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To spin or not to spin | Training Spinning Techniques


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So a good friend made this meme a while back and its always resonated with me. The idea being dont pass over the basics and fundamentals for fancy technique. This meme always becomes so relevant when someone in combat sports wins by spinning anything. Not because Im against spinning techniques, but because of how they always seem to jump the line so to speak past tried and true (possibly boring to students?) fundamental techniques with high percentages of landing. For context: (its not muay Thai I know, but it does effect me teaching muay Thai, so...) Raymond Daniels winning his fight in mma this last weekend. If you havent seen it, look up Bellator's social media. Curious to hear people's opinions, reactions, etc.  

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There is a really interesting specific history of this in the Spinning Elbow. I remember Arjan Surat teaching Sylvie several years ago and him laughing at the spinning elbow, "just for farang" he was laughing. Westerners love this move. What most don't realize is that this is a counter technique traditionally, used to catch an overly pursuing opponent. That's the usual use. Westerners use it completely "wrong". Now, here is where it gets interesting. Kronphet, who was once an Arjan Surat fighter, had fairly recently lost to the western fighter Gaston in a controversial decision [note: I'mgoing off my memory here and on mobile, I could be wrong]. We'll leave aside that Kronphet was already far removed from his prime, but Gaston is a fighter who completely uses the spinning elbow "wrong" (non traditionally) all fight long. He won that fight using it "wrong" (again, if I recall). Arjan Surat seemed to be laughing at the whole thing. I'm sure it looked ridiculous to him. But, it was somewhat effective against an aged, somewhat out of the circuit Thai. The big reason you can't use it like that is that you can be seriously countered vs elite competition, and in Thai style scoring you can't be off balance after scoring. Under western opponents, and now vs MMA opponents who just don't have the spatial awareness, the aggressive spinning elbow might very well work. Now, fast forward a few years. We filmed with Arjan Surat again and there he is teaching spinning shit to Sylvie. He teaches the spinning back fist that he says Wanchalerm (a fairly contemporary fighter) uses, and he teaches a whirling kick used by the old school legend Rotnarong (once Arjan's fighter) used. But, these are "moment" techniques, that fit within a context. They are used as counters or off of missed. I think that what happens is that they get taken out of their richer context, are used "wrong" against lesser opponent skill pools, or under different rule sets, and become popularized. And add Internet. It's cool in a way because it can create international enthusiasm for Thai techniques. And Thais themselves have moved away from many "fancy" techniques because of trying to be sure-footed with the gamblers, making stadium Muay Thai more and more vanilla. The misunderstanding and perhaps misuse of these techniques leads in a way toward their preservation, but we have to fight to retain some of the original fabric that created them, the deeper context of their success when used against elite competition. 

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I'm not a fan of spinning shit, but mainly because of how you're describing it as more or less the "hail Mary" of combat. It's rarely executed with balance or timing, although the times when it is... beautiful elbows can come out of it.

What I like about the missed-hook-to-back-elbow that both Namkabuan and Arjan Surat have shown me is that it's resonding - quickly - to a miss. It's not spinning for the sake of spinning, it's continuing the movement when you're too deep in to reverse it. The 5 spinning backfists in a single round as an endlessly missed strike in and of itself looks about as badass to me as giving someone your back does. 

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On 5/8/2019 at 1:34 PM, Coach James Poidog said:

So a good friend made this meme a while back and its always resonated with me. The idea being dont pass over the basics and fundamentals for fancy technique. This meme always becomes so relevant when someone in combat sports wins by spinning anything. Not because Im against spinning techniques, but because of how they always seem to jump the line so to speak past tried and true (possibly boring to students?) fundamental techniques with high percentages of landing. For context: (its not muay Thai I know, but it does effect me teaching muay Thai, so...) Raymond Daniels winning his fight in mma this last weekend. If you havent seen it, look up Bellator's social media. Curious to hear people's opinions, reactions, etc.  

