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How to improve women’s experiences in gyms?


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There is a topic that I’ve been hoping to discuss recently regarding my own personal experiences and those that I’ve heard about from other women. My experience at multiple gyms as well as the one where I currently train, is there is a “boys club” that exists and creates a certain barrier for women who train.
 

I’ve only trained in the US, so that is my frame of reference for gym culture. A (male) business partner and I are hoping to open a gym in the near future. I’m hoping that this discussion will help inform the culture we create as well as improve the approach of current gyms.

I’ve noticed more than one coach almost entirely ignore women who train either as beginners or experienced fighters. Men are given more attention in terms of coaching, encouragement, and feedback.
 

I’ve also observed that women, myself included, seem to get excluded from conversations, condescended to, have borderline or blatant sexist comments directed toward them, and assumptions being make about fighting knowledge as well no matter the level of experience.
 

Other than power level, there have only been a handful of times where experienced being treated differently in sparring. I’m not sure if that’s a common experience for other women or not. 
 

This question is addressed to other women who train. What is your experience in this regard? Have you felt that this was common in gyms where you have trained? Do you feel like it slowed down your progress with learning? How do you think the gym culture can be improved so women become more skilled? 
 

I’m asking men, respectfully, to refrain from saying things along the lines of “That doesn’t happen” or “women are being too sensitive”. You are welcome to constructively participate in the conversation and ask questions but please do not deny that other people experience things. Men, please be respectful and measured in your responses. 
 

I'm placing this here instead of in the women’s only forum because I feel it’s important for all people to read and consider these observations. It’s important for the growth of the sport and for women to have better experiences in the gym. 

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2 hours ago, CSIBMOD said:

A (male) business partner and I are hoping to open a gym in the near future. I’m hoping that this discussion will help inform the culture we create as well as improve the approach of current gyms.

What are things you are already thinking about as substantial changes? As this comes from your experience it would be interesting to hear what you are already envisioning.

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I don't have a lot of experience training in western gyms, but when I have these experiences were my experience as well, and Thai gyms absolutely treat women differently from men but not necessarily in every aspect.

I would offer that as a gym owner you will have to explicitly correct your trainers and even gym members on a fairly regular basis, as sexism is cultural and not specific to the context of the person or the gym. Normalizing communication between gymmates, as well as feedback between staff and members - across all genders - will make it easier and more reasonable for members to voice their needs. "This sparring is too hard for me," should be as valid as "this is too light for me." All genders. Maybe encourage training partners to communicate and check in with each other between each round. And an anonymous comments box to make complaints or suggestions about trainers.

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Thanks for raising this issue and for wanting to create a better gym environment for women. 

I second everything that Sylvie said. I'd definitely recommend having a reporting/feedback system, which people can choose to use anonymously. But also to make sure that gym members see and feel that they're listened to and that steps are taken after their feedback is received. Otherwise, it can become disheartening and the system becomes pointless.

I've experienced all the things you mentioned. When it comes to sparring, I think it's important that trainers step in. Not just when things get out of hand, but when they can see that people are being treated differently. For example. I've been frustrated so many times by male sparring partners who've refused to hit me, spent the whole round just blocking, running away, or acting like a punch bag (regardless of their size or experience level). At times, my trainers have made comments, reminding them to hit me and spar properly. Other times, they've switched my partner for someone more suitable. That makes me feel like at least they have my back and encourage these guys to be better sparring partners. I understand that you can't (and shouldn't) babysit everyone all of the time, but just being observant of these imbalances can make a big difference in making women feel more supported.

You've reminded me that I have an unpublished blog post written about a similar topic, so I'll get on and finish that!

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One of the more difficult and hidden aspects of gender gym dynamics that I've noticed is that because Muay Thai gyms are almost always male coded spaces it can be that there is a limited amount of social capital that women receive. That is to say, some women will get a desired amount of attention - the quality or kind of this attention may vary by gym - but because this is set up as inherently scarce, women will be even unconsciously forced into competing over that scarcity. This means that other women in the gym who may be more natural allies, making one feel more comfortable or at home, persons of support, inspiration or encouragement, actually become your competitors over "being authentic" or "being treated like a fighter" or even just "the coach pays attention to me". One woman may feel that the gym is pretty fair and supportive of women, because she's competed over the limited resource and won it, but other women may not. I'm not really sure what the answer to this is, other than being really sensitive to the idea that there may be hidden limitations of social capital.

