Jump to content
Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

Discussing the New WBC Female Muay Thai Rankings

Recommended Posts

Let me just say, there has been perhaps no bigger setback for female Muay Thai than the lack of serious, regularly updated, multi-national, truly "world" level rankings. The WPMF site was trying hard many years ago, but it was drawing from a very small knowledge base, and it was practically impossible to keep up to date, especially given the shifting sands of Thailand's fighting. Lots of fighting. Finally they just gave up with the difficult endeavor. So the new WBC rankings are, right from the start, a huge leap for pretty much everyone. The weighing question really is, can it be kept up to date? Damn, I don't know. It's just a very difficult thing. But, this first release collection is amazingly good. Full of variety, coupled with strong and often suitable acknowledgement of Thai female talent.

I'd also say, one of the most important things about rankings isn't that you got it JUST right. It really should be about creating conversations and comparisons. Even debate and criticism. It's about getting people to not just care about the few fighters they know, but also other fighters. To familiarize oneself with the accomplishments of the many. Some of the discussion that follows is in that spirit. We don't have to get it right. Let's just keep it in the mix. But, let's also talk about getting it right too.

You can find the updated list on the WBC website here: Female Muay Thai WBC Rankings. But, I'll paste the rankings down below for convenience. If you have thoughts on who should be where, that's a cool thing, let's share.

545230202_WBCrankingsmini-flyweight.jpg.53ad3583307456c8e5c9d895f0cb12f8.jpg

1587559728_WBCfemalerankingslight-flyweight.jpg.b5821220665b1d3c8c9244ce9c27e2cd.jpg

1398102715_WBCfemalerankingsflyweight.jpg.a5bd48919553a71a0307edb2362c95b5.jpg

1525578865_WBCfemalerankingssuperflyweight.jpg.ec7471e3e0f7069c6782e7d7ef022cca.jpg

1438079857_WBCfemalerankingsbantamweight.jpg.ceb4cfa4f9b54a3ea8fab4aa4498cda1.jpg

1783138954_WBCfemalerankingssuperbantemweight.jpg.644c1a198625482d3d6149b575d1a4bd.jpg

1069648274_WBCfemalerankingsfeatherweight.jpg.c41b9f4e7299f417ef0c195b2ee248b4.jpg

267708537_WBCfemalerankingssuperfeatherweight.jpg.e5dbef3c578a4a274262345678d88c81.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Cool 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

. 1139523905_WBCrankingsmini-flyweight.jpg.4c28dc6415e008e26ff11368ffc2423c.jpg

Because we all come from this from our own little fishbowl - even though Sylvie's fishbowl is larger than many others, it's still a fishbowl - the most interesting thing to me is the 105 lb division. 105 is the lowest weight the WBC can go at this point, but several of the fighters there are actually 100 lb fighters properly. #1 Loma reigned as the best 100 lb fighter for many years. #2 Gulapdam, I believe, holds the 105 lb WPMF title, but she legit is more a 100 lb fighter. #3 Sylvie walks around lighter than 105 lb, and could fight below 100 lbs. #4 Faa Chiangrai definitely is a 100 lb fighter. #5 Duangdaonoi historically had been able to reach 100, I'm not sure about now. I don't know #6. It's safe to say, almost the entire ranked division is more a 100 lb division, which is pretty cool. That means that there is some serious 100 lb talent out there in the world.

As to the rankings themselves, there are a few question marks. The first of course is Loma, who definitely deserves the respect for her years of high level supremacy. She was unequaled. But...she doesn't seem to be fighting Muay Thai any longer. Her last big fight, that I recall, was a disappointing loss in an early round at IFMA, but most importantly, she says she walks around now at around 57 kg (125 lbs), and has expressed an earnest desire to put on even more weight. She's had to almost entirely change her body just so she can compete at UFC straw weight, which has some VERY big fighters. She really, as a fighter, isn't close to being able to compete in her former stomping grounds. And, given that her career path is in MMA, she really lacks financial incentive to do so. This isn't something to hold against her. But...how long would she properly be thought of as a 105 lb fighter? It might be better to think of her as one of the best 112 lb Muay Thai fighters in the world? Maybe at some point. Be that as it may, her beautiful superiority at 100 lbs for so long really does grant her leeway in this. She deserves to start out as Queen on top. How long she remains there in an up to date ranking is another question.