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I saw the Raymond Daniels KO.  I’m not a fan of how people mock spinning things (Kevin your more nuanced take of when to use them, offensive v defensive or at least singularly makes sense).  But within other traditional martial arts it’s a well developed art form.  The Daniels KO was hilarious cause he did two full rotations (and he’s a huge dude), landed, saw the opening & just punched his opponent’s lights out.  Evidently he stuffed himself and had no room to throw the leg.  Apart from the easy mockery of all the flowery effort, you have to accept that his opponent was dumb-founded & took a hard one to the jaw as a result lol.  Diversion is not meaningless.  As for Gaston Bolanos, I’ve seen him fight several times and his elbows can seem calculated for the television audience (his movie star looks don’t hurt), but I believe he is an earnest & serious fighter, perhaps not from the Thai perspective but he’s a lifelong martial artist, starting with his boyhood in Peru.

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1 hour ago, threeoaks said:

I saw the Raymond Daniels KO.  I’m not a fan of how people mock spinning things (Kevin your more nuanced take of when to use them, offensive v defensive or at least singularly makes sense).  But within other traditional martial arts it’s a well developed art form.  The Daniels KO was hilarious cause he did two full rotations (and he’s a huge dude), landed, saw the opening & just punched his opponent’s lights out.  Evidently he stuffed himself and had no room to throw the leg.  Apart from the easy mockery of all the flowery effort, you have to accept that his opponent was dumb-founded & took a hard one to the jaw as a result lol.  Diversion is not meaningless.  As for Gaston Bolanos, I’ve seen him fight several times and his elbows can seem calculated for the television audience (his movie star looks don’t hurt), but I believe he is an earnest & serious fighter, perhaps not from the Thai perspective but he’s a lifelong martial artist, starting with his boyhood in Peru.

I think both Daniels and Gaston (love him) are perfect examples of people that train it to make it integral to their arsenal who also have their fundamentals down solidly. In those cases Im a fan. I have a guy who has a nasty spinning hook kick hes used successfully in competition. He trains it diligently. Raymond is another guy that has made it part of his tried and true from years of training. I cant find any fault with that. What Im not a fan of, and the coach who made this meme is also trying to say, is focusing on techniques that for most are low percentage working techniques over the tried and true fundamentals of fighting. Ive encountered some people that couldnt throw a round kick with out losing balance want to just learn a spinning elbow. If theyre a hobbyist and we're doing a private, Ill just sigh and take em through it, but for my students that compete its a bugger frustration. Nothing wrong with spinning stuff as long as you have everything else coming along nicely. 

Edited by Coach James Poidog
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5 minutes ago, Coach James Poidog said:

I think both Daniels and Gaston (love him) are perfect examples of people that train it to make it integral to their arsenal who also have their fundamentals down solidly. In those cases Im a fan. I have a guy who has a nasty spinning hook kick hes used successfully in competition. He trains it diligently. Raymond is another guy that has made it part of his tried and true from years of training. I cant find any fault with that. What Im not a fan of, and the coach who made this meme is also trying to say, is focusing on techniques that for most are low percentage working techniques over the tried and true fundamentals of fighting. Ive encountered some people that couldnt throw a round kick with out losing balance want to just learn a spinning elbow. If theyre a hobbyist and we're doing a private, Ill just sigh and take em through it, but for my students that compete its a bugger frustration. Nothing wrong with spinning stuff as long as you have everything else coming along nicely. 

That makes sense.  Must be annoying!

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1 minute ago, threeoaks said:

That makes sense.  Must be annoying!

Lol more humorous, but frustrating if they cant buckle down on the fundamentals. Basics win fights as a great coach once told me. Id want a lot of time put into those before Id explore the more fancy tricks that make highlight videos. 

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9 hours ago, Coach James Poidog said:

Lol more humorous, but frustrating if they cant buckle down on the fundamentals. Basics win fights as a great coach once told me. Id want a lot of time put into those before Id explore the more fancy tricks that make highlight videos. 

