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Women fighting & training - how do you feel, similarities and differences with men.


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1 hour ago, Oliver said:

Unless we're told to feel the universe and breath into our bra straps.

 

hahahahahah

 

1 hour ago, Oliver said:

 

People might not like biological arguments but in that room there's no escaping it, the advantage everybody else has in terms of natural hip and leg flexibility....

I accept that there is difference of course.  I just don't focus on it, and try and screw them (bio arguments) up every chance I get cause they irritate me 🙂

1 hour ago, Oliver said:

And the 2 most experienced girls used to chat about the gym going downhill, saying "Because now the gym has too many girls". For real, that's a quote.

Oliver.  I believe this.  Its too funny.  One has to ask, 'what is a girl', in that case, if a girl is rejecting too many "girls".  Is it the less serious people?  Or just the loss of the higher level of power/technique/aggressiveness?  Some of us prefer to be around men cause its less complicated.  No generalization is really possible.  Thanks for your experience!  Sometimes I wish I could, like you, just not think about it.  But it's my life's work as a visual artist so I try to stay loose but remain conscious. 

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Again, hard to pay attention to it when really tired and doing something difficult, but one noticeable thing from those days was the weight issue. Say a real tall girl with the build of a South American tennis player needs a partner, she tends to prefer (and prob improve more) partnering with the guy who's like 72 or 76kg. If there's another girl there who is way way lighter, the trainer partners them up together, and some of them don't like that.

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10 minutes ago, Oliver said:

Again, hard to pay attention to it when really tired and doing something difficult, but one noticeable thing from those days was the weight issue. Say a real tall girl with the build of a South American tennis player needs a partner, she tends to prefer (and prob improve more) partnering with the guy who's like 72 or 76kg. If there's another girl there who is way way lighter, the trainer partners them up together, and some of them don't like that.

Yes the size issue really plays into it.  I love getting partnered with people my size although in the end my favorite training partner is 11 inches shorter than me, 30 lbs lighter.  She may not like dealing with me but she's the best (Michelle Duff).  Thanks again for your thoughts.

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Agreed.

Always found the most beneficial training partners were guys bigger than me, one by 20kilos. It meant you couldn't get away with bullshit. All the tiny details & phases within one thing you wanna do have to be on point, for the whole thing to work.

 

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Apologies this might be slightly off topic. Not a coach, but a woman in a male space, and I reacted to this by Sylvie:

and disgusted with myself for having an automatic sense of competitiveness. Not competitiveness in the sporting sense, like how men might get to enjoy having a spar to see who's slicker, but competitiveness in the "there are limited social resources here and I now have to protect my hard-earned position" kind of competitiveness.Which is shit. Which is why you get women throwing each other under the bus to be teacher's-pet, or creating cliques when there are only 3 of us, or not being supportive despite there only being fucking 2 of us.

I completely understand where this is coming from, usually spots for women are limited and we all have to compete for that one spot above the glass ceiling. But I also find it unfair. I'm sorry to say, but not all women in a muay thai gyms are cool. There are various types, the hard worker, the one who flirts to get some teaching from the male trainer (no judgement it's an effective strategy), the super hard tough girl who talks to no one and will kick the shit out of your shins (understanding her too) or the "know it all" etc etc. The point is, usually guys have the luxury of having ten other guys as training partners to relate to and train with. Finding their favorite or the asshole they cannot stand. But as a woman you're expected to instantly connect with that other woman who shows up and if she's not cool, you're not being a good "sister". And that sucks. And it's simply the result from having too few other women to train with. And to me that's the most limiting factor being a woman training muay thai. The longing for a female partner to compete with and learn from and then handling the disappointment when she turns out to be not so cool. And that whole pressure of having to get along with a fellow muay ying and to not appear like that woman who likes to be the only woman in a male space.  

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On 6/5/2019 at 1:56 AM, threeoaks said:

I’d be curious to hear from the coaches in particular how they see differences in male & female athletes, and also what are the main similarities.  I ask this here rather than Sherdog or Reddit cause I’m not begging for an earful of sexism, more an open field of experience & opinion from both men & women & also non-binary people if you’re here.

I am speaking purely from my anecdotal evidence of training and training with men and women. One of my students is a friend of mine, who is a FTM transman who is currently in his first steps of hormone therapy (but he's at the very beginning of his training, so I haven't much to say), I've coached several men and several women. I also say this with the preface that I am not a veteran coach or fighter.