As to #2 Gulapdam, the only quibble I would have is that the one time Gulapdam and Sylvie fought, a few years ago, Sylvie really owned that fight in a pretty distinct way (TKO, if I recall, with Gulapdam's corner throwing in the towel). So clear was the win that we really got the sense that a rematch wasn't something of interest at all to her camp. After that fight whenever a match up with her representative in the North was booked it wasn't Gulapdam who Sylvie faced, but rather the much larger and super skilled Thanonchanok (#3 at 112, above). it's actually a really good tough match up. Sylvie at 100 lbs was being booked vs a 112 lb champion, instead of the more natural 100 lb Gulapdam, by the gym that handled both fighters. You can see Sylvie pretty much overwhelming Gulapdam, a couple of years ago, here (Sylvie Petchrungruang vs Kulapdam Por Muangphet). No doubt both fighters have improved since then. I'll also say that Gulapdam is one of Sylvie's favorite fighters, and a really under recognized talent. It is very cool for her to be up at #2, I'm pretty happy with that.

As to #3, Sylvie. Well, it's Sylvie. I'm always of two minds on Sylvie in rankings. I'd prefer, all things being equal, for Sylvie just not be in the rankings. I like her to be an underground fighter because her progress is one of those incredible slow burns. And being ignored or underhyped actually is what is best for the long term process. Hyped fighters end up not fighting very frequently at all in Thailand. On the other hand, just thinking about Sylvie's position in the 105 lb rankings, making her case, something has to be said about all of her success fighting WAY up in weight, in fact multiple weight classes up, something no one does to the degree that she does. Point in fact, the WBC #1 ranked 112 lb fighter Pornphan, who is tearing up Thailand right now, lost to Sylvie about 2 months ago. You can see that fight below:

So you have the #3 ranked WBC 105 lb fighter beating the #1 ranked 112 lb fighter It was a close fight, and little publicized, but damn. Going up two weight classes to fight the best there, and winning, that's a notch in your belt, especially as a 100 lb fighter. This being said, Pornphan an awesome fighter, and huge props to the WBC for recognizing a rising talent like her. These are exactly the kinds of Thai fighters that are hard to pick up on your radar, from afar. In Thailand fighters like this just shoot up. Extremely complete fighters, full of experience and skill at every range. Sylvie's a difficult fighter to rank at 105 because she's had so much success fighting up. She pretty much controlled the currently ranked #2 fighter at 108 lbs, Rungnapa, when they fought a series of fights a few years ago, beating her 3 of 4 times despite giving up the weight. Sylvie's has beat the much respected #3 ranked 112 lb fighter Thanonchanok twice, once just 6 weeks before Thanonchanok flew to Japan to win a World Title, despite the weight (though Sylvie has lost the series between them). And she fought Wondergirl Fairtex, the #1 115 lb fighter in the rankings, in a very close fight that many in attendance thought Sylvie had won. You can see that fight here: Sylvie Petchrungruang vs Wondergirl Fairtex. Notably, Faa Chiang Rai ended up beating Wondergirl in that tournament, also giving up big weight. What is insane about Sylvie is how much she's fought the top fighters in weight classes so far above her, all the way up to ranked 118 lb fighters. 

#4 Faa Chiangrai. Yes, just a wonderful fighter. Sylvie and she have faced off several times. Sylvie took the edge beating her 3x in a month, and winning the Northern 105 lb belt in her hometown of Chiang Rai a few years ago. But...she has really improved, and has frankly been on the short end of some high profile international fights. She deserved to win vs Saya Ito for the 100 lb WPMF belt (I believe), and was kind of hometowned in that fight. She properly is a world champion, maybe several times over.

#5 Duangdaonoi. Properly recognized. She too could probably fight at 100 lbs. Had a rough time defending her WPMF 105 lb belt in Japan where she was just overmatched in size, a few years ago. Has had some success in boxing. I believe won a title. Sylvie and she had a very memorable fight a few years ago. Sylvie kind of ragdolled her, winning, but Duangdaonoi opened up a huge cut on Sylvie in a very bloody end.

#6 Saray Medina. We live in Thailand so haven't been as exposed to western fighters at this weight. I'm not familiar, so this is really on my ignorance.

maybe the Belarusian fighter Alena Liashkevitch who has beaten Loma in IFMAs at 45 kg deserves to be on the list...if she is still fighting?

