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Tyler from Florida

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Tyler from Florida last won the day on October 24

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About Tyler from Florida

  • Birthday August 26

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    Florida, USA
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    Literature, visual arts, plants, and muay Thai!

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  1. Very interesting article, particularly the delineation between conscious body-learning and unconscious, the clarification between imitation and mimesis specifically. I think it's part of what makes a "natural-born fighter", the ability to not just imitate your teacher but the efficiency of the subconscious to "imitate without question", to perform an action properly without ever consciously having to think about the mechanics behind it. Sometimes thinking about how to perform a move makes you worse at it, I'm sure everyone can relate to being a victim of overthinking. It's often best, as mentioned, to just shut up and do it until it's right. I think the simple roundhouse kick is a great example of this. There are a number of moving parts in a roundhouse: the turning of the shoulder and turning over of the hip, the sweeping of the arms, the pivoting of the feet, etc. There are too many little individual parts to consciously manage in the second or fraction of a second that it takes to throw a proper kick; you just have to do it until it feels right, and when it feels right you'll just know it. And then watching back the video of you throwing it, the difference between the kicks you feel and the ones you don't will be blatantly obvious, at least in my experience. There's also the fact that what feels right for some people doesn't feel right for others. Superbon for example comes up very high on his standing leg when he throws a roundhouse to a degree at which he's basically jumping, yet some people will never throw a roundhouse like that in their entire career and still find great success with it. And still others will watch Superbon and undoubtedly start coming up higher on their standing leg from then on, especially if they're inspired by his recent KO: I personally think things like inspiration and belief of efficacy are subconscious motivators of mimesis, it seems kind of obvious to me. Outside of physical education, I wholly believe that's a factor in general intelligence too; the most intelligent fellows I know just have an unspoken "understanding" of anything they're being educated on, almost like a knack for learning. I believe you can teach pretty much anything to anybody personally, but it's a particular individual's predisposition to mimesis that determines how quickly they'll catch on in my opinion. And child development surely highlights the power of mimesis. Young children cannot particularly "think" at a very high level, as their brains are still developing. It's the subconscious ability of the brain to mime what the child is seeing that allows them to recreate actions that we show them. I mean, do you really think somebody taught this 3 year old how to throw a cartwheel kick by explaining to them the mechanics behind it? I sincerely doubt it. And they definitely didn't teach him how to celebrate his big strike, it's likely he's seen his papa or fighters he watches smash their fists together in victory before. He didn't 'think' about celebrating, he simply did it. Again interesting article, not just from a Muay Thai perspective but in general. Definitely food for thought. I love that many of the nak muay you interview mention learning through watching. It's largely what makes me love muay Thai so much, their style is their personality. It's always interesting to me when one fighter teaches something one way, and another teaches it completely differently but neither of them are wrong. Pipa and Silapathai like to do the monkey teep while Ponsaknoi, from the same gym, says that's stupid just throw it like a normal person haha! Like I mentioned earlier I believe inspiration is a great motivator of mimesis, so to see the tactics each fighter subconsciously chooses to employ is in a way looking at what inspired them to fight in the first place. I think "history made flesh" is an excellent way to describe muay Thai, not in the sense of underwriting individual autonomy but moreso in the enculturation of a fighter. I don't think enculturation and the underwriting of individual autonomy are necessarily exclusive in this case as I believe factors that drive mimesis can definitely come from a place of individuality. The things that inspire us are all different. That's not to say the underwriting of individual autonomy is not also at play in muay Thai; the act of miming someone else is by nature not individually autonomous. Just that it's not exclusive, in my opinion.
