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Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

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Everything posted by Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

  1. The last memory I have of Zaza going to Japan and getting overwhelmed in a fight. Do you remember that fight Emma? Not sure if I remember the name correctly, but I was very surprised.
  2. Hey Charlie, this is amazing. Can you tell us anything about Ceasar's gym? I feel like I've heard of it.
  3. I have to say that Thai morlam country music has really surprised me. It often has oddly hypnotic Reggae-like beats, and a crooning voice. When it hits the sweet spot it is very good. Contemporary Thais tend to see it as old person music, or red-neck music. It's kinda incredible.
  4. Speaking really generally... I think one of the frustrating things about Muay Thai is also something is liberating about it too. There is no way to pull back and "see" the whole art, or to see where your training is going. There are no katas, the best in the sport are ring fighters and their expression of Muay Thai is incredibly varied. In this way it is so much more like western boxing than like, say, Taekwondo. Add to this, there is a wide spectrum of training environments. In the west you are very likely to be guided with a strong hand by an instructor, but in Thailand (if you are learning in a more Thai style) there isn't a lot of instruction at all. There is just lots and lots of repetition, sparring and play. Thai style teaching is not structured in any obvious sense. There is just working on your strikes on the bag and in shadow, and then learning to use them. The problem for western students is that the Thai way comes out of teaching kids to fight, very mailable students that have years to learn and play. As a westerner the Thai way can become pretty clouded unless you have a lot of focus and a fair amount of time. If you are going to go that way the best skills you can learn is: How to train yourself on the bag and in shadow. From there it is an extremely organic process of development. If you are training with Thais be sure to keep asking questions, get to the point that you can self-correct. And one of the biggest things to learn as a westerner is to "relax". It, more than anything else, distinguishes Muay Thai from other western practiced fighting arts. If you can get relaxation going early on as a beginner, you have a leg up. Some gyms like Master Toddy's in Bangkok or Santai in Chiang Mai offer more structure, more explanation and direction. Don't know if that helps! Interesting question.
  5. Ronda Rousey's old Honda is up for sale on Ebay. Act quick! There are many of Ronda's personal belongings inside the car including medals, UFC programs from past events, patches, hats, and all kinds of random Ronda items. You can see from the eBay photos what all the items are that are located in the car. We (Ronda's family) like to joke about all of the cool things you find in Ronda's car. Every time you open the door, it's is like an archeological dig! Also, Ronda did glue a few medals, patches, coins, and figurines to the inside of her car which probably aren't going to come off. Below you can also view two YouTube videos of Ronda dancing, singing, and having fun in her 2005 Honda Accord. Kinda cool, kinda bizarre.
  6. "In our first short, Director Mikka Gia focuses on four fighters (Tiffany Cass, Janice Lyn, Yumiko Kawano and Olivia Loth) training and fighting out of the Krudar Muay Thai Gym in Toronto, Canada." Love this video edit of their female fighters. More and more the images of women in film are changing. You can feel the calm intensity of their training. Their focus. Love the song choice too.
  7. But this is the whole fantasy about Asian martial arts anyways though, isn't it? They contain a kind of "magic" of moves, or knowledge that allows the weaker person to be victorious. It isn't the man who is victorious, so much as the art. At least in some versions of the fantasy. Muay Thai differs in some respects in that it is "hard", "direct" in many ways, but there still is an element of Asian magic in how western people think about it, I think.
  8. Hey, well all have our biases. As for my position about Fallon Fox I really don't know where I stand at all. It's a gray, precarious area in an evolving sport that almost didn't exist 10 years ago. I think there are lots of interesting discussions to have about the inclusion or exclusion, discussions that should begin with the communities with the most at stake. I'm just very wary of when arguments are made with appeal to "science" or "medical" facts, as if these aren't essentially ethical decisions. By my experience strong appeals to science are usually used to end discussion, not develop it. The bigger problem with Ronda Rousey on this seems to be that her attitude towards Fallon Fox, who some think is a man no matter what, feel quite similar to her attitude towards Cris Cyborg, who everyone agrees is a woman. She seems have something of a normative gender issue, and it doesn't have much to do with science. It is painful to hear her talk about Chris Cyborg as if she is a "he". Come on Ronda, I'm pulling for you. Why throw that shit in there? No amount of appeals to science, or hormones, or muscle mass will disguise what is being said there. It's just something meant to slur and hurt. And in so doing she throws stones at every woman out there with masculine looking traits. My own feeling is that Ronda is over-concerned with her undefeated record. I think in her book she talks about how everything hinges on being undefeated. She bravely fights frequently, risking what she thinks is the whole ball of wax. And she is relentless in her attack on Cyborg because Cyborg is physically HUGE. As much as she believes in her Judo, I think it does scare her to fight someone so large. I even think she was concerned about Cat Zingano's strength and size. She is fighting for every advantage - emotional, physical. But the methods of attack are doing damage which will last. Don't be Mike Tyson Ronda. Be Muhammad Ali. Ali lost several times. It made him even greater.
