Jump to content

The role of punches in scoring (and a side story how my gym got bombed)


Recommended Posts

Here's a very long story as a context to my question on how to use hands in muay thai scoring. 

I started fighting in Thailand 2019. My gym in Bangkok couldn't get me fights so I found my own way, inspired by Sylvie. After three pro fights basically on my own, my gym wanted to set up fights for me at MBK in Bangkok. Then I tore a meniscus in a spartan race and then I lost my job. Found a new job in Yangon, Myanmar. Started training at a lethwei gym trying to heal my knee waiting to go back to Thailand to fight. 

Then I injured my other knee. Second wave. I kept training waiting for my gym to open. I realised covid will drag on and I got mentally ready to fight lethwei. So with knee injuries, my hands, elbows and head became my focus. I discovered lethwei is not just douchebag LeDuc and headbutts, but many beautiful techniques.

My gym opened. Co-owned by a ONE championship MMA star. I was getting ready. 

Then 1 February 2021 happened. Military seized power. Since then, its been a nightmare. Before I moved to Myanmar, all my muay thai trainers warned me "Myanmar is a dangerous country". Well, now it is. I've had machine guns up my face. Friends being threatened. Daily I hear explosions. 

When army started using snipers, killing civilians, childrens, just anyone randomly with shots to the head. Or by arresting them, torturing them to death in prison. The youngest killed was a 5-year old playing in her own living room. 

Well, people started fighting back. Six decades of being ruled by Tatmadaw -which is only fighting a single war: against its own people. And an international community paralysed. People got organised to fight back. 

So did my gym. I saw defense trainings happening. I saw people coming going. I knew what was happening. I saw the pain and frustration of the people who had experienced a smell of democracy for a decade, and then it was again taken away from them. Just like that. 

Yet, each morning my teachers would train me like any fighter. Pushing me. Challenging me. Rewarding me for my hard work with massage and cold water to my forehead.

One night, 1am, I got a lot of calls. There was an explosion at my gym. People told me not to go to training in the morning. Apparently a selfmade bomb had exploded and severely injured my teacher and left the gym in ruins. My teacher's brothers (one pro footballer, one working with development) took my teacher who had severe burns to a private hospital. Another teacher went into hiding. 

The army got hold of that, took my teacher to an army hospital. The brothers, girlfriends and other trainers were brought to prison. Where they remain.

I haven't been back to my gym since. My gloves are still there. 

I'm training outside with a friend who used to work for the same gym and is traumatised too. Worried for his friends. Hiding from authorities calling him, trying to get info. I don't know the case of my teachers who are in custody, just that what they are charged with is severe. 

He and I. We. Just. Keep. Trying. Knowing lethwei might die with this. But still, finding joy in training. And my trainer, all he dreams of is getting to Thailand to work and fight again. 

Anyhow. After this novel/emotional dumping  Somehow through this, my punches, my uppercuts my hooks are getting way stronger. No gloves training is no biggie, my hands are strong. 

I'm trying to improve my kicks but rainy season, outside with no mats, no bag it's hard. So even though I think faster with my legs, my hands are becoming my best weapons. 

And I plan to go to Thailand in a couple of months and just hoping I can get just _one_ fight to channel all this I've experienced. But I don't know how to use my hands in a smart way in muay thai scoring? Just go for KO or do you get points for combinations and dominating fight through hands? 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To the question at the end - I seem to remember that you are experienced in Thailand's Muay Thai - the Golden Rule regarding punches in Thailand is "there has to be effect". In other words, you don't just get credit for throwing them (ie not for "being active" or "being aggressive"). In fact, if you are being active or aggressive and missing all the while, it actually can score against you. You are exerting effort, but it is wasted, inefficient, non-potent effort. This goes to the question of whether you should go for knockouts, or for "dominating" your opponent with punch combinations. The answer is: which one would you more likely show effect (physical or psychological) on your opponents? That's the approach you should use.