From a coach perspective, makes all the sense.  From a student & fan perspective I wish just once in a while people (ok online people) could just stop & appreciate the athleticism it takes to do what Daniels does (mind you, I did enjoy watching his damn long karate leg get chopped before he learned to defend the low kick mua haha Muay Thai)..  I don’t know why it gets to me but it’s like an mma attitude of (bear voice) “it’s not REAL fighting”.  In a sense that’s true since many spinning techniques, tornado kicks & what have you come from point sparring, but when it works (atop rock solid fundamentals as you say), can’t we bow down for once?  It’s a futile, silly effort of mine I know (change online culture Bwa haha).  And of course, as you are a coach, I understand the meme. Then there is this, at 59 seconds.  Cause like ya say, when you have the basics & way more, why the f*ck not?!

 

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7 hours ago, threeoaks said:

But within other traditional martial arts it’s a well developed art form.

I'm really unsure of this. I just read a complete history of Taekwando, which I thought had a long foundation in this, but it was pretty clear that so much of the "spinning" stuff is really a modern invention (far from its Karate origin), maybe since the 80s and 90s, and grew out of very non-fight oriented practices, and some of it from demo performance. In fact almost all of what we now think of as Taekwando arose out of pretty suspect rule-scoring shiftings (very, very light blows "scoring", no punches to the head, etc). None of this is really traditional martial art stuff. It's all very modern. It really surprised me.

5 hours ago, threeoaks said:

tornado kicks & what have you come from point sparring, but when it works

I think this is a significant thing. And I completely agree. But, at least for me, things are "working" against fighters who just are not very high level, fighters that lack deep-seeded spatial awareness. There are lots of things that work against more limited fighters. But the reason people get super excited about it isn't because "hey, this works!", it's because someone made a highlight clip and then that clip "works" in the social media stream.

 

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12 hours ago, threeoaks said:

many spinning techniques, tornado kicks & what have you come from point sparring

I think it valid to critique techniques and fight values that flow out of unreal fighting styles, that is styles that develop along increasingly artificial lines usually involving scoring or packaged promotion styles, in so far as these fighting styles ALSO try to portray themselves as "real fighting". For instance, to take a non-Taekwando example, for a long while historical Karate apparently developed a real lack of combination fighting because it had adopted a philosophy (fantasy) of the death blow. Karate strikes were imagined to be dealing death blows (something inherited from older weapons martial art forms, where sword strikes really would be death blows). This lead to a very abstract and unreal development of fighting techniques, one which shunned full-contact sparring (how can you spar with "death blows"?), that took some serious and devoted branches of Karate quite far from real combat or even fighting prowess. BUT, I also think that these kinds of fantasy detours of fighting styles can be super important too, because they allow imaginative, and even artistic developments that otherwise might not be given the space and time to be explored. I liken it to Science Fiction writing. Science Fiction is NOT Science. But it has had lots of impact on Science. Hey Sci-Fi writer Arthur C. Clarke imagined that one day satellites would circle the planet in a vast communication network, and look what happened. But, just as it's important to distinguish between Science and Science Fiction, you would want to distinguish between fantasy fighting and efficacy fighting (which sometimes is harder to do, because all sport fighting is shaped by rule-sets and aesthetics). Even if it is difficult sometimes, it's healthy to make the distinction. If Karate is claiming death-blows all over the place, and refusing to spar, it just can't sit there as the most deadly martial art because other fighting styles/systems are sparring and fighting frequently (with non-death blows).    

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Meat and three veg first. If you eat that, then we'll add some gravy. But seriously, every lesson contains, left, right, left hook, low kick. Without fail. This is because, you must have something so ingrained in you, that when the shit hits the fan, it comes automatically.

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10 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I think this is a significant thing. And I completely agree. But, at least for me, things are "working" against fighters who just are not very high level, fighters that lack deep-seeded spatial awareness. There are lots of things that work against more limited fighters. But the reason people get super excited about it isn't because "hey, this works!", it's because someone made a highlight clip and then that clip "works" in the social media stream.