It can be very difficult, because a lot of what coaches can do is set up a scarcity in the first place, to motivate students. "I'll pay attention to you if you do it right", "I'll pay attention to you if you work really hard" "I'll pay attention to you if you show toughness". This leads to some very earnest women over-performing, or out-performing males in a space. They want to earn their rightful place in a male coded environment. But, this scarcity which should be a equally distributed scarcity also really easily can become quite gendered. That is to say: it's much more scarce for women than it is for men. In some gyms men will just take for granted something that women end up competing with other women for. Men compete with each other and will tend to bond. Women may experience competition with other women differently. Sylvie's talked about this female competition in the gym space a few times.

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5 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the more difficult and hidden aspects of gender gym dynamics that I've noticed is that because Muay Thai gyms are almost always male coded spaces it can be that there is a limited amount of social capital that women receive. That is to say, some women will get a desired amount of attention - the quality or kind of this attention may vary by gym - but because this is set up as inherently scarce, women will be even unconsciously forced into competing over that scarcity. This means that other women in the gym who may be more natural allies, making one feel more comfortable or at home, persons of support, inspiration or encouragement, actually become your competitors over "being authentic" or "being treated like a fighter" or even just "the coach pays attention to me". One woman may feel that the gym is pretty fair and supportive of women, because she's competed over the limited resource and won it, but other women may not. I'm not really sure what the answer to this is, other than being really sensitive to the idea that there may be hidden limitations of social capital.

It can be very difficult, because a lot of what coaches can do is set up a scarcity in the first place, to motivate students. "I'll pay attention to you if you do it right", "I'll pay attention to you if you work really hard" "I'll pay attention to you if you show toughness". This leads to some very earnest women over-performing, or out-performing males in a space. They want to earn their rightful place in a male coded environment. But, this scarcity which should be a equally distributed scarcity also really easily can become quite gendered. That is to say: it's much more scarce for women than it is for men. In some gyms men will just take for granted something that women end up competing with other women for. Men compete with each other and will tend to bond. Women may experience competition with other women differently. Sylvie's talked about this female competition in the gym space a few times.

Thank you Kevin for voicing this and as a man understanding this. I really appreciate that. I find personally it's really hard to speak about these things. When as a woman you get discriminated against because you are a woman (and this happens a lot), those situations are easy to fix: everyone gets to spar, everyone gets clinching etc. The hard part is the benefits you might receive because you are _not_ like other women. So there are situations where you receive a lot of attention because you are not what they expect a woman to be (oftentimes playing that card of being very strong physically but just sweet enough so that they accept your male coded attributes), but you know for sure that this attention is at the same time cutting into attention that could have been given to other girls, because of the scarcity you speak of. You "play the game" to get ahead. And you not proud of it, but as a woman you know it's a zero sum game. So the ideal situation is that your gender is viewed neutrally. But if that happens, lots of benefits are lost. 

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I've been training (US-based) for about 5-6 years. I was lucky to have the option of finding gyms that weren't sexist in the ways you described, but in visiting other gyms or trying other gyms to potentially join I have experienced a lot of sexism. 

In the US, I'm considered a fairly experienced amateur fighter with 21 fights, but when I visit other gyms I almost invariably get paired with the only other woman in the gym, regardless of size or skill level. This drives me nuts, because I'd much rather have a partner with comparable skill - whether that person be male or female! It also poses a problem as sometimes there are men more appropriately sized to work with me, when I'll get paired with a much larger woman. Combine that with a skill discrepancy, and it makes me feel like I'm only good enough "for a girl" and not to train with the majority of the fighters. 

In sparring, I get a lot of guys trying to go light on me but they go so light that they're basically shadow boxing or going super slow. If I pick up the intensity, sometimes they get mad and try to hurt me. Neither is beneficial. I also get a lot of those guys that just shell-up and say "hit me, hit me!" and (maybe this is just me) I find this super condescending because if I wanted to just hit something that doesn't move I'd hit a bag. 

In some cases, I've asked coaches (that I'm more familiar with) "hey, you paired me with her, but I think this other person would be a better match based on skill and/or size." In my own gym, I try to take my turn teaching newer people how to hit and hold pads - we all have to learn. But when I'm paying to drop in at another gym, I am paying to work, not teach their new students to hold pads. 

