Jump to content
Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

What REALLY Made Samart Special...He Fought in Cowboy Time in the Age of Hard Men

Recommended Posts

I've been reflecting on the untouchable aura of Samart, on what made him like no other fighter, & I return to something Yodkhunpon said. He was talking about the fighters b4 the Golden Age. The Silver Age, or what might be called Cowboy Time. We showed him a fight between Thongbai & Adul. Thongbai was ripping low kicks endlessly. He said: In that Time u could fight like that. In my time the fighters would move [and he gestured that they would move like the wind, they would just be gone]. He then showed how the men of the past were HARD The Time before the Golden Age was Cowboy Time. The men had a made-in-stone toughness, I suspect. In the way that you might talk about your grandfather who had brick hands. This is just my working theory, but I think what made Samart like no other wasn't only his muay, but it was his time in history. He actually fought his last stadium fight before the 1990s, when the Golden Age wld b peaking. But, what he did was he bridged Cowboy Time with the Age of Femeu. He was the first to move like that, to dance, coming out of the Time of Hard Men. Perhaps just as Babe Ruth was the greatest Home run hitter of All Time because he was the first to really hit them monstrously, inventing the home run, maybe Samart holds an incredibly special place because he was the 1st to really float & move like that among the time of hard men, bridging Cowboy Time. And, he did this in parallel to the Hardest Man, Dieselnoi. The great Age of Femeu followed him, maybe flowed from him. Perhaps how the Age of the Dunk flowed from Dr. J in basketball. He was a transcendent fighter This is still just guessing, from afar, but it's something I've gleaned from looking back on eras and talking to greats. Yes, u can appreciate and swoon over his muay in retrospect, comparing techniques, but unless you include the time & men he fought in you can't quite grasp What it was like to see him move and hit like that. The hardness of the men he came into, that is what gives context to the freedom of the movements, their creativity and contrasted liberation. After him there were so many femeu and fluid fighters, the early to mid 90s were filled w/ them. But Samart was the 1 who danced among the men of stone. There is a place special and reserved for those who create a style so different from those around them. It's not just honorary, these fighters possess a quality in their muay that is unparalleled & unique. Began as a Twitter thread here.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Super Slick 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do I mean, Cowboy Time, The Age of Hard Men. This isn't something I could ever be an expert in, something I can only glimpse from a far. But sometimes from afar you can see things. What comes to mind is the legend of Suk, The Giant Ghost, who happens to also be the grandfather of Sagat Petchyindee. Now, don't take this as a verbatim piece of history, but only my lasting impression from essays I read over the years. It all began with Suk:

Suk.png.428f498199ea03cd6a95d3ee3cc0236d.png

1785826577_ChuchaiPrakhanchai.thumb.png.1d4189c64aead0b555fb20959fcc8544.png

above, a contrast of media image to Suk, Chuchai Prakanchai, peak years 1948-1951

There was apparently a movement within Muay Thai, and in Thai magazines that covered the sport in the 1950s, that moved away from the "handsome" matinee idol type of masculinity that had been favored, toward men like Suk. The powerful and transformative Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram lead a government that reduced the traditional power and imagery of Thai royalty (again, as I have read), and magazines of the era started celebrating powerful, brutal men like Suk - I'm guessing, not exclusively, but now inclusively. I believe he had been imprisoned for murder at some point, and had an aura of a tough, a nakleng. This move in Muay Thai expressed larger political moves to celebrate the common man, the man of the country. There always has been a tension in Muay Thai, between the courtly, beautiful, artistic muay of Bangkok, and the brute, powerful muay of the men of the fields, up country. It has often played out in urban vs rural, Femeu vs Muay Khao, royal vs worker, dichotomies, and even to this day this is the case. It is only to say that with the rise of Suk Muay Thai began to swing toward that Tough Man side of the pendulum, ideologically. 

if you want to read about the history of Tough Man Muay, this is the essay to read: Rural Male Leadership, Religion and the Environment in Thailand's Mid-south, 1920s-1960s (PDF attached)

Rural_Male_Leadership_Religion_and_the_E.pdf

This is enough to say that Bangkok Muay Thai likely came under the sway of a swing toward a more common-man, tough-guy, nakleng muay in the 1950s-1960s, a strong thread of it remaining in the 1970-1980s. You see epic fighters of the late 1970s like Wichannoi, thought by many to be the greatest fighter who ever fought, and you see that they are chiseled out of rock.

This is Padejsuek, fighting around the time that Dieselnoi was on the rise:

men.jpg.c01e2a4204d0de95b72eb2d3a03dd8a9.jpg

This is Gulapkao's photo along side his hero Wichannoi (below), wearing his 1985 Raja belt, a photo Gulapkao treasures on his phone:

Wichannoi.thumb.jpg.56d2403d17fb81bb16ad61ce52af89af.jpg

 

Into the 1980s, even though there were artful, elite and celebrated fighters in the 1970s, there had never been a "Samart" through these decades of Hard Men. As Dieselnoi ascended at maybe the most dominant fighter of the physical, relentless kind, Samart had come onto the scene as a fighter who fought so relaxed, so fluid, who danced among the Hard Men. It must have been like he was from outer space.