  9. Emma Thomas found an interesting article by Sarah George. It's not long, only 12 pages: Dancing Under the Mongkhon: How Thailand's National Sport a Distinctive Moral Code (PDF) It presents ethical arguments and a framework for understanding how the violence and practice of Muay Thai indeed corresponds to, and even exemplifies Buddhist ethics. Scholar Peter Vail already had written how in Thai Society the Muay Thai fighter falls between the monk and the gangster, something Sylvie wrote about here: Thai Masculinity: Positioning Nak Muay Between Monkhood and Nak Leng, and George takes up some of the monk-like comparisons Vail talks about, as well as some others (including forms of breathing meditation). Most interesting in the article is a quote by a western photographer: ‘Despite the perceived violence of MT (it is very powerful and arguably the most effective system of stand-up fighting on the planet) there is another aspect to it that is internal. How the fighters approach the sport and their training offers glimpses into the personal, internal quest that could be seen as very similar to a monk's quest for enlightenment. They understand they have to endure the suffering of themselves to reach a goal (I personally believe that the goal is deeper than the promise of riches and escaping their plight - it's an internal struggle to better themselves continually)…This internal struggle of the fighter might have something to do with why many temples will host MT events (obviously it's to raise money too) but seeing the appreciation on the faces of some of the monks when the fights are on, you can tell that they're recognizing one of their own in the ring’ I have to say that having been to lots of festival fights with monks present - they are often out at the edges smoking like teenagers under the bleachers - this projection of them seeing fighters as "one of their own" seems pretty exaggerated as a proof of Muay Thai spirituality. Many monks seem pretty mundane at these events. But that doesn't eliminate the overall point that indeed Muay Thai as a way of life is a method and means of self-control and discovery, and that this process fits neatly into the aims and ways of life of Buddhism. I see this even in how Pi Nu teaches at Petchrungruang. I can see in his eyes that there is always something to benefit someone in them learning proper Muay Thai. There is a kind of ethical ballast to the calm aesthetic of what he sees as beautiful. And this goes from beginner on up. You can see the same in these opening scenes involving Kru Bah who ethically instructs children using Muay Thai (Kru Bah is referenced in the essay): George's technical arguments about non-violence and Buddhist ethics seem less convincing to me, though you may be more persuaded than me. At most she seems to argue that because Muay Thai violence is non-life threatening it does not violate Buddhist principles. This does not quite measure up though to the idea that it exemplifies them. But perhaps it does, in a way that George does not fully draw out. By the practice of equipoise, the exertion of what she calls "force" (morally neutral) in the artifice of combat Muay Thai's version of non-violence is simply not descending into the emotions of violence. And this is instructive. She also references Buddhist mediation techniques which she connects to Muay Thai breathing, and the reception of a student ceremony Yok Kru, which no longer really exists as prevalent in commercial Muay Thai as far as I know. These two feel like stretches to me, but still are interesting ethical orbits around Muay Thai and its heritage. Arguments about how camp Muay Thai improves the lives of children, seem to be on good footing, and go towards her larger view that Muay Thai itself, especially in its more traditional form, is somehow essentially good for the health of a Nation. Bottom line: there isn't a lot written about the ethics of Buddhism and Muay Thai and at the very least this seems like a great starting point for conversations about the moral force of Muay Thai as a heritage. for a collection of academic articles on Muay Thai see here
  10. Gavin, I have to say I find this "bone structure" argument really frustrating. So Fallon Fox has a "Q Angle" that gives her an unfair advantage in the cage? You say yourself that you don't now what the impact is in MMA, and that you don't know if it has been researched (I would doubt it), but you still conclude that this issue has been dismissed "incorrectly". If there is no research, and no measurable means by which to assess the impact then indeed you dismiss it. You don't just assume that there is an advantage that is necessarily unfair. The truth is that there are all sorts of skeletal, hormonal and other differences between women. Nobody is talking about the "Q angle" of the hips of different female fighters and saying things like "Ronda has a Q angle that gives her an advantage!" Some women have more testosterone naturally, this gives them an advantage. It is only sexist perceptions in our culture that allows us to very vague group a group of