This really changes though if you fight on the new 3 round Entertainment Muay Thai shows (Superchamp, Hardcore, even Thai Fight or ONE). These shows seem to favor aggression for its own sake. Throwing 10 hard punches that miss can very well earn you a round, especially if you are coming forward. In those shows generally the more you throw the better, as long as you aren't being caught on the counter.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

This goes to the question of whether you should go for knockouts, or for "dominating" your opponent with punch combinations. The answer is: which one would you more likely show effect (physical or psychological) on your opponents? That's the approach you should use.

'

This above is really helpful, thank you. It makes me think a lot. 

All I know about muay thai scoring is what I learned here. And just from observing, which can be deceiving.

A follow up question, not sure if it can be answered easily. 

If a fighter is throwing kicks and knees and the opponent checks them or takes them but remains seemingly unphased by them, yet remains the more passive one in terms of attacks, but the attacks, mainly through hands, are sharp and have more impact. The scoring would be in favor of the more passive, but sharper fighter? Dominance, technique and control of fight narrative wins the fight (generally)? Regardless of number of attacks?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, LengLeng said:

If a fighter is throwing kicks and knees and the opponent checks them or takes them but remains seemingly unphased by them, yet remains the more passive one in terms of attacks, but the attacks, mainly through hands, are sharp and have more impact. The scoring would be in favor of the more passive, but sharper fighter? Dominance, technique and control of fight narrative wins the fight (generally)? Regardless of number of attacks?

A couple of things here.

1. In Thailand's Muay Thai  you can't just "appear unphased" by kicks and knees, and nullify points. Kicks and knees to the body hold the additional "score" of showing control over the body center, just by landing. This is different than punches, which require the physical and psychological effect for score. Yes, by bluffing no impact from kicks and knees you minimize the score, but these are still points against you.

2. It really depends on what you mean by "passive". You need to know what the score is to read the behaviors of both fighters. Thais, traditionally, once they have the lead, retreat and "protect" the lead. This can be read as lacking in aggression by westerners, when in fact this is often pulling away in the fight. If a fighter who is behind in the fight starts marching forward, and throwing a lot...but not having a lot of impact, this fighter would be seen as actually falling further and further behind. They are "chasing".

Sharpness in technique does really matter though. It shows self-control, control over the fight space, balance, timing. If you are truly displaying dominance over the fight space, then this will score.

I can't quite picture the fight engagement you have in your mind here, but if you are checking kicks and avoiding knees, and landing impactful shots, you should be winning the fight...though that also has to be put in the context of who is advancing, who is retreating, and what the score of the fight is.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add to the above, in case it isn't obvious: You cannot trade landed punches for landed kicks, all other things being equal, in Thailand's traditional Muay Thai. Punching fighters have an additional burden of evidence.

I'll also add this. As a female fighter, while the traditional Muay Thai scoring system does not favor you as a punching fighter, you are favored in another way, at least when fighting Thai female fighters. Because they grew into the sport organized around the high scores of kicks (and to a lessor extent knees), they are much more adept at defending them, and much less adept at defending punches (to be very general about it). What you are throwing has an additional burden for scoring, but maybe has a higher chance of landing. You see this play out in the very different 3 round entertainment Muay Thai fights where Thai female fighters are asked to fight well out of their element. They are punch-heavy, no-retreat allowed promotions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you @Kevin von Duuglas-Ittuthis is helpful. 

As I have a lot of respect for traditional muay thai rules, these would always be my goal. I hate to be the farang going for KO to avoid dealing with the intricacies of muay thai scoring. To show understanding of the rules, is to me to respect the art. I'm not sure you would agree, but when Alyssia fought Stamp and won I saw the power of the strong basics of maintaining posture and using kicks as first weapon. I loved it. She didn't use much technique. Just basic muay thai and won. 