Talking athletically there's not much I can say that any other person won't say - but in terms of actually coaching and interacting, here are my observations: 

I tend to find that women are more comfortable kicking to the body and head straight out of the gate regardless of experience. I think that is because of the popularity of dancing, which is so popular among little girls here - I do not tend to find that flexibility ever leaves you. I've always found men have more speed and power but also more ego. Ego's not a bad thing either, and I should stress that nearly every man I've trained has been a lovely well adjusted person, but I've found men are more likely to argue with what I'm teaching them, and men are more likely to get frustrated with themselves if they make a mistake or are unable to complete exercises. 

I've never had a woman argue with me about whether or not a technique is right or wrong and while I'm sure women will be frustrated by the training or by me, I've not known them to outwardly show it. I also find that women tend to be shy and it usually takes a while to build up their confidence on the pads as they're getting to know you. Men just start smashing the pads as hard as they can regardless of form. I usually have to tell guys to calm down, and tell girls to hit harder. 

With beginners I particularly notice that men are more likely to stand quite wide, and swing from far away as though they're imitating a boxer. Women I find often do what I call a 'cat paw' where they hit with their hand coming palm first from their stance. I do not know why this is.

Obviously this isn't the be all and end all, everybody is different but these are the observations I've had. 

The women I've trained, trained for fitness and to learn a martial art and self defence for fun - and when you ask them if they want to fight the answer you get will really vary. Every guy I've ever coached (many of whom are teenager) wants to fight but those that actually DO fight are few. 

At my gym the fight team coach is a woman (I don't want to name drop her here for privacy reasons, but she is well known for defeating Julie Kitchen + Joanna Jedrzejczyk)  - and many of our more notable fighters have been women (Claire Haigh, Geraldine O'Callaghan, Chalih Bassanah etc.) most of whom were there before I joined, and also tough as nails. The main thing between men and women that I think is the same is the actual fight in them - and I don't mean wanting to compete, but when they're training to push through and in competition their grit when it comes to throw down. I've seen men and women give up, and I've seen men and women giving it their absolute all. That's is what is in my view most important! 
 

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...and in terms of difference between men and women from a student perspective I feel the biggest difference is how women and men are treated not the way they act. I might be wrong, but there are all these kind of student types and in my experience both women and men display these types. 

The hardest sparring I always get from women (or uncontrolled newbie guys) probably as a consequence from women sparring mainly (bigger) men and used to go hard. 

I've been told though by western guys, they feel women have it easier in Thailand because we get taught more tricks (perhaps because of flirting or we're not seen as threats) whereas guys are supposed to figure themselves out on their own. Even among western fighter guy friends secrets are not shared. Which was a surprise to me and threw me out off this "it's so unfair because I'm a woman"-loop a bit (although it definitely still sucks being read as a woman in many ways). 

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7 minutes ago, AndyMaBobs said:

I am speaking purely from my anecdotal evidence of training and training with men and women. One of my students is a friend of mine, who is a FTM transman who is currently in his first steps of hormone therapy (but he's at the very beginning of his training, so I haven't much to say), I've coached several men and several women. I also say this with the preface that I am not a veteran coach or fighter.

Talking athletically there's not much I can say that any other person won't say - but in terms of actually coaching and interacting, here are my observations: 

I tend to find that women are more comfortable kicking to the body and head straight out of the gate regardless of experience. I think that is because of the popularity of dancing, which is so popular among little girls here - I do not tend to find that flexibility ever leaves you. I've always found men have more speed and power but also more ego. Ego's not a bad thing either, and I should stress that nearly every man I've trained has been a lovely well adjusted person, but I've found men are more likely to argue with what I'm teaching them, and men are more likely to get frustrated with themselves if they make a mistake or are unable to complete exercises. 

I've never had a woman argue with me about whether or not a technique is right or wrong and while I'm sure women will be frustrated by the training or by me, I've not known them to outwardly show it. I also find that women tend to be shy and it usually takes a while to build up their confidence on the pads as they're getting to know you. Men just start smashing the pads as hard as they can regardless of form. I usually have to tell guys to calm down, and tell girls to hit harder. 

With beginners I particularly notice that men are more likely to stand quite wide, and swing from far away as though they're imitating a boxer. Women I find often do what I call a 'cat paw' where they hit with their hand coming palm first from their stance. I do not know why this is.

Obviously this isn't the be all and end all, everybody is different but these are the observations I've had. 