  • Like 4
  • Cool 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Janet Todd just "beat" Stamp Fairtex too although I reckon there is a lot of controversy about that (scoring looks weird).  One Championships.  Thanks for this, Kevin!  Super interesting and congratulations to Sylvie although it sounds like she belongs on the list in a few classes!

  • Like 1
  • Cool 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other interesting, or possibly questioned rankings are Lommanee at #1 at 108 lbs. I've ranked Lommannee very high, as high as being possibly the best in the world,, at some point. But she had a huge showdown fight vs Amy Pirnie, and lost. And then fought a kickboxing fight in Japan against someone distinctly smaller, and only came away with a draw. She hasn't had a big win against elite talent in a long while, so it is is maybe hard to put her at #1. This being said, she, like Loma, has been the Queen of her weight class for a long time, so maybe deserves to start out there.

Also, poor Amy Pirnie. She beat Lommanee in a big fight and kind of didn't get a lot of recognition for it. She has such explosive, beautiful Muay, but is only ranked #4 at 112 lbs. If I had to put my money down, I might take Amy against anyone in that division.

I LOVE seeing Dokmaibaa ranked #2 at 118 lbs. It's just amazing to see a talent like her recognized. And it's very cool to see Alma at #3 right behind her. That would just be a great fight to see right now. Two female fighters as good as you might want, right next to each other in the rankings.

  • Like 2
  • Cool 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, threeoaks said:

Janet Todd just "beat" Stamp Fairtex too although I reckon there is a lot of controversy about that (scoring looks weird). 

Yeah, but it was a kickboxing rules fight. Stamp won the Muay Thai matchup, so it makes sense that she would have the edge - though ONE judging is wonk in general it seems, so I never know how to take those fights.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Yeah, but it kickboxing rules fight. Stamp won the Muay Thai matchup, so it makes sense that she would have the edge - though ONE judging is wonk in general it seems, so I never know how to take those fights.

Oh ew kickboxing rules.  

  • hahaha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I LOVE seeing Dokmaibaa ranked #2 at 118 lbs. It's just amazing to see a talent like her recognized. And it's very cool to see Alma at #3 right behind her. That would just be a great fight to see right now. Two female fighters as good as you might want, right next to each other in the rankings.

I second this! Dokmaibaa has been tearing it up for a long time and it's cool to see her up there. She's a favourite of mine.

I have to admit, it was hard for me to be excited about the announcement of these rankings. My reaction was 'well, this should have been done years ago'. It was less of a 'wow, this is so amazing' and more of a 'well, obviously'. This shouldn't be groundbreaking. But, I do appreciate that took a huge amount of work to put together, and I'm glad it's finally been done. I hope it goes on to be updated regularly. 

  • Like 2
  • Gamma 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, emma said:

I hope it goes on to be updated regularly. 

That is going to be the bloody-hell hard part. There are just so many rates of change. And information funnels through very specific channels (how could it not). I can't imagine the process that could keep this updated across continents, but damn it's impressive that they are trying. I was a pretty big fan of the lower-weight WPMF rankings, until I realized that they just adjusted the top fighters when there was a fight for a belt, and left the rest unchanged, like forever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/4/2020 at 7:36 PM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

That is going to be the bloody-hell hard part. There are just so many rates of change. And information funnels through very specific channels (how could it not). I can't imagine the process that could keep this updated across continents, but damn it's impressive that they are trying. I was a pretty big fan of the lower-weight WPMF rankings, until I realized that they just adjusted the top fighters when there was a fight for a belt, and left the rest unchanged, like forever.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

About Saray Medina, since Im Spanish lol. She is very experienced and her big achievement was an IFMA world championship silver medal but in 2014. She fights but just in Spain and not regularly. Actually, she is one of the Spanish team coaches, I consider her more a coach than a fighter. On the other hand, any thoughts about bantamweight and featherweight, Kevin? Dont know, Chomanee and Sawsing... 5 & 4 🤨 Thanks!

P.D. Im glad for the ranking anyways! Lets hope it changes when fighters fight 😉

  • Like 1
  • Cool 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, RamónRivera said:

About Saray Medina, since Im Spanish lol. She is very experienced and her big achievement was an IFMA world championship silver medal but in 2014. She fights but just in Spain and not regularly. Actually, she is one of the Spanish team coaches, I consider her more a coach than a fighter.