 

Exactly this. 

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Love watching it, but hate doing it. Feels like you're giving up too much for the attempt. But ahh, dunno really.

Popularity of it in the West might come a bit from MMA and the level of informed fight culture it produces. Even from the commentators, or the journalists if we're gonna call them that. A guy can throw spinning shit all day that never lands, switch stance 5 times every 10 seconds from a mile a way when there's no purpose in doing it, or even just make up random shit. Then it's immediately called "Elusive...high level striking...unorthodox...creative etc etc..." in hush tones, and actually encouraged to guys just starting out.

Now what I don't get......how come the people who encourage that kind of thing don't apply the same thinking when it comes to BJJ or Greco? Imagine a Jiu Jitsu teacher with 30 years under his belt training one of his white belts or blue belts for competition. He says, OK dude, so this is what you do...as soon as the ref says go, you run at the guy and throw a jumping flying omoplata, or look for a berimbolo whenever you can. 

Hell no. No way he would. Like... in no other sport would that thinking be acceptable. If that teacher wants to create the white belt world champion, he'll drill him with 2 simple sweeps, 2 simple guard passes, 2 simple submissions, tonnes of hip work, and tell him to go out there and play the percentages.

O

 

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59 minutes ago, Oliver said:

A guy can throw spinning shit all day that never lands, switch stance 5 times every 10 seconds from a mile a way when there's no purpose in doing it, or even just make up random shit. Then it's immediately called "Elusive...high level striking...unorthodox...creative etc etc..."

hahaha. So true. I just heard Joe Rogan say that if you are a kid learning to fight you really need to start with Taekwando because you can learn all kinds of amazing spinning kicks that you would not otherwise be able to learn (if you were exposed to real, fight limitations, someone disturbing you, interrupting you, etc). And then once you've learned all the spinning kicks (I can't even write this, I'm rolling my eyes so hard), then you can move onto more realistic fighting arts, like Muay Thai and whatnot. Shaking my head. And THIS guy (and I do like him for other things) is the prime educator of what fighting is to America, and really the world.

Edit: here it is. Listen for 2 minutes, mind blow:

 

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Weird, because starting out back home, loads of those guys came through the 1st gym I was at. Karate guys, TKD guys, dudes who wanted to be ninjas etc. They tended to have the most awkwardness adapting to the new thing and didn't like it, so didn't stick to it. Guys coming from other sports like football, triathlons and stuff did way better.

Actually, even the guys who came from video games did better. 

Edited by Oliver
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4 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

hahaha. So true. I just heard Joe Rogan say that if you are a kid learning to fight you really need to start with Taekwando because you can learn all kinds of amazing spinning kicks that you would not otherwise be able to learn (if you were exposed to real, fight limitations, someone disturbing you, interrupting you, etc). And then once you've learned all the spinning kicks (I can't even write this, I'm rolling my eyes so hard), then you can move onto more realistic fighting arts, like Muay Thai and whatnot. Shaking my head. And THIS guy (and I do like him for other things) is the prime educator of what fighting is to America, and really the world.

Edit: here it is. Listen for 2 minutes, mind blow:

 

Lol we need a laughter emoji added to the like selections. Rogan said that cause thats his fn background lol. Like muay Thai fighters cant spin 🙄

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5 hours ago, Oliver said:

Popularity of it in the West might come a bit from MMA and the level of informed fight culture it produces. Even from the commentators, or the journalists if we're gonna call them that. A guy can throw spinning shit all day that never lands, switch stance 5 times every 10 seconds from a mile a way when there's no purpose in doing it, or even just make up random shit. Then it's immediately called "Elusive...high level striking...unorthodox...creative etc etc..." in hush tones, and actually encouraged to guys just starting out.


 

Truth. And hilarious. Similar to commentators saying things like black belt in muay Thai to me. 