The women I've trained, trained for fitness and to learn a martial art and self defence for fun - and when you ask them if they want to fight the answer you get will really vary. Every guy I've ever coached (many of whom are teenager) wants to fight but those that actually DO fight are few. 

At my gym the fight team coach is a woman (I don't want to name drop her here for privacy reasons, but she is well known for defeating Julie Kitchen + Joanna Jedrzejczyk)  - and many of our more notable fighters have been women (Claire Haigh, Geraldine O'Callaghan, Chalih Bassanah etc.) most of whom were there before I joined, and also tough as nails. The main thing between men and women that I think is the same is the actual fight in them - and I don't mean wanting to compete, but when they're training to push through and in competition their grit when it comes to throw down. I've seen men and women give up, and I've seen men and women giving it their absolute all. That's is what is in my view most important! 
 

Andy this is gold.  So interesting about the wide stance for men, and I know the "cat paw" well lol.  Funny that it is universal.  I appreciate you getting so concrete about how men and women actually work in a gym.  Your gym sounds like a great place and I like what you say about the actual "fight in them".  That must be something you can only see under duress, and its beautiful that it has NOTHING to do with gender.  Love it.

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4 minutes ago, LengLeng said:

...and in terms of difference between men and women from a student perspective I feel the biggest difference is how women and men are treated not the way they act. I might be wrong, but there are all these kind of student types and in my experience both women and men display these types. 

The hardest sparring I always get from women (or uncontrolled newbie guys) probably as a consequence from women sparring mainly (bigger) men and used to go hard. 

I've been told though by western guys, they feel women have it easier in Thailand because we get taught more tricks (perhaps because of flirting or we're not seen as threats) whereas guys are supposed to figure themselves out on their own. Even among western fighter guy friends secrets are not shared. Which was a surprise to me and threw me out off this "it's so unfair because I'm a woman"-loop a bit (although it definitely still sucks being read as a woman in many ways). 

Oh that's interesting.  I always love being underestimated ("not seen as threat") cause it gets you in the door so many places in life, insulting as it can be.  I wonder if the lack of sharing and competitiveness for Western men in Thailand is because of being a threat, or general non-compliant or unknowingly disrespectful behavior.  Anyway huge cheers to the advantages of going in slick (poor little female), getting the tricks!

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2 minutes ago, threeoaks said:

Andy this is gold.  So interesting about the wide stance for men, and I know the "cat paw" well lol.  Funny that it is universal.  I appreciate you getting so concrete about how men and women actually work in a gym.  Your gym sounds like a great place and I like what you say about the actual "fight in them".  That must be something you can only see under duress, and its beautiful that it has NOTHING to do with gender.  Love it.

Should you ever find yourself in London, you'd be more than welcome to come over and train. 🙂 

I think that regardless of athleticism or male or female egos that affect how someone trains and fights, fighting is a human thing. We all do it - so it doesn't come as a surprise to me that men and women are just as scrappy

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1 minute ago, AndyMaBobs said:

Should you ever find yourself in London, you'd be more than welcome to come over and train. 🙂 

I think that regardless of athleticism or male or female egos that affect how someone trains and fights, fighting is a human thing. We all do it - so it doesn't come as a surprise to me that men and women are just as scrappy

Thank you!!

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8 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the things that makes Muay Thai beautiful, and perhaps especially made for women. Thais are small, and in the conception of the art is the thought that it is made for the defeat of larger people. Which is kind of how it made me laugh when someone like Kenshin does breakdowns of Muay Thai fighters beating absolutel6 huge opponents, but then imagine that there are fundamental physical inequalities that categorically bar them from being able to handle Male opponents. Yeah, 70 pound differences can be overcome...but "bone density"...hmmm

Right? Honestly, size difference is a real thing but it can be overcome. But it is funny when "they" say its no big deal but then go on to allow other similar limiters as serious problems. Many times I think the reason some of these limiters work is because people dont account for them in training. Ive been to many gyms that during sparring only have people of the same weight class match up. Coming from a traditional background, we never trained within weight classes, we just matched up with whoever, so we got to experience when techniques needed to be altered to account for your opponents size. A lot of techniques work on the surface, all things being equal, but fall short when used against a bigger opponent. Few then explore why. One of the things Ive always loved about the women that trained in the gyms I was at was their willingness and complete acceptance of training with consistently bigger/stronger partners. Funny thing is, it always made them better. Not just in general but specifically when they ended up with someone their own size and strength. It was kind of like weight training in that they adapted to the bigger/stronger and became something stronger themselves. I point out the women specifically because of the topic but also because there was never a complaint about it, it just was the way it was. 