The biggest thing I've learned is just to advocate for myself. It's really hard, and the response isn't always what we want but I find that 95% of the time people don't realize they're behaving in a sexist way and didn't realize how you interpreted what they did. Sometimes I've been given really thoughtful reasons why I was partnered up the way I was, too - trying to inspire a student who's expressed interest in fighting by letting them work with a fighter who "looks" like them. 

As for the "boys club" part of it, sometimes I find this. I always ask myself if I really want to be in that club. If yes, I assert myself. If I have valuable knowledge, I put it forward. Sometimes though, I can see that this is a group I don't care to be part of and I have no problem just walking away. I'm happy to share my thoughts if they ask, but unconcerned if they don't and that they don't consider me one of them. Many gyms have cliques and sometimes those cliques are all-encompassing. I'm not trying to join a Muay Thai cult - just train and fight and make some friends.

I hope this helps! 

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My experience as a female who has trained in a variety of western gyms is as follows:

1. Being paired with men who will decrease their intensity too much out of fear of "hitting a woman" which hurts both of our training but is especially frustrating to me. I have to ask them to go harder, the coach has to tell them to go harder and sometimes they will and sometimes they still won't. 

2. Not being taken seriously, left out of the gym "community" which usually consists of the coach and his best male fighters.

3. Sexual harassment or unwanted attention from other members; same age, older, single, married. 

It's demoralizing but women are sadly used to being in spaces that are not friendly to them. The gym owner and staff need to be in charge of establishing and controlling the gym's culture. There should be an anonymous complaint box, established rules and no tolerance for sexual harassment. If possible the gym staff should take interest in all its members and try to understand why they are there and how they can support their goals. 

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Wow! You guys have given so much thoughtful and in depth feedback. I have 4 kids and things are a little nuts as it’s dinner, homework, bedtime. I’ll come back and respond and ask more questions this evening. I appreciate the answers both on the personal level as well as from a gym business perspective. Thank you so much! 
 

 

 

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What would be good etiquette if, as a man, the reason for this attitude during sparring (or any other sort of intense pair training) is mental discomfort with the idea of throwing even mid-level strikes with women? I've found myself paired with girls and it is quite uncomfortable to try and disregard this cultural norm. 

I did that exact thing described of just using defence and letting the girls work their offence during these routine  'colosseum' exercises (I forget the English term for it) at a gym I trained at, where the instructor would make one of us (sometimes a woman) do rounds with almost everyone at a time. It wasn't supposed to be sparring, but eventually the one doing the rounds would get tired and more desperate, so they'd put more behind their strikes and, between men at least, you'd end up reciprocating with similar intensity. I use this example because, even if you oppose to being a sparring partner for a female (if your instructor lets you, that is), you might find yourself in a situation where you'll basically be doing light sparring with them, and might adjust your power a bit too low for those that want to be treated equally. 

Sorry if this is a bit of a convoluted question, but basically I wanted to take the chance (and please do excuse me if I'm unknowingly derailing the topic of conversation) to ask what you think would be the right procedure for males that just feel uncomfortable hitting females but nonetheless get thrown in situations where you have to be available for them and actually want to help them improve their skills in any other way you can (as you would with any other training partner, since that's obviously the idea- to get better together). Thanks!

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What you're describing is internalized sexism. So, you deal with that. It's not your "fault" and it doesn't make you bad, but you do have to acknowledge and recognize it first and foremost in order to go about addressing it.

Women aren't children. Women aren't weak and unable to make decisions for ourselves. Women go to sparring for the same reasons men do, to be challenged, to improve, to experience pressure. By giving priority to your discomfort, you are robbing your teammates of all those benefits. Be generous, just as you would for a male teammate. Note size difference and skill disparity and make adjustments for those, just as you would for a male teammate.

Also, thank you for asking this, as it demonstrates you do care and want to do better for your teammates. 

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Thank you for the kind response. While I don't feel entirely compelled by the framework that would characterize it as internalized sexism, I think the way you put it really helps in viewing the situation differently and emphatically, ie, making an effort in understanding that I'd be stopping a female training partner from improving as much as any other person in the gym by letting my own discomfort get the best of me. You're right, they're there for that specific reason, and everyone can voice their disatisfaction with someone who's going harder than they should. As simple as it is, it can be ignored due to the violent nature of it all and not wanting to deal with those irrational feelings of having done something culturally taboo.