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5 hours ago, Oliver said:

Now what I don't get......how come the people who encourage that kind of thing don't apply the same thinking when it comes to BJJ or Greco? Imagine a Jiu Jitsu teacher with 30 years under his belt training one of his white belts or blue belts for competition. He says, OK dude, so this is what you do...as soon as the ref says go, you run at the guy and throw a jumping flying omoplata, or look for a berimbolo whenever you can. 

Hell no. No way he would. Like... in no other sport would that thinking be acceptable. If that teacher wants to create the white belt world champion, he'll drill him with 2 simple sweeps, 2 simple guard passes, 2 simple submissions, tonnes of hip work, and tell him to go out there and play the percentages.

O

 

Pretty sure many striking coaches dont necessarily tell their fighter to run out and do a spinning attack either lol (well maybe Raymond Daniels' coach does 🤣). I do know they get super frustrated like i do by similar requests to learn low percentage but spectacular moves. I used to teach at 10pl hq and know a bunch of the instructors under Eddie. Drives them nuts if a guy that cant avoid mount wants to learn a flying armbar lol. 

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Haha! Ok maybe not that ridiculous, like go out there and crocodile kick him in the first 5 seconds. But, not super far off that. Actually wait, Fabricio Werdum once opened up with a flying karate thing to someone's face in round 1.

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6 hours ago, Coach James Poidog said:

Rogan said that cause thats his fn background lol.

Well, he also said that because in his case it's pretty clear that a TKD background led to becoming a high level fighter 🙂 You know, if your kid wants to become a fighter he should do what I did...to not become a fighter. It blows my mind that he is so far out in space on this. None of this stuff works in fighting, but it's really good to make all this shit that doesn't work your FOUNDATION.

 

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On 6/3/2019 at 6:17 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I made this for you 3 Oaks. I saw it randomly in the fight and thought "Hey, 3 Oaks would like this!":

 

What a stud.  But haha I’m not the spinning aficionado.  I just don’t like all the karate shit talk but of course I understand spectacular showy stuff breeds greedy awkward noobs.  I also would like to slap Joe Rogan (cause that’s more humiliating than a spinning kick).  Thank you I’m touched!!

