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Muay Lertrit Diaries - Coming to Thailand To Train in Traditional Military Muay Thai


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Hi Tim 😀 Don't get too anxious, just make it on that flight. You've got a battle buddy here now! I'm gonna be out there training with you and I've been living in Bangkok off and on for the last 4 years so. If you need anything at all please feel free to message me here, LINE (tylerbyers1 is my ID), or on Facebook and we'll get you sorted out. I went out last weekend and trained with the General during the seniors class, it was a total blast! Everyone there is super friendly and helpful. I had a bunch of older Thai folks coming around correcting my form as the General expects students to teach everything they have been learning. It's a wonderful philosophy for creating a good learning environment and I think we are going to have a lot of fun. I've taken the next month off school so I've got a lot of free time on my hands. Let me know where you are going to be staying and I can do some prep work to make sure you've got everything you need (i.e. mass travel info, where to get groceries/food, cheap massage, etc.).

I look forward to meeting you soon, have a safe flight.

- Tyler

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On 6/24/2019 at 12:20 PM, AndyMaBobs said:

I've been waiting for this! Looking forward to reading it. Feel free to delete this post if it's only meant for your updates!

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm, hope I meet your expectations!

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I'm sure you will do fine. I'm also really looking forward to following your progress with this, and like Kevin said, look at it like a conversation rather than writing a post to update people on your progress. 

You would be surprised how much you could Yammer on in a conversation if it was actually typed out 🙂

There is no right or wrong thing to say, and you will have a whole community of people behind you who believe in your ability 100% 

Most of all, have fun with it. It will definitely be an experience you will look back on with fond memories 🙂

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On 6/25/2019 at 1:33 PM, guyver4 said:

I'm sure you will do fine. I'm also really looking forward to following your progress with this, and like Kevin said, look at it like a conversation rather than writing a post to update people on your progress. 

You would be surprised how much you could Yammer on in a conversation if it was actually typed out 🙂

There is no right or wrong thing to say, and you will have a whole community of people behind you who believe in your ability 100% 

Most of all, have fun with it. It will definitely be an experience you will look back on with fond memories 🙂

Thank you so much for the encouragement! Please keep it coming!

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3 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

We visited the General and Timothy today to drop off a tripod and a phone for hotspotting (with the help of our patrons). A photo taken of the General demonstrating, with Timothy looking on:

General Tunkawom - Timothy Looking On.jpg

The general looking as focused and animated as ever. Can't wait for this series 🙂

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1. Breath

2. Use the waist

3. Transfer weight 

 

The General says this is what he must get me to do before I go or if I am going to teach effectively. These task are deceptively difficult, especially the breathing. It’s not that these are new concepts to me; it’s the way in which the General ask you to use and do them. There is a beautiful subtlety to the way he does them which is obviously the product of how long he as been doing it.

 

1. Breathing - I’m very aware of my breathing. I thought I did it quite well. There are breathing exercises I preform with some regularity and I when I roll jiujitsu I take a lot of pride in using my breath effetely. However, the General’s specific breathing strategy is proving to be tricky. The general emphasizes his breaths at almost opposite points then I’m used to. They’re shorter and the exhales come on the recoil of the punch - rather than at the impact of the strike.

 

2. Use the waist - If anything the General asks me to do that seems “new”, it’s the way he uses his waist. I’ve understood and even taught my own students the importance of turning the hips during a kick or punch, but I’ve always started this movement from the feet. The feet push through the ground first and the hips turn second. Rather, the General says the power comes from the waist (and the transfer of weight). During our lesson today, it was noted that often it’s the legs or the arms which turn the waist, which is not good according to the General. Rather the waist moves first, and then the arms and legs will follow. 

 

3. Transfer weight - This is by far the most beautiful thing the General does. There is an effortless transfer in his body weight as he strikes. The only other shift in body weight I can compare it to, is ballet. I took ballet a few years ago, and it’s by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There is no jerk or dramatic shift as the General moves. The only indication is a slight lift on his heals. It’s not a push off the ground like I’m used to. It’s a shift of his weight from one leg to the other. 

 

The General likes to say, “it’s the same, but different”. He usually prefaces with asking me if I know what he showing me. This is my least favorite question, in any art. I don’t think I KNOW anything. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve practiced a lot, but knowing is something different. So when the General ask me if I know something, I try to respond with something like, “similar”. The General will smile and say, “it’s the same, but different”. This phrase is bigger than just our training, it actually encompasses my outlook on this trip. I’ve been to a few places. All over California, a tour through Europe, and now Bangkok of course. There are elements to each city that are always similar. There is crime, there are high rises, there is good food and bad; and so on and so forth. But each city has it’s own style, its thing which makes it unique. Bangkok is the same as any other city I’ve been to, BUT absolutely different (in the best possible way). Lertrit is the martial manifestation of Bangkok, if you will. It can look just like sport Muay Thai, but it is very different. There are subtleties which go almost unnoticed if they aren’t pointed out. But they make the world of difference.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone offering their support and encouragement!

tm

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Of the 4-5 times I've watched Sylvie's session with General Tunwakum, 2 things become especially clear in the Lertrit style. Breathing, and how you use your hips. I did notice the Generals feet the last couple of times I watched, and it's exactly like Sylvie's catchphrase... "So beautiful".