Wow, thanks for the fill in! Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Seems like they peppered in some notable names from the past in some of these divisions, which I suppose is to be expected when a ranking first begins.

2 hours ago, RamónRivera said:

any thoughts about bantamweight and featherweight, Kevin?

1388061857_WBCfemalerankingsbantamweight.jpg.2f1f8923954e4c178f3d231aca2a6bce.jpg

This is a hard division. Sofia is definitely a top fighter on anyone's P4P list. So yes. And I've mentioned my appreciation for Dokmaibaa and Alma. Zaza, honestly, is just a big name from the distant past. She hasn't beaten anyone top ranked, who actually weighs the same, in a very, very long time, as as I know. You can see in this fight between her in Alma 1.5 years ago the huge distance between them in skill and readiness (watch it here):

Zaza is much more a "name" that derived from her attractiveness and her early World Title at the age of 14, a long time ago. It's just my opinion, she's a tough fighter, but isn't really a World Class fighter at this weight. She also lost to a much, much smaller Lisa Brierly who is ranked #3 at only 49 kg, several weight classes down. Hey, every ranking probably needs names and figures, and given that the rankings for this division have a vacant spot, maybe they were happy to put her on there.

As to Chommanee? Oi. Literally one of the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world a few years ago, had mixed success in Glory kickboxing. But the real truth about her is that she probably hardly trains. I mean, she likely trains before fights, but I think she's just one of these very top Thais who really does not stay in regular training. It's one of the hardest things of ranking top Thai fighters. In terms of talent and skill, they are 9s or 10s. In terms of calluses and fight-shape, sometimes 3s or 4s. They've been fighting since they are like 8 years old, so it is in a way understandable that their drive into their mid-twenties just isn't the same. I mean, she deserves to be ranked, but who knows how much.

1183969601_WBCfemalerankingsfeatherweight.jpg.e03769fcffa84b9dfac304b23373e70c.jpg

I just don't know the European fighters high up on the Featherweight list. Sawsing is caught somewhat in the same boat as Chommanee. I means, she's much more fight ready since she's taken on the Superchamp promotion responsibilities in Thailand, and of course beautifully skilled from years of competition, but it's unclear if she's growing as a fighter. I'm ok with her at #4, though if she were fighting a lot, and in the gym all the time, I could see her beating anyone in her weight class in full rules Muay Thai, in the world. She really is an excellent fighter.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These rankings are really cool and inspiring to see! I've been trying to follow more female fighters and pay attention to those fight circuits, but being able to break them down by specific weight classes and a general top 6 is so helpful! It gives me something to work towards. I mean, I don't think I'd ever rank that high but just knowing which fighters are considered the top of my weight class is so awesome. Representation matters. Now there's this concrete thing in my head, like "if I want to be the best, I have to be [insert ranked fighter] good!"

And although you've already mentioned it, Kevin, I had the same thoughts about Loma being #1 in her class. Your insight on the matter helped add perspective, and I do agree that she deserves to start there...but don't think she should stay.

After reading your thoughts about the various fighters Sylvie has faced...do you think there should (or could) be a general, non-weight restrictive ranking? Or would that be too hard to quantify because of various weight, skill, and experience factors?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, QueenOfHell said:

After reading your thoughts about the various fighters Sylvie has faced...do you think there should (or could) be a general, non-weight restrictive ranking?

I mean, orgs sometimes make p4p rankings to generate excitement, so I guess there could be that, but that is not necessary. But in Sylvie's case, if you have beaten the #1 ranked fighter 2 weight classes up, you probably shouldn't be ranked #3 in your own weight class... Being able to beat bigger, ranked opponents is a sign of skill and dominance. I don't really blame the WBC though, it's almost impossible to keep track of so many fights. I'm sure nobody knew that she had beaten the #2 fighter in her own division either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Most Recent Topics