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2 hours ago, LengLeng said:

Apologies this might be slightly off topic. Not a coach, but a woman in a male space, and I reacted to this by Sylvie:

and disgusted with myself for having an automatic sense of competitiveness. Not competitiveness in the sporting sense, like how men might get to enjoy having a spar to see who's slicker, but competitiveness in the "there are limited social resources here and I now have to protect my hard-earned position" kind of competitiveness.Which is shit. Which is why you get women throwing each other under the bus to be teacher's-pet, or creating cliques when there are only 3 of us, or not being supportive despite there only being fucking 2 of us.

I completely understand where this is coming from, usually spots for women are limited and we all have to compete for that one spot above the glass ceiling. But I also find it unfair. I'm sorry to say, but not all women in a muay thai gyms are cool. There are various types, the hard worker, the one who flirts to get some teaching from the male trainer (no judgement it's an effective strategy), the super hard tough girl who talks to no one and will kick the shit out of your shins (understanding her too) or the "know it all" etc etc. The point is, usually guys have the luxury of having ten other guys as training partners to relate to and train with. Finding their favorite or the asshole they cannot stand. But as a woman you're expected to instantly connect with that other woman who shows up and if she's not cool, you're not being a good "sister". And that sucks. And it's simply the result from having too few other women to train with. And to me that's the most limiting factor being a woman training muay thai. The longing for a female partner to compete with and learn from and then handling the disappointment when she turns out to be not so cool. And that whole pressure of having to get along with a fellow muay ying and to not appear like that woman who likes to be the only woman in a male space.  

This is super NOT off topic.  It’s definitely a social condition of gym life.  I’ve been lucky to meet a free great, generous & skilled women, and I’ve met two who had it out for any women perceived to take coach attention from them. Sometimes it’s sexual,  sometimes it’s Daddy issues (both?).  But either way like you & Sylvie pointed out, it’s a side effect of scarcity.  I like your Realpolitik attitude (“more power to the sexy girl garnering attention, or the rough girl destroying shins).  🙏🏽 

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7 minutes ago, Coach James Poidog said:

Right? Honestly, size difference is a real thing but it can be overcome. But it is funny when "they" say its no big deal but then go on to allow other similar limiters as serious problems. Many times I think the reason some of these limiters work is because people dont account for them in training. Ive been to many gyms that during sparring only have people of the same weight class match up. Coming from a traditional background, we never trained within weight classes, we just matched up with whoever, so we got to experience when techniques needed to be altered to account for your opponents size. A lot of techniques work on the surface, all things being equal, but fall short when used against a bigger opponent. Few then explore why. One of the things Ive always loved about the women that trained in the gyms I was at was their willingness and complete acceptance of training with consistently bigger/stronger partners. Funny thing is, it always made them better. Not just in general but specifically when they ended up with someone their own size and strength. It was kind of like weight training in that they adapted to the bigger/stronger and became something stronger themselves. I point out the women specifically because of the topic but also because there was never a complaint about it, it just was the way it was. 

I know you are responding to Kevin but I would add that as a student I’m super happy sparring with people bigger & heavier than me; My favorite person is 6’4” about 260.  He’s a pro and he schools me but it’s just, for me, delightful seeing the many ways he gets ahead of me.  I also trust him, not just because of skill but because I know 99% of the time he has to really cut down in his power to get any work (holding pads for him is like a metal concert, tooth-rattling; I love it).

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1 hour ago, LengLeng said:

Even among western fighter guy friends secrets are not shared.

Living with the same one gym over there pretty long term, this doesn't seem familiar. Apart from maybe like, 1 douchebag the entire time who was gone in a week, all the other foreign dudes were cool as fuck and hardworking and got friendly. All the politics and bullshit happened back home, and it was the best thing ever to leave all that behind.