At the same time, you can see how quintessential these points are in its effectiveness. I.e. every attack is 100% economical, and is fundamentally developed to end a fight.

Can't wait to see more of this. Keep up the hard work 👍

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1 hour ago, Tim Macias said:

2. Use the waist - If anything the General asks me to do that seems “new”, it’s the way he uses his waist. I’ve understood and even taught my own students the importance of turning the hips during a kick or punch, but I’ve always started this movement from the feet. The feet push through the ground first and the hips turn second. Rather, the General says the power comes from the waist (and the transfer of weight). During our lesson today, it was noted that often it’s the legs or the arms which turn the waist, which is not good according to the General. Rather the waist moves first, and then the arms and legs will follow. 

Incredible. It must be the feeling he has.

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12 hours ago, Tim Macias said:

This is my least favorite question, in any art. I don’t think I KNOW anything. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve practiced a lot, but knowing is something different.

Love this thought chain.

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19 hours ago, Tim Macias said:

1. Breath

2. Use the waist

3. Transfer weight 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone offering their support and encouragement!

tm

I love your write up. Something that I see when I watch his waist is how his knees bend. They don't bend like a soccer or tennis player, they don't even bend like any other martial arts that I've seen, but they bend like a Golf swing. Keep in mind, I've never played golf in my life and I'm not truly adroit at watching it, but the twist, to me, looks like golf. 

The first thing I noted when walking into the room yesterday and sitting behind you was your breathing. I smiled and pointed it out to the General, I said, "he remembers to breathe... not like me." Even being able to hear it is more "right" than you can imagine. But your observation of the subtle differences means you do, actually, know what he's talking about more than you might give yourself credit for. I reckon his question to you about whether you know what he's talking about is actually if you know where to look, or what aspect he's picking on. I watch my trainer Kru Nu show someone a punch and they stare at his fist. It makes no sense. They're not looking anywhere near where the important part is. 

His balance is just like he's from another planet. He never, ever draws outside the lines, so to speak. He never breaks his frame. He never leans or bends. I thought Sagat had pretty incredible ability for maximum efficiency out of minimum movement... but the General even complained that Sagat couldn't do his uppercut right. Hahahaha.

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13 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

They don't bend like a soccer or tennis player, they don't even bend like any other martial arts that I've seen, but they bend like a Golf swing.

That's actually exactly how he described it to us lol. I've really been trying to pay attention to the direction and lines that his knees go in as he moves, the economy of movement as a whole is incredible. 

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16 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

the twist, to me, looks like golf. 

Just like Tyler said, he talks about golf often. He uses the same analogy when talking about weight transfer too. Yesterday he was evening using Tiger Woods as an example.

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The first batch of documenting videos are in from Timothy who is running the GoPro during his sessions. This is just going to be raw video, so that over time the methods and techniques of early teaching are at least recorded. You can look at his field notes for insight into what the General is looking for, and what Timothy is focusing on. Feel free to shoot Timothy questions in the thread too:

Day 1:

 

 

 

 

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Day 2:

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all our patrons that are helping make this archival project possible. If you aren't a patron yet you can easily become one: patreon.com/sylviemuay

If you have plans to be in Bangkok you can also train with the General, and help in your own way to preserve Muay Lertrit. You can arrange to train with the General through the World Muaythai Alliance Association.

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Hey Tim. Great work with this! I've only managed to watch the day one clips so far but wanted to comment on an observation I made in the tail end of day1b and through day1c while it was fresh in my memory.

With the punch you were working on, you are engaging your shoulder in the offset which is retracting from the movement of the hips. When you watch it back you will see it, but the moment your shoulder engages, your elbow comes out and away from your hips.

Another good example of this type of movement, if you have access to the Patreon Muay Thai Library, is Sylvie's session with Sagat, in particular when he is demonstrating his uppercut to the stomach. Your elbow stays almost flush to your hip and just tracks it, and it's the momentum of the hip which propels the punch out, which barely engages the deltoid and the bicep, and allows the tricep to accelerate the punch. Maybe try just tracking your hip with your elbow, to give yourself a feel for the movement, then allow the strike to come after?

Also, the footwork, and change in guard you were doing through the first video was beautiful. I noticed you getting frustrated at times, but just give it time, it's something that will come with practice, and probably from having to un-learn old habits.

Awesome start to the project. Looking forward to more.

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