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Indian culture became powerfully adopted throughout mainland Southeast Asia, and importantly in the history of Siam significantly informed Khmer Empire (today's Cambodia) royalty warfare and statecraft, much of which would be adopted by Siamese kings to the West. Royal, court and State culture was Indianized, bearing qualities (language, social forms, knowledges) which were not shared by the common populace. The Indianization of Southeast Asia has been culturally compared to the Roman Empire's Romanization in of Europe. And to this day Thai Royalty, its Brahmin customs and practices, the common worship of Hindu gods within a Buddhist context reflects this 1,500 years of influence of Indian culture. This is to say, when comparing Thailand's Muay Thai to the West via the game of Chess, we are speaking of a game that was of Indian and Persian origin, something quite closely braided within Siamese history. For instance, King Narai of Ayutthaya in 17th century had 200 Persian warriors as his personal guard. The influence of India and Persia is profound. What I want you to see is that Muay Thai's historical past is likely quite imbricated. There are layers upon layers of historical segmentation. Within this history the Royal form in particular had a distinctly Indianized history, and Thailand's Muay Thai has had a robust Royal history surrounding the raising of armies, large scale wars at times with armies (perhaps fancifully) rumored to approach 1,000,000 men. This Statecraft heritage is likely something we can see reflected in the game of Chess itself, the game of Kings, castles and queens. And, the history that we have of Thailand's Muay Thai is almost entirely composed of this Royal-State story, as royal record and foreign visitors to Siam's kingdoms comprises our written history. The possible story of Muay Thai that involves provincial, rural, village, regional martial and sport practices has vanished seemingly just as much as houses of wood or bamboo will not be preserved. Yet, in the nature of Southeast Asian and Siamese fighting arts we very well may see the martial contrastive martial logic of the Siamese people, especially when compared to the visions of the West. Chess, Go, Striated and Smooth Spaces In this we turn to the 4,000 year old Chinese and then Japanese game of Go (the game of surrounding). wikipedia: Japanese word igo (囲碁; いご), which derives from earlier wigo (ゐご), in turn from Middle Chinese ɦʉi gi (圍棋, Mandarin: wéiqí, lit. 'encirclement board game' or 'board game of surrounding'). I have written about the historical origins of Thailand's Muay Thai that particularly bring out its logic of surrounding and capture, a martial logic that is quite embodied in the game of Go (The Historical Foundations of Thailand's Retreating Style, or How They Became the Best Defensive Fighters In the World). In short, historians of Southeast Asia point out that unlike in Europe where land was scarce (and therefore the anchor of wealth), and manpower plentiful, conquering land and killing occupying enemies formed a basic martial logic in warfare. In Southeast Asia where fecund land was everywhere, but population sparse (especially in Siam which had been one of the least populated regions of Southasia), warfare was focused on capture and enslavement. Enemy land capture was at a minimum, and even in the case of the famed and ruinous sackings of the Siamese Capital of Ayutthaya by the Burmese, the captured territory was not held. These are just very different spatial and aim-oriented logics, in fact opposite logics. I'm using the game of Go, which expresses a fluid rationality of edge control and reversible enemy capture (captured stones add to your wealth, and don't only subtract from one's enemy), opposed to the more centric, land-control logic of Chess. A Chess of Indian-Persian statecraft which resonated with European political and warfare realities. This juxtaposition between games is not mine, though I'm probably the first to use it to illuminate combat sport perceptions in today's ring fighting. It comes from the sociologically oriented philosophers Deleuze and Guattari in their book A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. A notoriously difficult work due to its heavy reliance on invented vocabularies, and its opaque, keyed-in references to specific philosophical traditions, psychoanalysis and their theoretical problems, it still provides rich analysis of buried trends in Western social organization, and a metaphysics for thinking about the history of the world as a whole. What Deleuze and Guattari want to do in contrasting Go with Chess is to think about the different ways that Space is organized and traversed by political powers and regimes of meaning. They propose that Chess is a striated (divided, segmented, hierarchical) Space, And Go more of a smooth space. This blogged description is a good summary of the two kinds of Space: The much older game of Go is a strategy of surround and capture, wherein you turn an enemy's wealth - by our analogy labor-power - into your own. This is mirrored in Siamese warfare as reported in 1688 by an Iranian vistor, "...the struggle is wholly confined to trickery and deception. They have no intention of killing each other or of inflicting any great slaughter because if a general gained a real conquest, he would be shedding his own blood so to speak" (context, Ibrahim), full quote here. We have at surface a strong homology between foreign reports and the structural nature of the game of Go. More can be understood of my position and