people together and say "female" and imagine that they are all somehow "equal". They aren't. There are hoards of differences between members of a group. The "bone structure" argument is very similar to the "bone density" argument (which was the first version of it put out there). But check it out. Black Women tend to have a Bone Density almost equal to White Men source Does this mean that Black women should be segregated out from White Women in regards to the cage? Of course not. There may be real issues of fairness, and interesting questions about how we define gender, but honestly the people who actively complain about this are not other female fighters. They are not the ones that make this a running issue. It's mostly white men on the Internet (hey, I'm a white male on the Internet!) who are disturbed by what they see as a "fake" woman. My proof to myself that the "bone density" argument is just a cover for other, more personal concerns is that very few people who read the bone density argument as important (or alternately: the "bone structure", or the "Q angle" argument, etc) would change their position even if bone density, structure, etc were proven to be a negligible, or non-determinative factor in MMA fights. There is no amount of evidence that would change most protesting people's minds. It starts and ends with "That's a dude". The rest is just looking for stuff to support one's feeling. The opponent is always going to have advantages. Some of them are going to be physical. Some pedagogic. Some emotional. The fight is about overcoming them.
  11. From what I saw you made her pretty uncomfortable in the early rounds just by taking up that extra half-step of space. Everytime you were at that distance she didn't seem to have options. And it was just her squeezing out the 5th round with tiny things that come with experience. Sylvie has had a bad string of dominant 4th rounds against world class opponents, and then 5th round escapes by them, just by knowing what to do to hold off the momentum. It's nothing to bad about in the least. I think it is pretty damn cool that you get another shot at her so fast! Will be pulling for you Gemma.
  12. I had heard that Caley wasn't super satisfied with her performance in this fight, she holds high standards for herself to be sure. I thought she looked great, especially in how she controlled the space. She basically fought where she wanted to fight, and this is where experience and comfort level really shows. Almost nothing occurred where she didn't want it to happen, which is a sign of real control. Styles make fights and Caley's probably a very style tough matchup for Martyna. I would have anticipated for Caley to be more dominant in the clinch, where she does her work much of the time. But Martyna is tall and strong and the angle change makes a difference. I imagine Caley thought she would do more there but she had great position usually and I thought won those exchanges with accurate point of the knee strikes. It might not look like much of a fight in terms of action, but for some reason elements of this fight keep playing in my mind since I saw it. There were so many small things that Caley did so well, things that are the mark of real achievement - not only in a fight, but in a career. She looked crisp, smart and strong. I really liked this fight. I'm still crossing my fingers that Caley comes out of retirement and fights one more time. :)
  13. Nice to hear you talk about your experiences Andrew. I really liked the edit of the preview on this too.
  14. Personally I don't think either Thai Fight or Max Muay Thai is designed to promote Muay Thai to the world, at least as a priority. My sense is that these kinds of shows are really for Thai (television) audiences, and have something of a conservative feel. I think Thais more or less enjoy the contrast between the fluid Thai fighter and the (often) hyper-aggressive, sometimes off-balance western fighter. There are exceptions, but it seems in keeping with much of the lore of Muay Thai, that it is distinctly "Thai", that the Thai people are born to it, it is natural to them, and that it allows a smaller opponent to defeat a larger, perhaps more physically imposing one.
  15. Micc, do I see in your signature that you are starting (started?) a Muay Thai blog?
  16. I've never formally published Philosophy or criticism in print, but I wrote a Philo/critical blog for a while called Frame /sing which was loosely devoted to my personal research into the optical practices and ideas of Spinoza, and what impact they may have had on his Philosophy, presented here Spinoza's Foci. But here is a list of maybe my most wide-ranging thoughts and observations. most of them apart from that study of optics and Spinoza: Favorite Posts.
  17. Very heavy background in Philosophy. Quote away. I've studied western Philosophy my whole life, it's a lens I see everything through, including my work and Muay Thai. I do think there is something very productive to be had in seeing this along side Plato's Cave allegory, and the Greek (and feminist) concept of Khora.