I do think that the process of adapting to this understanding may be a slow one for men with this cultural conditioning, but that's when talking about it helps so much. The feeling that you did something that goes against your upbringing (punching or kicking the opposite sex in the face) leaves a foul state in your mouth regardless of any rationalization, but I'm sure that it can be dealt with progressively by knowing how the consequences of this attitude are so frustrating for female martial artists and how unbalanced it ends up being for everyone involved. Both parties need to understand the other's position and needs, and work together to even things out. That is to say, just asking to hit harder might not be enough to really ingrain the idea and erase the discomfort in some men, but it should at least be the start of a conversation that solves the problem.

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I did want to come back to you because it can be difficult to recognize our own thought processes, which result in our feelings, because many of them come from unconscious conditioning.

One element I see repeated by men is this notion that "hitting women" is wrong. How could that be a bad thing? I think a good way to address this feeling in yourself is understanding the difference between trained skills and practice, versus violence. My mom struggled with my fighting for a long time because she views it as violence. I've experienced what I call violence, which involves a victim and is more or less one-sided. That's not what sports or artforms are. I wrote about it here if you want to read about the differences I see (https://8limbsus.com/blog/violence-fighting-silence-speaking-of-rape-muay-thai) but the short, short takeaway you can start straight away with is looking at how many women have expressed offense and disappointment by their male training partners refusing to hit them... that's obviously not the same thing as "hitting women," and obviously we're not experiencing sparring that way.

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One thing I wanted to mention is also us women understanding how much power we have and how hard we punch. I might be mistaken, but I feel sometimes women tend to go pretty hard because guys we spar with never want to admit when hurts. So we don't learn to assess our own strength in strikes. 

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On 12/11/2021 at 10:34 PM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

What are things you are already thinking about as substantial changes? As this comes from your experience it would be interesting to hear what you are already envisioning.

I think I’m envisioning a place where everyone is on equal footing no matter gender, sexual orientation, fitness level, etc. Where we create a culture of equity  and that people will know to leave the ego at the door. It will be a fighters gym but it will also be clear that no one is better than anyone else. This especially applies to the gym social hierarchy. I’m having trouble defining exactly how that would be encouraged and enforced. 
 

As a woman with some level of life experience, I want to make it clear that woman won’t just be accepted or tolerated but that they are a mainstay of our gym. What I mean by not using the wording of “accepted” is that that term implies women are being accepted into a space that doesn’t already belong to them. I.e. you wouldn’t use that phrasing when you are walking into your own home. Not sure if I’m saying this in a way that’s easy to decipher. 
 

I’m envisioning a place where there is a very clear set of boundaries in regards to respecting training partners and equal treatment amongst all students. Again, it’s difficult to define and even harder to figure out how to create this type of environment. 

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On 12/13/2021 at 12:10 AM, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I don't have a lot of experience training in western gyms, but when I have these experiences were my experience as well, and Thai gyms absolutely treat women differently from men but not necessarily in every aspect.

I would offer that as a gym owner you will have to explicitly correct your trainers and even gym members on a fairly regular basis, as sexism is cultural and not specific to the context of the person or the gym. Normalizing communication between gymmates, as well as feedback between staff and members - across all genders - will make it easier and more reasonable for members to voice their needs. "This sparring is too hard for me," should be as valid as "this is too light for me." All genders. Maybe encourage training partners to communicate and check in with each other between each round. And an anonymous comments box to make complaints or suggestions about trainers.

Thank you for this feedback. I think the communication aspect of creating a respectful training environment is very often overlooked. Encouraging people, especially people new to the sport and to the gym, to express their level of comfort with their training, sparring, etc. 
 

I specifically want create an environment that is encouraging and firm when new people are brought in. “Firm” meaning even if you are experienced in the sport doesn’t mean an automatic green light for being set loose. And also for people new to the sport to know that it’s okay to be nervous. And also to be aware that nervousness can lead to some poor choices when new to sparring and create problems unnecessarily. And as you said, this needs to happen across all genders. I was even thinking about having a required session *just* to coach people on how to spar safely, address safety issues for injuries, adjust power levels, communicate respectfully with training partners, etc before new people are permitted to participate. I think this will help all members but especially women who may feel uncomfortable without these guidelines specifically spelled out. 
 

Women being able to come to trainers, coaches, and me as the owner and know  that they will be heard if something doesn’t feel quite right or if something happened that makes them feel unsafe is huge. That’s a great part to focus on so thank you for that! 