the role of evasion, surround-and-capture principles in this extended thread here. Diving down into the more philosophical ramifications I provide the extended Deleuze & Guattari quotation comparing the game of Chess vs the game of Go: Rather, he is like a pure and immeasurable multiplicity, the pack, an irruption of the ephemeral and the power of metamorphosis. He unties the bond just as he betrays the pact. He brings a furor to bear against sovereignty, a celerity against gravity, secrecy against the public, a power (puissance) against sovereignty, a machine against the apparatus. He bears witness to another kind of justice, one of incomprehensible cruelty at times, but at others of unequaled pity as well (because he unties bonds.. .). He bears witness, above all, to other relations with women, with animals, because he sees all things in relations of becoming, rather than implementing binary distributions between "states": a veritable becoming-animal of the warrior, a becoming-woman, which lies outside. Let us take a limited example and compare the war machine and the State apparatus in the context of the theory of games. Let us take chess and Go, from the standpoint of the game pieces, the relations between the pieces and the space involved. Chess is a game of State, or of the court: the emperor of China played it. Chess pieces are coded; they have an internal nature and intrinsic properties from which their movements, situations, and confrontations derive. They have qualities; a knight remains a knight, a pawn a pawn, a bishop a bishop. Each is like a subject of the statement endowed with a relative power, and these relative powers combine in a subject of enunciation, that is, the chess player or the game's form of interiority. Go pieces, in contrast, are pellets, disks, simple arithmetic units, and have only an anonymous, collective, or third-person function: Thus the relations are very different in the two cases. Within their milieu of interiority, chess pieces entertain biunivocal relations with one another, and with the adversary's pieces: their functioning is structural. On the other hand, a Go piece has only a milieu of exteriority, or extrinsic relations with nebulas or constellations, according to which it fulfills functions of insertion or situation, such as bordering, encircling, shattering. All by itself, a Go piece can destroy an entire constellation synchronically; a chess piece cannot (or can do so diachronically only). Chess is indeed a war, but an institutionalized, regulated, coded war, with a front, a rear, battles. But what is proper to Go is war without battle lines, with neither confrontation nor retreat, without battles even: pure strategy, whereas chess is a semiology. Finally, the space is not at all the same: in chess, it is a question of arranging a closed space for oneself, thus of going from one point to another, of occupying the maximum number of squares with the minimum number of pieces. In Go, it is a question of arraying oneself in an open space, of holding space, of maintaining the possibility of springing up at any point: the movement is not from one point to another, but becomes perpetual, without aim or destination, with out departure or arrival. The "smooth" space of Go, as against the "striated" space of chess. The nomos of Go against the State of chess, nomos against polis. The difference is that chess codes and decodes space, whereas Go proceeds altogether differently, territorializing or deterritorializing it (make the outside a territory in space; consolidate that territory by the construction of a second, adjacent territory; deterritorialize the enemy by shattering his territory from within; deterritorialize oneself by renouncing, by going elsewhere . ..). Another justice, another movement, another space-time. Deleuze & Guattari, "1227: TREATISE ON NOMADOLOGY—THE WAR MACHINE", A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia   Becoming and A Warfare of Capture What Deleuze and Guattari are invoking is a conception of warfare which is much more fully potentiated. Not locked into rigid hierarchies and roles of figures of power, it is a much more metaphysical battle that reflects aspects of what I have argued is the spiritual foundation of Thailand's Muay Thai, an animism of powers within the history of the culture that predates the arrival of Buddhism (Toward a Theory of the Spirituality of Thailand's Muay Thai). This logic of an animism of powers contains an essential aspect of captured power, the incorporated power of a captured enemy, founded on what historians of Southeast Asia have called "Soul Stuff", roughly equivalent of Hindu shakti (strength). This can be manifested in captured slave labor, or perhaps even in the prehistoric rites of cannibalism through which one consumed the soul stuff of an enemy. You can find a logic of Soul Stuff here, this graphic below helps represent the animism of contest. A primary source on soul stuff and a fusion of military and spiritual prowess can be found with historian O.W. Walters here. Thus, within the cultural origins of Siamese culture, even that which pre-dates the Indianization of the region, we have essential aspects of a smooth, tactical space in a Deleuze & Guattari sense, which potentially maps quite well into the game of Go, especially as it is contrasted to Chess.   