  2. Yodsian! The superstar. You guys do a great job at highlighting what really blew me away about Karuhat, and that's his flow. His fights with Veeraphol are some of my favorite fights in any combat sport, ever. Like some stuff directly out of Dragon Ball Z. It's not just his technical prowess, which is incredible in its own right, but it's the speed at which he maintains it. I think calling him "The Fortress" makes a lot of sense, but more appropriately, in my opinion, he's like a floating castle in that while he's as imposing and impenetrable as a fortress, a fortress has more permanence, it's grounded and rooted and never moves while what makes Karuhat impenetrable is the opposite; his freedom of movement (and the LEVEL of that movement, importantly), his range of motion and the pace at which he uses them is hard to equal. Maybe impossible to equal when he's at his best. He's so comfortable doing such high level movements it has to be incredibly difficult for his opponent to stay focused and react appropriately. It's almost ironic in how imposing Karuhat can be, when he's often the smaller, more unassuming fighter. His prowess is evident in not just how fast he moves and reacts but in the moves he makes themselves: to be able to flow from one movement to another as effortlessly as Karuhat demonstrates how intelligent he really is, how efficiently his brain makes decisions and how practiced and measured he truly is. He forces opponents to match his pace, and that's quite a pace to match. If your brain isn't built like his you're basically doomed to play his game the whole fight, and odds are your brain is not built like his. Besides Karuhat the fighter, Karuhat the person is a treasure. I obviously do not know him personally, but his presence in the ring is so unique it's impossible to not gleam some insight into his character. So often you can freeze-frame and find Karuhat across from his opponent, hands all the way down by his side or on his hips, a half-smile on his face, making a pose that's almost like an invitation to his opponent. He'll nod his head and gesture toward his opponent with one arm, almost as if to ask "Are you enjoying this as much as I am?" And watching your sessions with him on the Muay Thai Library, his personality is still there. He's still that same superstar from his prime. The only thing that's changed about him is his age, the number itself. He's still as youthful as ever. I'm actually amazed at how young he looks. That's something that impresses me about Thai fighters in general is how YOUNG they all still are. Here in the west there's definitely a tendency to think of men in their 50s and over as "geriatrics", senior citizens. Seeing the way all these golden age nak muay move around still, there's nothing old about them. It really changed the misconceptions I had myself about the way humans age, and Karuhat in particular genuinely blows me away. I mean, looking at him from the back, you could mistake this man for a 20 year old. His youthfulness you can tell is more than just him being in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, too. You can see his youthfulness in his face, in the way he smiles and in his eyes. His love for Muay Thai has kept him young, in each session with Sylvie you can see just how much fun he has doing it. You can pause the sessions randomly and look at his face, and it looks like he's posing for a school portrait! And again, I do not know him personally but you can just FEEL the warmth in his smile. Karuhat's energy is so absolutely unique, he really is a superstar in every way. You can just feel how genuine he is, and you can SEE how intelligent he is, in his eyes and in his body. No other fighter conveys the same dominant-but-friendly air that I feel when watching both his fights and his sessions with Sylvie. The gorgeous shorts aside, I just hope Karuhat and the other wonderful men you and Sylvie work with are aware of how much love they really have outside of their community in Thailand. If I could afford to I'd rather just buy these things in a heartbeat, buy a pair for my girlfriend, hell I'd buy a pair for each of my cats. These guys absolutely inspire me to be a better person, not just a better fighter. They've given so much to the art of muay Thai but the ways they've helped change me are much larger than any sport.
  3. Good read. Muay Thai is in a lot of ways for me poetry in motion; as opposed to prose, verse is metered. Every foot in a poem is measured and deliberate. There are no wasted 'movements' so to speak. Like the great nak muay each bar is written, 'thrown', with intent, and draws from the influence of those who came before, from whom they learned. Without knowledge of form and structure, there are intricacies that one will not be able to appreciate. In the same way that an iambic foot can be used to mimic a heartbeat and elicit a reaction from the reader, a feint can be used to elicit a reaction from not just an opponent but the viewers as well. Playing the crowd can often be as important as playing your opponent. And one could say the same for most combat sports, but Muay Thai is more than just a sport as you mentioned. It's a tradition, it's a culture. Just like with poetry, one cannot separate the art from the tradition without misreading (not that most don't try to do just that regardless). Most combat sports (if any?) are not so closely entwined with the history that created it and the culture that surrounds it. Not just for observers, but for participants as well: the anxiety of influence is ever-present, moreso in Muay Thai than other fightsports strictly because of its tradition. Social hierarchy is tightly interwoven with MT, much like the history of poetry even if it is largely neglected in many cases. Besides the sheer technical ability and 'practical' efficiency, it's the heritage and the community that separates Thai boxing from other sports for me. It, like poetry, is very much involved with the 'human experience' to an inseparable degree and to me art is all about relating the human condition. I love your comparison to fishing, it's very apt.
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