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On 12/13/2021 at 2:47 AM, emma said:

Thanks for raising this issue and for wanting to create a better gym environment for women. 

I second everything that Sylvie said. I'd definitely recommend having a reporting/feedback system, which people can choose to use anonymously. But also to make sure that gym members see and feel that they're listened to and that steps are taken after their feedback is received. Otherwise, it can become disheartening and the system becomes pointless.

I've experienced all the things you mentioned. When it comes to sparring, I think it's important that trainers step in. Not just when things get out of hand, but when they can see that people are being treated differently. For example. I've been frustrated so many times by male sparring partners who've refused to hit me, spent the whole round just blocking, running away, or acting like a punch bag (regardless of their size or experience level). At times, my trainers have made comments, reminding them to hit me and spar properly. Other times, they've switched my partner for someone more suitable. That makes me feel like at least they have my back and encourage these guys to be better sparring partners. I understand that you can't (and shouldn't) babysit everyone all of the time, but just being observant of these imbalances can make a big difference in making women feel more supported.

You've reminded me that I have an unpublished blog post written about a similar topic, so I'll get on and finish that!

I’m looking forward to reading your blog post. I think you make a good point about not just hearing peoples feedback but also reacting appropriately and thoughtfully. I am going into business with another person and I’ve made it clear that poor behavior will get someone shown the door. 
 

I also want to be proactive instead of reactive to all types of problems within gyms. I mentioned to Sylvie above but in regards to sparring, I think I would like to have a regular class that teaches people how to spar safely and respectfully that covers all the common problems, including the ones that are specific to men and women sparring with one another. Communication, safety, controlling power, keeping ego in check, making sure to let them know that speaking to the coach about an issue is always an option, how to be a good training partner with other genders, etc. Doing an on boarding seems like it might be a proactive step to prevent problems. 

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On 12/13/2021 at 5:35 PM, Kellie said:

My experience as a female who has trained in a variety of western gyms is as follows:

1. Being paired with men who will decrease their intensity too much out of fear of "hitting a woman" which hurts both of our training but is especially frustrating to me. I have to ask them to go harder, the coach has to tell them to go harder and sometimes they will and sometimes they still won't. 

2. Not being taken seriously, left out of the gym "community" which usually consists of the coach and his best male fighters.

3. Sexual harassment or unwanted attention from other members; same age, older, single, married. 

It's demoralizing but women are sadly used to being in spaces that are not friendly to them. The gym owner and staff need to be in charge of establishing and controlling the gym's culture. There should be an anonymous complaint box, established rules and no tolerance for sexual harassment. If possible the gym staff should take interest in all its members and try to understand why they are there and how they can support their goals. 

I think you hit the nail on the head in so many ways here. These are most of the top issues that I see. They are challenging both from a personal perspective and the perspective of figuring out how yo prevent them before they happen as a business owner. My goal is to be very proactive in creating a healthy environment for all members, focusing on preventing sexual harassment, creating a respectful culture, and prevent problems before they happen. I have a rough rule set built in the back of my brain and this is a good reminder to be specific about what those rules mean.  
 

I’m a “grown” woman in my 40s and have no issue calling people on the carpet about unacceptable 

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On 12/13/2021 at 3:16 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the more difficult and hidden aspects of gender gym dynamics that I've noticed is that because Muay Thai gyms are almost always male coded spaces it can be that there is a limited amount of social capital that women receive. That is to say, some women will get a desired amount of attention - the quality or kind of this attention may vary by gym - but because this is set up as inherently scarce, women will be even unconsciously forced into competing over that scarcity. This means that other women in the gym who may be more natural allies, making one feel more comfortable or at home, persons of support, inspiration or encouragement, actually become your competitors over "being authentic" or "being treated like a fighter" or even just "the coach pays attention to me". One woman may feel that the gym is pretty fair and supportive of women, because she's competed over the limited resource and won it, but other women may not. I'm not really sure what the answer to this is, other than being really sensitive to the idea that there may be hidden limitations of social capital.

It can be very difficult, because a lot of what coaches can do is set up a scarcity in the first place, to motivate students. "I'll pay attention to you if you do it right", "I'll pay attention to you if you work really hard" "I'll pay attention to you if you show toughness". This leads to some very earnest women over-performing, or out-performing males in a space. They want to earn their rightful place in a male coded environment. But, this scarcity which should be a equally distributed scarcity also really easily can become quite gendered. That is to say: it's much more scarce for women than it is for men. In some gyms men will just take for granted something that women end up competing with other women for. Men compete with each other and will tend to bond. Women may experience competition with other women differently. Sylvie's talked about this female competition in the gym space a few times.