Further in concordance with Deleuze & Guattari's philosophical concept of liberty is the way in which Thailand's Muay Thai can be understood as revolutionary in their terms. Deleuze & Guattari write of becoming-animal, becoming-child, becoming-woman, deterritorializing flights inimitable to human freedom. Thailand's Muay Thai (& broader Thai agonism) de-privileges these categories, along a continuous spectrum of thymotic struggle, which runs thru the social hierarchies of low to high, sewing them together. One could say a smooth thymotic space of trajectories. Thailand known for its (ethically criticized) child fighting, women have fought for 100+ yrs, and beetle fighting embodies much of the Muay Thai gambled form. In many important ways Thailand's Muay Thai avoids the stacked arboreal structure of Western Man (& its contrastive Others), favoring a continuity agonistic spectrum within its (Indianized) hierarchies. It has strongly weighted traditional hierarchies, but within this a thymotic line-of-becoming that runs between divinity and animality. see Beetle Fighting, Muay Thai and the Health of the Culture of Thailand - The Ecology of Fighting more on the division of divinity and animality by wicha here: Muay Thai Seen as a Rite: Sacrifice, Combat Sports, Loser as Sacred Victim Knowing-as-doing, the wicha of technical knowledge of how to do, runs between the axes of divinity and animality in a way that supports a mutuality of any figure's becoming, from the insect up to the heightened champion fighter, in a line of flight shared by others. Most Deleuzian becoming-animal, -child, -woman examples come from the arts (sometimes the bedroom), but instead in Thai, gambled agonism we have the becoming of actual animals, children, women & the projective affects of an equally agonistic audience undergoing its own becoming-as. When I say revolutionary, I say "Thailand's Muay Thai has something to teach the world about the nature of violence and its meaning." Learning From Chess in How to See Thailand's Muay Thai Keep in mind, this isn't an direct one-for-one comparison of the contemporary game of Chess (and Chess Theory) and the ring sport of Muay Thai. It compares the dominant image of thought in the conceptual trend. Some have pointed out that my gross picture of Chess leaves out its post-1920s modern Chess Theory development, which often eschews central forward advancement. What is important in the Chess example isn't how Chess was played in 1960s, say, but rather that Chess over the sweep of its history allows us to see how it expressed the martial logic from which it came, ie, how some battles were fought in the field, with advancing lines, and a central capture of territory focus. Chess I would argue contains a martial logic fingerprint in its organizational structure, just as the real life political powers of Kings, Queens, knights and bishops made their impact on its rules & formation, the increased power of the Queen on the board said to be a fine example of this (see: A Queen in Any Other Language). Even in the Hypermodernism of Chess one might say that the center still holds importance, as there are just other ways of controlling or managing it.  Hypermodernism for instance may have reflected the increased use of cannon & then WW1 artillery. Between the two games of Chess and Go are differing Martial Logics. It doesn't mean that there is zero fighting for the center in Muay Thai (or in Southeast Asian warfare...siege warfare is prominent in Ayutthaya history for instance, though with influence from the Portuguese, etc), or that there is zero edge or flank control in Western European warfare or Chess (flank maneuvers are numerous in European warfare). The contrast is really meant to exposed how we perceive conflict spatially, and that these are things we've culturally inherited. You see these inherited concepts, for instance the centrality of territory capture in common Western scoring criteria like "ring control". Centralized conflict is part of our past and informs how we judge fighting styles, just as edge conflict is part of Southeast Asia's past. And importantly this also informs our ideas of violence, with a European tendency toward "kill" (to control land, ie the center) and a SEA tendency toward "capture"(to control labor, ie the edge).  
    • Hey so im an ammateur fighting in europe mostly at DIY events. The thing is even though every fight I improve I am never able to win and its starting to get to me.  I have 5 fights in total 2 k1 and 3 muay thai and iv never won a muay thai, won 1 k1 cos my cardio was better than the other girl and I just out brawld her.  People say wow your technique is so much better than the fight I saw you in last year etc but it still feels bitter to constantly lose. I know i am improving but feel that I always just get tougher and tougher matches, the last 3 fights I lost have all been very close fights. One I lost cos my opponent got injured and broke her ankle when I bloked with a knee but she was able to hide it, another one I lost cos she was using more clean techniques and I was brawling (this one I agree with 100% cos I was landing but it was sloppy.)  The last one I lost cos my cardio was bad which is also fine. I am fine with losing, its just starting to get to me that I never win. It also kinda annoys me that the only fight I ever won was one that I just outbrawled the other girl. Feels like my improvements havnt really helped me cos I just get matched with tougher and tougher opponents each time.  Im wondering if I should give up on decision fights for a while and just do non decisions to get my condifence back up or whether I will eventually break through and be able to win. I am also kinda old at 32 so even though my technique is improving my strength, reflexes and reactions will begin to fade soon. 
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