question But for some weird reason, I never any notifications. It’s almost gone at this point thankfully but it’s going to be a matter of proactively preventing a recurrence.
On 11/6/2019 at 9:16 AM, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:
I get this in stretches when I'm doing a lot of jumping knees on the bag, also get it from skipping rope, etc. I get some relief from using a foam roller. I kneel on the ground with the tops of my feet against the floor, put the roller on the backs of my Achilles and then just sit on the top of the roller to create pressure. I don't move much, just leave the weight on it. I do this as a warm-up and cool-down. I also tape my ankle when the pain is a lot, as the compression seems to help.
My husband is a basketball fan and loves to freak out anytime my Achilles are hurting. He has a point. It's a very common injury and he says they can just snap if you don't warm them up properly or injure them too badly. That's pretty terrifying. I do try to get them massaged when they're very painful, which in Thailand isn't expensive but massage in other parts of the world can be pretty limiting due to cost. But mine go away and I forget that they were a problem until they become a problem again.
For some reason, I never saw that anyone replied to my question. So weird. But I did start stretching much more, saw my physical therapist for some dry needling, and changed the shoes I was wearing and that seemed to get rid of the pain.
But I will start taping my ankles when I get back to more intense training. And the foam roller is always a good idea but one that I also always forget. Lol. I wish massages weren’t upwards of $100 an hour here. If I’m ever able to travel to Thailand, it will be a real treat to enjoy some massage.
I was even running more to get ready to compete and it still got better. I guess I’m not going to be hobbling around forever. And I won my sparring tournament too, so everything worked out. Lol
My physical therapist did tell me that you have to be careful about the Achilles but that Achilles tendinitis doesn’t indicate that it will tear. We didn’t get into a big discussion about it so I can’t back that up with extra info. I would imagine that all the crazy jumping is what causes most basketball injuries which is less of a factor for MT. Maybe that will help your husband chill a little about the Achilles situation.
On 10/21/2019 at 2:43 AM, Xestaro said:
Does it hurt more down towards the heel or more up towards your calf?
I had pain around the area but more upwards towards the calf and my trainer, who also does physical therapy and whatnot, told me that its not actually the tendon that is the problem here but the calf muscles. He was absolutely right as my physiotherapist confirmed. My problem was that with my heavy frame (1,94m, big man build) and lack of training beforehand, this area wasn't used to the strain of getting up on my toes a lot and cramps up easily.
Some (painful) massaging and foam rolling helped but I have to really keep treating those muscles after every training or they'll start acting up again.
Both therapists (my trainer and my physiotherapist) told me that if its really the tendon, it usually hurts down towards the heel.
I have NO idea why I never got notifications of responses her and I’m just seeing this now. Grrr. Anyhow, it down toward the heel. Strangely, the issue just sorta went away on its own. I changed the type of shoes I was wearing and all of a sudden the pain went away. Weird but I guess there is something to be said about supportive footwear.
On 12/3/2019 at 1:17 PM, Oliver said:
Same, for similar reason. Goes higher up closer to the knee, especially the XL ones
Also wrap around nicer along the groove of you calf muscle so it doesn't spin around in training.
Thank you! These are the ones I ended up getting. The mediums work pretty well. They are a bit shorter than the larger sizes but I needed the smaller size so they don’t slide or shift.
On 12/3/2019 at 11:04 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:
Sylvie says that she has skinning legs and she uses Fairtex and likes them. The model she has (I think, FAIRTEX - Pro Style Double Padded Shin Guards (SP3)) does not have a stop (additional reinforcement) on the strap that you pull through, so you can make them snug. Not sure about the issue of height.
Thank you! I’ve tried on the Fairtex SP3 and my last ones were the SP5. I like the fit and quality of both of them but they were both shorter than I would have preferred. I ended up getting a pair of Top Kings that are a good inch and a half taller than my Fairtex. They are built and fit very differently than the Fairtex so I’m still getting used to them. Time will tell if they work well or not. It’s so interesting how you wouldn’t think the different products would be so different, but they for sure are.
What are the top 4 cities in Thailand for training and watching Muay Thai?
in Gym Advice and Experiences
Hi all! I’m planning a 6 week trip to Thailand this summer and want to split my time between 4 different places. The whole purpose of the trip is to learn as much as I can about training in Muay Thai, watching Muay Thai fights, and Thai culture in general. I’m opening a MT gym in the states and I want to have experienced at least some degree of Thai culture before doing that.
What are the best cities for training and watching fights? Bangkok is top on the list obviously but what are the other top cities to visit?
I’m not sure if the time of the year should factor into decision making but the only months I can go are June and July when my kids are out of school. I will have my spouse and 4 children with me as well in case that should factor into where we decide to go. I’m not sure if safety is a concern or not but don’t want to make assumptions in either direction.