Newer kind of lethwei is very hand focused and their kicks are of the "stabbing version". Straight butterfly knife stab kicks. Older fights are more similar to muay thai. Exchange of beautiful kicks and only headbutt when it actually serves a purpose. I'm trying to learn this. Rather than the brutal: go forward and attack with no plan and full aggression. 

My desire would always be to go for technique. Sadly, seems like my hands are now, when I actually learnt how to transfer power from hip through shoulder to hands, my strongest weapons. But my preference would always be muay thai. I'm not sure, but the refinement Thailand managed to do and the national ownership of the sport is something neighbouring countries could learn from. I also believe, it benefits women fighters. 

It's good advice on the 3 round "sensational fights". I just don't like them. But beggars can't be choosers. I'd take any fight if even possible this year. 

Fighting under traditional muay thai rules to me are what would benefit me the most in terms of learning. Learning patience, calmness, non-aggresive violence and simply technique. 

To be honest, after this exchange I'll work on checking kicks and combine landing kicks following up with punches. 

Thank you. Not much in the public space on muay thai scoring. So it's appreciated. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, LengLeng said:

My desire would always be to go for technique. Sadly, seems like my hands are now, when I actually learnt how to transfer power from hip through shoulder to hands, my strongest weapons. But my preference would always be muay thai.

From your description, my personal advice would be to just use your hands to stress your opponent. Just keep on them, keep touching them, bring the power down, get them holding their breath...and then go for finishes later in the fight with hard weapons (kicks, knees or a power shot). If you are that superior to your opponent. Hands are great stressors. This kind of crescendoing tempo is very "Thai". Touch, touch, touch, touch...damage. Touch, touch, touch, touch...finish.

  • Respect 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

A little aside note re punching / boxing moments in Muay.  Im thinking on the match between Calista and Pheetjeeja  a couple of years ago.  When Calista was still the young promising european junior, trying to make a carrieer as pro in Thailand, beginning with not too difficult matches.   (and yeah, she did managed just fine although a couple of setbacks).  I dont know what Calistas manager planned.  Did he thought Calista had now matured to meet a strong grandmaster, or did he thought it were nice for Calista to meet another good junior??

And Pheetjeeja, whom at this time abandoned Muay and become a boxer...  Pheetjeeja thus did made here a temporary come back. It was visible she didnt no longer care much about what others thought... Why, she was no longer a Muay fighter:   She did climbed in above the ropes!

 

And as Pheetjeejas transition into a boxer was now done and complete, she hardly kicked anything.   She just wore down poor Calista with series of heavy punches... Calista was brave, it was visible she was determined to endure whatever was coming... Whatever the costs...

But after long and severe battering, enough was enough... 

I do admire Calista she did continued and took other difficult matches, becoming even a specialist on Kard Chuek.

Thus.  Well done punching and boxing does pays off in Muay too....    🙂

 

Ps.  Pheetjeeja returned to Muay.  Stronger and better than ever...  She continues her tradition of not using her patented horrible horse kicks against women, but she has become instead a master of elbows...  AND her hard punching, together with her fully mature physical strengh, AND all the technical skills she always had,  makes her a fearsome opponent to any grandmaster.

 