  18. With this I'll whole-heartedly agree. But I'm still exploring the value of the measure: authentic. "Most authentic" doesn't seem very useful at all, but there are experiences of authenticity (and inauthenticity) that seem informing. I've seen Muay Thai gyms in the west where people bow at the waist (something people do not do in Thailand), and use a host of other Japanese style dojo behaviors in order to, I assume, be more authentically Thai. Is it really just a free-for-all where pursuit of authenticity has no grounding? No compass point? It's just whatever ideas and practices we make up? Pursuit of authenticity I think really comes down to affects, ways of feeling. We believe that if we hold similar ideas, and physically follow similar rites we connect ourselves to others, contemporary others, but also especially others of the past. If you are practicing a very old Wai Kru/Ram Muay for instance, this has promises of experience which are very different than one you just made up yourself. And if you come to think about the forms you are invoking in each of your actions, this too would have promises of experiences that are different from a made up ceremony, even if there are Thais that may do similar actions without really understanding or thinking about them much -- there have been Thais who did perform and think of them, it is those you are attempting to draw closer to, I think. Of course these promises of experiences that connect you to others and to those in the past may be impotent - just fantasy we make up in our head, but it does seem like the continuity is important, that it creates something of that momentum that you talked about. The unconscious momentum of a culture doesn't just seem like empty action, but rather the rich, very condensed transport of beliefs and affects, even if they occur below the threshold of awareness. "That's just how it is done" does imply "That's just not how it is done" too. A small example may be how to wai in Thailand. I'm not sure that asking who has the most authentic wai is meaningful at all. But for those who want to wai "how it is done" would want to be authentic about it, in the sense of having the right movements, but also the right (or more appropriate) states of mind that align their actions with the millions of wais going on in Thailand all the time, because you are trying to connect to those people. You want to communicate authentic feelings through your wai. You don't want to accidentally communicate things you didn't realize - I remember when Sylvie was scolded by a Thai woman that she did not wai like a woman - it was because she had copied the extremely informal, and even ugly wai of her male trainers of the camp, basically a nose-blow of a wai, like a dude. When you grasp what the wai is, and why it is the way it is (a foreigner has to sometimes think about concepts because they were not raised in a thing), you then can start communicating and expressing yourself through it. Though they are different, I think that the Ram Muay is a little like this for the westerner. It's the desire to connect to a state of being, and to be able to express yourself through that state of being. Really the same ambition that many have for Muay Thai itself. Somehow this 9 month old from the gym, Nadt, upon just learning the wai can wai more authentically than I can after 3 years here. I find this fascinating. Sylvie has performed her Wai Kru/Ram Muay over 100 times in the ring, and there are still parts of it that she is trying to make more "authentic" in the sense of "true to the form" of what Ram Muay is, the state you want your body, mind and spirit to be in. Ram Muay as a process.
  19. Such a good post James. What exactly is the 'authenticity trap'? The idea that you will be accepted if you get close enough to authentic traditions? Or, the belief that there even are authentic performances of traditions?
  20. I put the vid in here. I really love how you write your fight posts Gemma. Very clear, concrete, but with great context. Good stuff! And wow, Farida is one of the best of the best, almost took Sawsing out. This is an amazing thing about Thailand which is just so incredible. You can more or less accidentally/casually fight the best in the world. It happened the first time for us when Sylvie faced someone she'd never heard of in a festival fight, got her butt beat, and later found out she was Tanonchanok the standing WPMF world champ 2 weight classes up. And then again last month, same day offer to go fight an unknown fighter on Songkran and it turns out to be another world champ under an alias. lol. These same kinds of match ups are almost impossible to have in the west, and if you had them there would be months and months lead up, crazy fight promotion, etc. Here it is just fighting, nothing more. Such a path to get better. I know you're on a losing streak, but keep fighting patiently through. You are getting better and better, but few are going to see it because of the quality of your opponents. Then, suddenly, people will say: "Whoa, how did Gemma get so good all of a sudden!"
  21. Butch/femme, and maybe even 2nd wave vs 3rd wave feminism? What is kind of interesting is, responding very abstractly, the feminine is often seen as the passive space, the empty room/womb (the Khora). You've created such an interesting femin/ist Plato's Cave here, where the female agonist forms are projected as surface around a Khora in which the spectator stands, and in which there are no real objects (but for the observers). What does it mean to have femme/butch, (or even younger/older) striving as the simulacra in this Plato's Cave? Is this the unwritten underpinning of patriarchy or even perception itself? Really fascinating construct!
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