Below, Wichannoi Porntawee who fought from the 1960s -1980s, the ultimate Man's man:

266066564_Wichannoihardmen.jpg.3b8822276fcedbe6b757e9e81aaa9309.jpg

If you want clues to how hard men like Wichannoi fought, here is a great article on his style: Vicharnnoi Porntawee: Legacy of The Immortal Boxer

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you see the first of something, of a kind of movement, a way of being or expressing itself, it sometimes becomes hallowed, and no matter what follows from it after, it can never be surpassed. Like, as mentioned above, how nobody could hit home runs like Babe Ruth. Even if you hit them higher, bigger, more mashy now, he out homered entire teams. Nobody could that that. He invented the Home Run, in his person.

831917776_baberuth.jpg.94b527674b570ab3953e62807bdcf954.jpg

Many have dunked, but Dr. J did it at a time when men, mostly white, didn't move like him. And for that reason nobody really has ever moved like him since. He was expressive of something in the 1970s, then into the 80s.

 

And, no matter the behemoth and beautiful CGI creations in the genre of Sci-Fi, the greatest Sci-Fi film will likely remain Kubrick's 2001 a Space Odyssey in 1969, over 50 years ago. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What likely sets these "greatest" apart perhaps is the era in which they arose. Their creations in sport and art expressed something at a time in transition, of social upheaval and burgeoning. Be it race, or politics, or commercial art, these "1sts" told a new story at a time when a new story was needed. And Bangkok Muay Thai just at the time of Samart was in exactly this position. Thailand found itself bursting with economic growth. Rural workers flocked to Bangkok, the city flourished with investment. Thailand itself was under an evolution, and the Muay Thai of the Golden Age which he helped usher forward, into the 1990s (the Asian Financial crisis in 1997), was a new art-form, built on the bedrock of the Tough, Hard men of Cowboy Time, flourishing with the femeu legends of that era.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add, thinking about this over time, that there were femeu fighters in the Silver Age. Pudpadnoi is just considered incredible by Golden Age fighters, for just how femeu he was, perhaps in the very same way that I'm talking about here with Samart, but further back in time. And, there were very femeu fighters contemporary to Samart, for instance Samingnoom who fought and lost to him twice. Identifiable though, Samart perhaps was the first one to float, in that disinterested way of his. The one to push it all to another place. And then, to ascend after fighting, to the place of entertainment star, an idol that rode the Golden Age enthusiasm that flowed after his retirement. A perfect storm.

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

    • Kru Thailand in Chiang Mai is very sound defensively. You can see his training style in the Muay Thai Library sessions: https://www.patreon.com/posts/muay-thai-uncut-7058199   Also Kem Muay Thai just below Khorat. You can see his sessions in the Library as well.
    • this is an old trick and was done in the 70s before sports science knows what it does today when you add weight you run the risk of using the muscles differently than they were intended for some, maybe that's not a problem. for others, it will lead to muscles not normally involved with kicking being recruited to help you keep your balance and sling the weight around which will lead to muscular imbalances and injury the chance for hyperextending your knees also increases because the joints were not designed for your foot to weigh 5 extra pounds IF you do this do it very very very sparingly and pay attention to your body IMNSHO it is a too much risk for too little reward kind of thing
    • Hey.  So I’m gonna do a Kyukoshin tournament.  If anyone doesn’t know the ruleset it’s no punches, elbows to the head and no clinching.  Points are only awarded for dropping someone or causing a visible reaction so Ning is going to be key.  I’m wondering if anyone here has done one?  It’s my first actual full contact fight, all the kicks knees (head and body) and punches and elbows to the body are full force.   They have a very unique style of throwing punches and there’s a lot of crowding so my plan is to take angles as much as possible and keep tagging the legs and body with kicks and throw a few headkicks if they’re there.  I’m southpaw too.  I want to move into Muay Thai but this seemed like a good a time as any to get some experience trading full power strikes with slightly less risk of getting slept.  Plus my coach encouraged me to do it so he thinks I’m ready for it.     Thanks for reading! 
  • The Latest From Open Topics Forum

    • @Kero Tide's fight  Judy Humber vs. Kèro Tide - (2022.09.21) via ReactQ on r/WMMA https://www.reddit.com/r/WMMA/comments/xnfkcq/muay_thai_judy_humber_vs_kèro_tide_20220921/  
    • Chalamdam (red) took a decision win and title belt against Pitakpetch (blue) today at Channel 7. Here are the highlights.  Pitakpetch's gym owner said after the fight the he will follow suit with several other gyms who have withdrawn their fighters from Giatpetch promotions due to bad judging. Comments on all the various shares seem to agree with the sentiment that this promoter is unfair.  What do you see? https://fb.watch/fD2_PfhFDE/
    • And re the blessing of the mongkol...  In lack of true thai monks, you can try to get a blessing from someoene else creditable. Some person you held in great estime, whom is also a person with a feeling for spirituality.  Your grandma or grandda if they are still alive, otherwise your momma or dad... Or someone else whom you have connection with and do trust.   ps.  You did made your mongkol yourself.  But the same advice for all whom did buy their mongkol in a common shop.   Such is my belief.
    • Thank you 🙂 I asked my coach too ( Ganyao Arunleung) and in his golden age fashion said it doesn't matter, it's the heart that matters 😄😂💖 I told him Muay Thai is the love of my life (just don't tell my husband 😉😄). I think I'll put the amulet on the rim right before the tail comes together. Or I'll wear it with a necklace and find another for the Mongkol.  It will all come together as meant to be at the right time 🤞🏻
    • I train at Pacific Ring Sports on Telegraph and 40th. What about you?
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      1.2k
    • Total Posts
      10.7k
×
×
  • Create New...