  • Latest Comments

    • Two things may have persisted through all these years. Sylvie just has always patchworked her training approach. At the time of the the first video she's taking the train down from Fort Montgomery where we lived in a little rented house next to a National Park, to train in Manhattan. We were just piecing training together because there was no real path to where she wanted to get as a fighter, no "Point A to point B, just do all the work, listen to all the right people and you'll get there" path. 11 years on we are in the exact same place. There is no point A to point B path. She's much, much further down a path of her own invention, to be sure, tinkering steps forward up a rock wall, but everything unstable that she faced 11 years ago is still right there. She's training sometimes at her old gym, sometimes alone working on self-curation, daily in sparring at another gym, privately with Yodkhunpon, and all the intermittent training in filming legends and great krus in the Library. But, from at least my perception, nothing has changed at all in this. She is not being carried by a process, or by powerful others, and in this sense is exposed. There is no safe port. And because her process involves sharing her flaws with others - unlike every other fighter I've ever seen, where it is regular to hide your flaw and amplify your best qualities - this exposure is hard to carry. The other aspect that has persisted is that because she's a true disruptor in the sport, doing things outside of the expectations and ways of others who are invested quite differently, there is a constant social current she is swimming against. In the first video she's talking about YouTube criticism, but more this is just push back against who she is. So many have come to support her over the last decade, and lent their voices & resources to make the path possible, but still there is, and may always be a detractor audience, which in part comes from the fact that she's still doing things that nobody else does. In the second vlog she's matured into her place in the sport, taken root in herself...to some small degree, but personally the same pressures of resistance press upon her. The road is no easier at this point, than it was 11 years ago. In fact in many ways its even more difficult...but, what has changed and deepened is the richness of what she has built up inside, with 268 fights and a decade of sharing her flaws with others for over a decade. She has more substance and standing and belief in what she is doing. This is what I see.
    • The above video is from almost 11 years ago. Sylvie is up the Hudson River where we lived, taking the train down to NYC to train in a Muay Thai gym in the city, more than an hour away from the small town we made our home. This video just gives me quiet tears, hearing her sincerity in response to some pretty harsh commentary coming through YouTube. One of the things Sylvie was exposed to was, from the beginning, being an outsider to "Muay Thai" proper. She was training with a 70 year old man in his basement in New Jersey, an hour and a half's drive away. She was putting up videos of her training because there was nobody like Master K, her first instructor, online anywhere. There was pretty much nothing of "Thai" Muay Thai online. A small community of interested people grew around her channel, but also came the criticism. From the beginning there was a who-do-you-think-you-are tone from many. You can hear it in her voice. She doesn't think she is anyone. She just loves Muay Thai. She's the girl who loves Muay Thai. I cry in part because many of the themes in this video are actually still operating today. She's a huge name in the sport, but personally she is really still just the girl who loves Muay Thai, who takes the alternate path, doesn't ride with gyms, doesn't care about belts, doesn't want to fight Westernized Muay Thai. She's burned a path into Thailand's Muay Thai for many, but she's just replaced Master K - who to this day loves Muay Thai as much as anyone we've ever, ever met, with the possible exception of Dieselnoi - with legends of the sport. Karuhat, Dieselnoi, Yodkhunpon, Samson, Sagat. These are her fight family. And the same quiver is in her voice when she thinks about, actually yearns for, their muay. Wanting to be a part of it, to express it. From someone on the inside, it's just striking how little of this has changed, though like a spiral it has been every climbing higher, towards more ratified and accomplished feat, many of them feats that nobody will duplicate...simply because she's just The Girl Who Loves Muay Thai, and is taking the alternate path. She's running through the foothills of Thailand's greatness. And like then, when people in Muay Thai criticized her, today she has the same. The same unbelievers. And it's as pained today as it was on this day in the video. What's remarkable about her journey is that it necessarily has involved sharing, exposing, all of her flaws to everyone. She's likely the most documented fighter in history. We've put up video of every single fight and probably a 1,000 of hours of training. She has lived herself as exposed to everyone, as much as a fighter can be. What I'm amazed by, watching this 11 years on, is her equipoise, her balance in holding the harshness of others, and her lack of ego in all that she was doing. One of the most difficult things she's encountered in developing as a fighter, reaching for the muay of yodmuay, is actually developing an ego, a pride or dignity, which is defended not only in the ring, but also in Life. How does one get from the above, to where one needs to be as a fighter? What internal transformations have to occur? I happened upon the above video today, the same day Sylvie posted a new vlog talking about her experiences in training with some IFMA team teens at her gym. She was reflecting on how many of the lessons of growth she had not been ready for as a person years ago, especially lessons about frustration and even anger. You can hear the frustration in the video at the top. Mostly it falls behind a "I mean no harm" confession. She's just loving Muay Thai and sharing it. The impulse of those shared early videos of Master K eventually became the Muay Thai Library documentary project, likely the largest, most thorough documentation archive of a fighting art in history of the world. It's the same person doing the same thing. Even to this day, nothing of this has changed. But, what has changed is the depth of her experience, in over a decade of love for the sport, and in fighting an incredible 268 fights, and counting. Take a look at the vlog she put up today, and see what has changed. From the above has come one of the most impactful western Muay Thai fighters in history, both as a person and as a fighter. And the mountain is still being climbed:    
    • What is interesting about this is that it is one of the few steps taken at the New New Lumpinee which doesn't seem like a bend toward Western (or Internationalist) ideas and instead is broadly in support of the ecosystem which has produced Thailand kaimuay Muay Thai superiority for decades. Modernist views are against children or early youth full contact fighting, but in this case Lumpinee is lending its name to younger fighters, in hopes of developing stars and their following much earlier in their lives. No matter what one thinks of child fighting in Thailand its a fundamental part of why Thais fight like no other people in the world, just in terms of skill. Interesting to see Lumpinee leaning into something there has been pushback on.
  • The Latest From Open Topics Forum