 

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11 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the things that makes Muay Thai beautiful, and perhaps especially made for women. Thais are small, and in the conception of the art is the thought that it is made for the defeat of larger people. Which is kind of how it made me laugh when someone like Kenshin does breakdowns of Muay Thai fighters beating absolutel6 huge opponents, but then imagine that there are fundamental physical inequalities that categorically bar them from being able, to handle Male opponents. Yeah, 70 pound differences can be overcome...but "bone density"...hmmm

Bone density matters, and in terms of generating power it matters more than pounds of muscle, keep in mind that bone density disparity between men of different sizes isn't as big as you'd think for. Manny Pacquaio's got wrists the same size as Mike Tyson - it's all Tyson's muscle that makes him huge - not that he's inherently much more massive (he's a few inches taller, but less dense), and when it comes to generating force the size and density of your bones absolutely matters, it's why Pacquaio is still able to KO people 7 divisions higher than his original weight class, if he weren't going against a massive reach disadvantage he'd probably have the power to KO middleweights. 

I definitely agree though that Muay Thai is a sport where weight disparities don't matter, unless you are a 125er going against a 160lb guy then you're likely to have a hard time regardless. I think that's because Muay Thai, while no doubt a hard hitting sport, is a marathon, rather than a spring, with less emphasis on punches to the head and more on kicking the body. I think that approach to scoring makes it safer to be a smaller man, like Saenchai for example. His timing is so good that being at a kicking range doesn't hugely matter because he can get out of the way, stay on the end of his opponents kicks and fire back when the kick misses, but if you put Saenchai in a K1 match which favours aggression, a fast pace and more blows to the head and legs, and then he's fighting at that size disadvantage that he's usually comfortable with in Muay Thai, he's going to get mowed over. He wouldn't be dominating a Masato in the same way he can a 150lb thai boxer. 

There is certainly something about the rules and scoring culture of Muay Thai, that allows for those physical inequalities to be nullified somewhat in a way that doesn't exist in boxing, kickboxing or MMA.

 

Edited by AndyMaBobs
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5 hours ago, LengLeng said:

Apologies this might be slightly off topic. Not a coach, but a woman in a male space, and I reacted to this by Sylvie:

and disgusted with myself for having an automatic sense of competitiveness. Not competitiveness in the sporting sense, like how men might get to enjoy having a spar to see who's slicker, but competitiveness in the "there are limited social resources here and I now have to protect my hard-earned position" kind of competitiveness.Which is shit. Which is why you get women throwing each other under the bus to be teacher's-pet, or creating cliques when there are only 3 of us, or not being supportive despite there only being fucking 2 of us.

I completely understand where this is coming from, usually spots for women are limited and we all have to compete for that one spot above the glass ceiling. But I also find it unfair. I'm sorry to say, but not all women in a muay thai gyms are cool. There are various types, the hard worker, the one who flirts to get some teaching from the male trainer (no judgement it's an effective strategy), the super hard tough girl who talks to no one and will kick the shit out of your shins (understanding her too) or the "know it all" etc etc. The point is, usually guys have the luxury of having ten other guys as training partners to relate to and train with. Finding their favorite or the asshole they cannot stand. But as a woman you're expected to instantly connect with that other woman who shows up and if she's not cool, you're not being a good "sister". And that sucks. And it's simply the result from having too few other women to train with. And to me that's the most limiting factor being a woman training muay thai. The longing for a female partner to compete with and learn from and then handling the disappointment when she turns out to be not so cool. And that whole pressure of having to get along with a fellow muay ying and to not appear like that woman who likes to be the only woman in a male space.  

My SO has said similar things. There was a lady she used to train with, who would come in with her teenage daughter weekly. The Mum and Daughter didn't always get on and would end up kinda fighting in sparring class. She said that both of them had an attitude problem and after that would be trying to fight EVERYONE in the class in sparring. 

You get rough sparring sessions all the time, but with those two in particular it was toxic - which was a real shame because this was in a woman's only class where there are people who are specifically there to avoid that sort of pigheadedness. 

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7 hours ago, AndyMaBobs said:

My SO has said similar things. There was a lady she used to train with, who would come in with her teenage daughter weekly. The Mum and Daughter didn't always get on and would end up kinda fighting in sparring class. She said that both of them had an attitude problem and after that would be trying to fight EVERYONE in the class in sparring. 

You get rough sparring sessions all the time, but with those two in particular it was toxic - which was a real shame because this was in a woman's only class where there are people who are specifically there to avoid that sort of pigheadedness. 

Uuuh that sounds hectic. I feel that level of respect for each other has to go up in parallel to the hardness of sparring otherwise it gets so ugly and emotional affecting everyone. 

