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Dess

Fighting Consistently and Possibly Taking On Bad Matchups

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Hi guys! Ammy fighter here. I am currently 3-1. I have been actively fighting for 2 years however I find myself becoming frustrated with my lack of fighting consistency. I have had opportunities come my way that would allow me to fight on a regular basis however my coach has disagreed with some of the match ups I have been offered. In one instance he said she was more active than I was, in another he claimed my opponent was tall (she is 6ft, I'm 5'5'') so he wasn't so sure. As an amature I want to get as much experience as possible. I know coaches are their to protect their athletes but in some cases I feel as if I am being held back. I grew up being an athlete so I am use to having a regular season and competing multiple times within a few months. I'm not sure if I am being short sighted in wanting to fight more or not. My last fight was March 20th and I am hoping to fight again by June. I want to get in at least 4-6 fights this year if possible, but at this pace I don't see that happening. Any tips or suggestions on how to not be discouraged when I am constantly training but not allowed to take fight opportunities? Or any advice on how to bring this up to my coach without sounding disrespectful? 

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This was a huge problem for Sylvie. She's a 100 lb fighter and years ago as an amateur there were maybe 5 people in the whole country she could even fight around her weight, even giving up weight some. Also, a big problem, is that coaches like to manage their fighters, a lot of it coming from the example of boxing (which often has a much larger, more organized fighting pool). Coaches definitely try to massage the matchups to help you improve. They want you to win, or at least have a really good chance of winning, to improve your confidence which is important. They also, for commercial and brand reasons want to have winning fighters. Winning fighters bring more clients. For us it was a big no-go. Every time a coach would try to slow Sylvie down, or manage her, we'd distance ourselves. There was no path to become the fighter she wanted to be following any of those "managed" routes. And it has led to a spectacular career of over 260 fights, the most in history. But...it has lead to enormous social costs, a constant shifting, and facing a lot of opponents with huge advantages on her, which also has lead to big breaks of confidence at times. This is all to say that you are describing a huge thing, especially in female Muay Thai, and that we took a very radical path in response to it, paid big consequences, and even to this day we are fighting this battle of control over opponents. Ten years in it still happens.

For us, fighting is precious. Even bad matchups. There is a cost, but it is worth it. There is nothing that can teach you more than a fight, and fighting a lot gives you perspective. But...the social web of support is super important to a fighter, and coaches can be very sensitive to this stuff. In this case all you can do is give a double message. "Coach, I really want to fight, I'll take a mismatch" AND "Coach I respect your opinion" and see how it shakes out.

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It's difficult because your coach, it appears, is the gatekeeper on whether or not you get to fight the fight that's offered. Having an honest conversation with him about your motives and goals, that you're willing to take losses and disadvantages in order to have the long-term benefits of experience is a good place to stand. From his perspective, he's trying to protect you, not put you in unfair situations, and also surely protect his own reputation. It's all in how you sell it, honestly. I lost a good amount when I first came to Thailand and was fighting far more experienced opponents with weight advantages, but I was known as the little farang who would fight everyone and fight often. That glow isn't universal, the praise isn't unanimous, and the better I got and the more my name became recognizable, the more complicated the "face" of my gym and those who were supposed to be "in charge of me" became. So, it's complicated. But if you feel like you can talk to your coach, there's nothing lost by an honest conversation about wanting to fight a lot at this point in your development.

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On 4/30/2021 at 10:10 PM, Dess said:

Hi guys! Ammy fighter here. I am currently 3-1. I have been actively fighting for 2 years however I find myself becoming frustrated with my lack of fighting consistency. I have had opportunities come my way that would allow me to fight on a regular basis however my coach has disagreed with some of the match ups I have been offered. In one instance he said she was more active than I was, in another he claimed my opponent was tall (she is 6ft, I'm 5'5'') so he wasn't so sure. As an amature I want to get as much experience as possible. I know coaches are their to protect their athletes but in some cases I feel as if I am being held back. I grew up being an athlete so I am use to having a regular season and competing multiple times within a few months. I'm not sure if I am being short sighted in wanting to fight more or not. My last fight was March 20th and I am hoping to fight again by June. I want to get in at least 4-6 fights this year if possible, but at this pace I don't see that happening. Any tips or suggestions on how to not be discouraged when I am constantly training but not allowed to take fight opportunities? Or any advice on how to bring this up to my coach without sounding disrespectful? 

An overprotective coach is a much lesser problem compared with a coach whom doesnt care, whom isnt YOUR ally....  I believe Sylvie has written about this aspect too.   So while you should abandon and flee such an non caring coach and gym,  I do hope its "just" to talk it through honestly and openly with this overprotective coach...   Hopefully you will get a new balance.  If not, you may think on changing gym - hopefully with this coach blessings and advice whom to choose instead.

 

This problem reminds me about another but similiar problem.  Its usually guys telling about sparring with females they dont know well.  Ie, they often do  avoid to sparr women, or take it supereasy on them.  They dont wish to hurt the girls, nor get negative reactions from the girls nor their pals.

There are several different aspects to see this.  Some are entirely legitimate!

As I see it, its because, in the clubs in west, its common many of the women training in Muay clubs, arent wanna be fighters, many are really into fitness. (Or beginners)

So they fitness fighters are often technically decently knowleable, and thus able to do some good sparring, but only as long as its friendly and easy on them...  But they dont wish to risk pains nor hurts...

So a female Muay, whom IS a wanna be fighter, and thus, doesnt mind some rough sparr - yes even WISHES hard tough sparring - must tell about this.  Or even herself challenge these guys or the more advanced female fighters present...

 

To be honest, its not only a guy - female thing, this being overprotective,  even if its the frequently described.   I have seen female fighters, whom by the same reasons avoid to sparr against other women:  the ouches and scared crys begins immediately the beating begins...

 

I think the long term solution is to have some system of labels; essentially:   Im a wanna be fighter; Im OK with serious sparring, even if it hurts some.  Or;  Im a fitness fighter.  Im able to do technically advanced sparring, but it must be on a light and friendly niveu. 

And perhaps equvalents for beginners.

 

The short term solution is, exactly as above, to try and talk with each other.  Talk by mouth, body language, behavior in the gym...

 

Good luck!    🙂

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