    • Two things may have persisted through all these years. Sylvie just has always patchworked her training approach. At the time of the the first video she's taking the train down from Fort Montgomery where we lived in a little rented house next to a National Park, to train in Manhattan. We were just piecing training together because there was no real path to where she wanted to get as a fighter, no "Point A to point B, just do all the work, listen to all the right people and you'll get there" path. 11 years on we are in the exact same place. There is no point A to point B path. She's much, much further down a path of her own invention, to be sure, tinkering steps forward up a rock wall, but everything unstable that she faced 11 years ago is still right there. She's training sometimes at her old gym, sometimes alone working on self-curation, daily in sparring at another gym, privately with Yodkhunpon, and all the intermittent training in filming legends and great krus in the Library. But, from at least my perception, nothing has changed at all in this. She is not being carried by a process, or by powerful others, and in this sense is exposed. There is no safe port. And because her process involves sharing her flaws with others - unlike every other fighter I've ever seen, where it is regular to hide your flaw and amplify your best qualities - this exposure is hard to carry. The other aspect that has persisted is that because she's a true disruptor in the sport, doing things outside of the expectations and ways of others who are invested quite differently, there is a constant social current she is swimming against. In the first video she's talking about YouTube criticism, but more this is just push back against who she is. So many have come to support her over the last decade, and lent their voices & resources to make the path possible, but still there is, and may always be a detractor audience, which in part comes from the fact that she's still doing things that nobody else does. In the second vlog she's matured into her place in the sport, taken root in herself...to some small degree, but personally the same pressures of resistance press upon her. The road is no easier at this point, than it was 11 years ago. In fact in many ways its even more difficult...but, what has changed and deepened is the richness of what she has built up inside, with 268 fights and a decade of sharing her flaws with others for over a decade. She has more substance and standing and belief in what she is doing. This is what I see.
    • The above video is from almost 11 years ago. Sylvie is up the Hudson River where we lived, taking the train down to NYC to train in a Muay Thai gym in the city, more than an hour away from the small town we made our home. This video just gives me quiet tears, hearing her sincerity in response to some pretty harsh commentary coming through YouTube. One of the things Sylvie was exposed to was, from the beginning, being an outsider to "Muay Thai" proper. She was training with a 70 year old man in his basement in New Jersey, an hour and a half's drive away. She was putting up videos of her training because there was nobody like Master K, her first instructor, online anywhere. There was pretty much nothing of "Thai" Muay Thai online. A small community of interested people grew around her channel, but also came the criticism. From the beginning there was a who-do-you-think-you-are tone from many. You can hear it in her voice. She doesn't think she is anyone. She just loves Muay Thai. She's the girl who loves Muay Thai. I cry in part because many of the themes in this video are actually still operating today. She's a huge name in the sport, but personally she is really still just the girl who loves Muay Thai, who takes the alternate path, doesn't ride with gyms, doesn't care about belts, doesn't want to fight Westernized Muay Thai. She's burned a path into Thailand's Muay Thai for many, but she's just replaced Master K - who to this day loves Muay Thai as much as anyone we've ever, ever met, with the possible exception of Dieselnoi - with legends of the sport. Karuhat, Dieselnoi, Yodkhunpon, Samson, Sagat. These are her fight family. And the same quiver is in her voice when she thinks about, actually yearns for, their muay. Wanting to be a part of it, to express it. From someone on the inside, it's just striking how little of this has changed, though like a spiral it has been every climbing higher, towards more ratified and accomplished feat, many of them feats that nobody will duplicate...simply because she's just The Girl Who Loves Muay Thai, and is taking the alternate path. She's running through the foothills of Thailand's greatness. And like then, when people