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10 hours ago, threeoaks said:

This is super NOT off topic.  It’s definitely a social condition of gym life.  I’ve been lucky to meet a free great, generous & skilled women, and I’ve met two who had it out for any women perceived to take coach attention from them. Sometimes it’s sexual,  sometimes it’s Daddy issues (both?).  But either way like you & Sylvie pointed out, it’s a side effect of scarcity.  I like your Realpolitik attitude (“more power to the sexy girl garnering attention, or the rough girl destroying shins).  🙏🏽 

Thank you! I've met most very lovely women (actually my favorite had just been training with Sylvie for a week and I can tell why Sylvie liked her) and then those who sort of directly want to dominate or compete with me or simply ignoring me only want to spar with the guys. It's annoying but also interesting to see what strategies are applied (Haha yes Realpolitik indeed).

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10 hours ago, Oliver said:

Living with the same one gym over there pretty long term, this doesn't seem familiar. Apart from maybe like, 1 douchebag the entire time who was gone in a week, all the other foreign dudes were cool as fuck and hardworking and got friendly. All the politics and bullshit happened back home, and it was the best thing ever to leave all that behind.

 

Oh nice to hear hope that's more representative :). About secrets not shared was told to me by a male fighter friend who explained certain clinch moves to me. He sort of expressed that actually he's not supposed to tell me all this, I'm supposed to figure out by myself. In the context of not being good sportsmanship. And this why even his western fighter friends wouldn't share (you learn the hard way sort of thing). Which led me to realise I've done so much thinking abt how it is for women in gym and sort of assumed all boys have this lovely bromance oiling each other up and all that, even though I've seen what's happening in sparring, I havent really contemplated too much about their internal politics. 

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22 hours ago, threeoaks said:

Jeremy.  The dread of paralysis, yet you train.  Absolutely inspirational, as is training when you know you are not the same athlete as before.  I experience this daily as a person who is no longer young, but was once an absolute grinder, more than anyone around me.  Much less difficult (aging is after all a privilege since the alternative is death).  But my competitiveness blurgh.. it requires constant simmering down.  Thanks for your example.

Thanks.😀. It's just the way I am. I really don't see anything special in it. I'd rather be in control of what I do than let any,"Maybe it might happen", control me. That isn't to say, I do things Willy Nilly. My left leg is compromised,  I still teep and check well with it, but body kicks are a definite no no. Sometimes even low kicks. I think this has lot to do with the hip rotation at impact. But then simple things, if I don't do them correctly can lay me up for a good stretch. It's funny but embarrassing, I got stuck on the toilet once because I turned to use the toilet paper instead of what I usually do and take the roll off the holder. 😂😂😂.

There's nothing wrong with competitiveness and the simmering down with age is a good. As we get older we get wiser, or so my grandma used to say. We just gotta train in a way that suits. Sometimes that more easily said than done, depending on one's nature. Me, I tend to obsess and this leads to mistakes, leads to injury which can lead to down time. I don't do down time real well.

 

Edited by Jeremy Stewart
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8 hours ago, LengLeng said:

I havent really contemplated too much about their internal politics. 

Only time this comes up is when you get a guy who's probably printing his own credit cards or some kinda scam back home. Got an apartment with 2 phone receivers on the floor duct-taped together upside down. Then comes to Bangkok and wants to be king of the white people. 

Actually, the not talking about techniques etc? Another thing that never occurred, because all the other foreigners didn't speak English. So we had google translate friendships mainly. 

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11 hours ago, Kaitlin Rose Young said:

Generally, it seems that women need to be convinced of their own power and men need to be convinced that they need to develop more. As in, men tend to assume they are more competent than they are and women tend to assume they are less competent than they are

This is a very cool nutshell which probably speaks to the motivations of each. I know we are talking extremely broadly, there are lots of men who feel insecure about their power, and maybe drawn to Muay Thai for that reason, but it seems that there still, even for them, is a general tide, a fabric in the culture that reflects an experience of powerlessness for women, and powerfulness for men. Sylvie may not be indicative of all women, or even most women, but I remember when she was taking Nihi Sobo's mental training course and one of the first mental exercises was to just unchain your mind and think of the most absurdly satisfying fantasy of what your life could be like. Like, off the charts "dream come true, beyond all dreams", no judgements. And honestly, Sylvie just couldn't access any of those ridiculously blown out visions the guys found so easy to dream up. As a woman - and probably for other reasons too - all these super-visioned, jacked up thoughts were like a different language. Of course thinking in those ways may not be the right or best way to go, but the very fact that they can sometimes be cut off from some women, that it's a mode of thought that is maybe discouraged, really has a discrete impact on female fighting.

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