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

    • Just very briefly I want to take up one of the most interesting aspects of the fighting art of Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, an aspect that really cues for me how I watch fights and weigh the skills of fighters. Managing distance. Many people watch "strikes" and look for "points", but there is an under-fabric to strikes, a kind of landscape of them, no less than how a topography will influence how a battle is fought between armies. Even the most practiced strikes rise and fall to opportunity, and in Muay Thai a significant determination of opportunity is distance. Above is a quick edit of Sylvie's last fight up in Buriram, bringing out all the significant moments of engagement, telling the story in about a minute. (The full fight should be up in a few weeks with Sylvie's commentary, as usual.) I'm going to start with Entertainment Muay Thai as presenting an negative can often be the best way to bring out a positive. Entertainment Muay Thai (and there are many versions of it, so we have to be very broad here), is largely principled by eliminating the importance of distance. What is sought, again being very broad, is a more or less continuous trading in the pocket. The quest is for an easy to follow, by the casual eye, "action". Everything is about the distance of the pocket. Setting up outside of the pocket can be regarded as anti-action (so, if you do, you should regularly charge into the pocket...and trade). And fighting through the pocket, to clinch range, is also devalued by very quick clinch breaks, scoring biases (changing traditional aesthetics). Clinch, which historically is featured in some of the most technical fighting of the sport, in Entertainment Muay Thai is more and more understood as a stall of the main goal. Pocket trading. Much of the art of Muay Thai is actually organized around all those distances that border "the pocket", controlling distance through length, or through grappling. In this fight Sylvie is giving up between 8-10 kgs (perhaps more than 20% of her body weight). Now, imagine it being fought under Entertainment aesthetics. What would it be if she just stood in the pocket, bit down, and just traded over and over with Phetnamwan? Would there be any point of such a fight? Yet, as the Golden Age legend Hippy Singmanee once said when criticizing hyper-aggressive, pocket-trading Entertainment Muay Thai, "Muay Thai is the art where small can beat big." Hippy was one of the most renown undersized fighters of the Golden Era. He knows of what he speaks. This fight, in the broad brush, illustrates some of that. More and more we've come to realize that as traditional Muay Thai evaporates slowly from the urban stadia, the only traditional Muay Thai still being regularly fought is in the provinces of the country. It is there that fights are scored in keeping with the art, and fighters retain the all around, multi-distance skills that make that art happen. Clinch is allowed to unfold. Narrative fight arcs are told as principle to scoring. Ryan, a knowledgeable commenter on Twitter and a very good writer on the sport, right away noticed how the ref let clinch flow. You can see some of our discussion there. I recall a conversation I overheard when attending the funeral of the legend Namkabuan in Nongki. It was the passing of one of the greatest who ever fought. During the day-before cremation a casual conversation arose between other legends of the sport, and very experienced news reporters, people who had been a part of it for decades. One of them insisted, Muay Thai no longer existed in Thailand. Others knowingly nodded their heads. But a Muay Siam reporter objected. "No...it still lives in the provinces." And the others agreed. It still was there. We in the English speaking world tend to think the substance of something is what has been presented to us. The Muay Thai of Bangkok is the real Muay Thai of Thailand because that is what we see...and, historically, many decades ago, it did represent the highest skills of the country. But what largely remains unseen is that more and more of the sport is being designed for our eyes. It is less and less for Thais, and more and more for "us", so we can become quite disconnected from what is real and authentic in a cultural, and even efficacy sense. There rhythms and values of provincial Muay Thai, as it is fought, coached and reffed, are part of the rich authenticity of the sport which falls into the shadows when we just look at what is being shown to "us". This fight, how it is fought, shows "the art of where small can beat big", and it shows why. It's through the control of distance. If you are small you just cannot stand at range. You either have to explore the bubble outside of the pocket, too far, or at its edges, and fight your way in to score...or, you collapse the pocket, smother the strikes, and possess the skill to control a much larger bodied opponent. Clinch, historically, is kryptonite to the striker. Muay Maat vs Muay Khao battles are legendary in the sport.  Classic. Who is going to impose the distance which is best for them? It's a battle of distances. And, for this reason, Muay Maat fighters of the past were not experts in trading in the pocket. They were experts in managing clinch fighters, or even high level clinch fighters themselves...and they were experts at hunting down evasive femeu counterfighters as well. Muay Maat fighters were strong. They had to have so many tools in their tool box. In versions of the sport where both fighters are forced to "stand and bang" repeatedly, we have been taken quite far from the glories of Thailand's Muay Thai fighters, and that is because Muay Thai is an art of distance control. This goes to a deeper point about the sport. It isn't really a "sport" in the International, rationalist idea of a sport. Muay Thai is culture. It is Thai culture. Thousands and thousands of fights occur on temple grounds, far from Western eyes. It has grown up within the culture, but also expressive of that culture. And it is a culture unto itself. The more we try to extract from this rich fabric some kind of abstract "rule set" and "collection of techniques" that can be used in other cultures, expressing their values, favoring their fighters, the more we lose the complex art of what Muay Thai is...and in the bigger sense move away from the value it has to the entire world. It's value is that it has a very highly developed perspective on distance management and on aggression. It has lessons upon lessons to teach in techniques of control and fight winning, woven into the DNA of its traditional aesthetics. And these techniques embody the values of the culture. It's all of one cloth. Sylvie has chosen the path less traveled. She's fought like no other Westerner in history (a record 271 times as a pro), and she has devoted herself to the lessor style, the art of Muay Khao and clinch fighting. There are very, very few women, even Thai women, who have seriously developed this branch of the art in the way that she has. And she's done it as a 100 lb fighter, taking on great size disparities as she fights. Because Muay Thai is "the art where small can beat big" there is a long tradition of great, dominant fighters fighting top fighters well above their weight, and developing their in style the capacity to beat them. Fighting up is Muay Thai. Sylvie's entire quest has been to value what may not even be commercially valued at this time, the aspects of the art which point to its greater meaning & capacity. The narrative of scoring, the control of distance, the management of striking through clinch, in the heritage of what it has been. I'm not saying that this is the only way to fight, or that Entertainment Muay Thai has no value for the art and sport. It's not, and it does. But, we should also be mindful of the completeness and complexity of Muay Thai, and the ways that those qualities can be put at risk, as the desire to internationalize it and foreign values become more and more part of its purpose. If we love what we discover when we come to Thailand, we should fight to preserve and embrace the roots of Muay Thai, and the honored aspects of the culture/s which produced it. photos: Khaendong, Buriram, Thailand (temple grounds)    
    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • I really appreciate your wave patterns analogy; it applies to a lot of interactions. 
  • The Latest From Open Topics Forum