in Muay Thai criticized her, today she has the same. The same unbelievers. And it's as pained today as it was on this day in the video. What's remarkable about her journey is that it necessarily has involved sharing, exposing, all of her flaws to everyone. She's likely the most documented fighter in history. We've put up video of every single fight and probably a 1,000 of hours of training. She has lived herself as exposed to everyone, as much as a fighter can be. What I'm amazed by, watching this 11 years on, is her equipoise, her balance in holding the harshness of others, and her lack of ego in all that she was doing. One of the most difficult things she's encountered in developing as a fighter, reaching for the muay of yodmuay, is actually developing an ego, a pride or dignity, which is defended not only in the ring, but also in Life. How does one get from the above, to where one needs to be as a fighter? What internal transformations have to occur? I happened upon the above video today, the same day Sylvie posted a new vlog talking about her experiences in training with some IFMA team teens at her gym. She was reflecting on how many of the lessons of growth she had not been ready for as a person years ago, especially lessons about frustration and even anger. You can hear the frustration in the video at the top. Mostly it falls behind a "I mean no harm" confession. She's just loving Muay Thai and sharing it. The impulse of those shared early videos of Master K eventually became the Muay Thai Library documentary project, likely the largest, most thorough documentation archive of a fighting art in history of the world. It's the same person doing the same thing. Even to this day, nothing of this has changed. But, what has changed is the depth of her experience, in over a decade of love for the sport, and in fighting an incredible 268 fights, and counting. Take a look at the vlog she put up today, and see what has changed. From the above has come one of the most impactful western Muay Thai fighters in history, both as a person and as a fighter. And the mountain is still being climbed:    
    • What is interesting about this is that it is one of the few steps taken at the New New Lumpinee which doesn't seem like a bend toward Western (or Internationalist) ideas and instead is broadly in support of the ecosystem which has produced Thailand kaimuay Muay Thai superiority for decades. Modernist views are against children or early youth full contact fighting, but in this case Lumpinee is lending its name to younger fighters, in hopes of developing stars and their following much earlier in their lives. No matter what one thinks of child fighting in Thailand its a fundamental part of why Thais fight like no other people in the world, just in terms of skill. Interesting to see Lumpinee leaning into something there has been pushback on.
    • Last week (or so) a video went "viral" on Thai social media. It was a scrappy street fight between a young kathoey (generally used for male to female Trans, but less frequently used also for female to male) protecting herself from a local, cis male bully. Nong Ping is the young Trans woman and in the video, shot by a bystander on their phone, and she absolutely goes to town on this bully. In the end the bully is standing, panting, tired, and nose dripping from his nose. After this video got so widely shared, Nong Toom - "The Beautiful Boxer," and the most famous kathoey celebrity and former Muay Thai fighter - took Nong Ping in under her wing. Nong Toom has had the young woman staying with her and has begun training her in Muay Thai, saying she already has heart and now just has to learn the skill. Nong Toom even accompanied Nong Ping on a TV show that is more or less a platform for guests to air out their grievances and settle disputes (Sia Boat and his fighter who has been charged with throwing a fight for money appeared on the show a month or so back). Nong Ping and her bully appeared on the show with the host, and Nong Toom at the table as well to educate this bully and the public. Here are some photos of Nong Ping. The first is a screenshot from the street fight, the remainder are those posted by Nong Toom as Nong Ping is a guest in her house. Nong Toom says she believes Nong Ping will have the opportunity to have a professional fight after she's been training for a bit. (As per Thailand's laws, Nong Ping will face either a cis male or another kathoey.)   For the latest Thailand Muay Thai News Updates check out our Muay Thai Bones Newsletter
    • No worries!! There are still some peeps Who'll keep stood up for it!!
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      1.1k
    • Total Posts
      10.1k
×
×
  • Create New...