    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • Davince Resolve is a great place to start. 
    • I see that this thread is from three years ago, and I hope your journey with Muay Thai and mental health has evolved positively during this time. It's fascinating to revisit these discussions and reflect on how our understanding of such topics can grow. The connection between training and mental health is intricate, as you've pointed out. Finding the right balance between pushing yourself and self-care is a continuous learning process. If you've been exploring various avenues for managing mood-related issues over these years, you might want to revisit the topic of mental health resources. One such resource is The UK Medical Cannabis Card, which can provide insights into alternative treatments.
    • Phetjeeja fought Anissa Meksen for a ONE FC interim atomweight kickboxing title 12/22/2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu92S6-V5y0&ab_channel=ONEChampionship Fight starts at 45:08 Phetjeeja won on points. Not being able to clinch really handicapped her. I was afraid the ref was going to start deducting points for clinch fouls.   
    • Earlier this year I wrote a couple of sociology essays that dealt directly with Muay Thai, drawing on Sylvie's journalism and discussions on the podcast to do so. I thought I'd put them up here in case they were of any interest, rather than locking them away with the intention to perfectly rewrite them 'some day'. There's not really many novel insights of my own, rather it's more just pulling together existing literature with some of the von Duuglus-Ittu's work, which I think is criminally underutilised in academic discussions of MT. The first, 'Some meanings of muay' was written for an ideology/sosciology of knowledge paper, and is an overly long, somewhat grindy attempt to give a combined historical, institutional, and situated study of major cultural meanings of Muay Thai as a form of strength. The second paper, 'the fighter's heart' was written for a qualitative analysis course, and makes extensive use of interviews and podcast discussions to talk about some ways in which the gendered/sexed body is described/deployed within Muay Thai. There's plenty of issues with both, and they're not what I'd write today, and I'm learning to realise that's fine! some meanings of muay.docx The fighter's heart.docx
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      1.3k
    • Total Posts
      10.9k
×
×
  • Create New...