I’m not sure there is anything I can add here because this spelling out exactly what I feel like I’m responding to both personally and as a potential gym owner. Very insightful and I’ll have see if I can find some what Sylvie has written about how this happens. 
 

That scarcity is a very real thing and quite frequently does not filter down to women regardless of skill level, even if she is a fighter. 
 

As a woman in my mid 40s, I’m *never* going to a high priority for 99% of coaches. I’m a woman, I’m older, I’m past the prime age where sexual interest is a major driving factor, there is no potential there for being a legit fighter, professional or amateur, etc. But I see even the younger women that have far more potential than I do and pro female fighters having the same issue. 
 

And it keeps the ball rolling because the scarcity breeds lack of trust between the women at the gym. So not only are you not getting in optimal training with men, you also aren’t getting it with women either because there isn’t enough trust built to push each other to be better. I like my female training partners but sometimes it feels like that isn’t necessarily reciprocated. It doesn’t have to be like that. 

 

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On 12/13/2021 at 4:15 PM, MollyJuliette said:

I've been training (US-based) for about 5-6 years. I was lucky to have the option of finding gyms that weren't sexist in the ways you described, but in visiting other gyms or trying other gyms to potentially join I have experienced a lot of sexism. 

In the US, I'm considered a fairly experienced amateur fighter with 21 fights, but when I visit other gyms I almost invariably get paired with the only other woman in the gym, regardless of size or skill level. This drives me nuts, because I'd much rather have a partner with comparable skill - whether that person be male or female! It also poses a problem as sometimes there are men more appropriately sized to work with me, when I'll get paired with a much larger woman. Combine that with a skill discrepancy, and it makes me feel like I'm only good enough "for a girl" and not to train with the majority of the fighters. 

In sparring, I get a lot of guys trying to go light on me but they go so light that they're basically shadow boxing or going super slow. If I pick up the intensity, sometimes they get mad and try to hurt me. Neither is beneficial. I also get a lot of those guys that just shell-up and say "hit me, hit me!" and (maybe this is just me) I find this super condescending because if I wanted to just hit something that doesn't move I'd hit a bag. 

In some cases, I've asked coaches (that I'm more familiar with) "hey, you paired me with her, but I think this other person would be a better match based on skill and/or size." In my own gym, I try to take my turn teaching newer people how to hit and hold pads - we all have to learn. But when I'm paying to drop in at another gym, I am paying to work, not teach their new students to hold pads. 

The biggest thing I've learned is just to advocate for myself. It's really hard, and the response isn't always what we want but I find that 95% of the time people don't realize they're behaving in a sexist way and didn't realize how you interpreted what they did. Sometimes I've been given really thoughtful reasons why I was partnered up the way I was, too - trying to inspire a student who's expressed interest in fighting by letting them work with a fighter who "looks" like them. 

As for the "boys club" part of it, sometimes I find this. I always ask myself if I really want to be in that club. If yes, I assert myself. If I have valuable knowledge, I put it forward. Sometimes though, I can see that this is a group I don't care to be part of and I have no problem just walking away. I'm happy to share my thoughts if they ask, but unconcerned if they don't and that they don't consider me one of them. Many gyms have cliques and sometimes those cliques are all-encompassing. I'm not trying to join a Muay Thai cult - just train and fight and make some friends.

I hope this helps! 

Thx for the insights.   One comment.  The phenomena I did featured in bold...  This is not about you, this is about the alone girl / woman in that gym.  Here is she alone, eager to train, but more or less aside...  If nothing else, she is the alone woman.  And suddenly there comes in another adult woman!   They want to give their member a positive experience, to be able to met and train with another woman if and when the occasion arises.... Of course, if you are a paying guest, its not necessarily YOUR problem.

But. Hey, what do I know, they perhaps even thinks you are in a similar situation?  Alone woman in YOUR gym?

 

Anyways, its a problem with several bottoms.  I dont know if its customary to phone the owner / coach / host and tell whom you are and what type of train you do wish.  Or the owner / host meets the new face and asks...   

Its done in some of bridge clubs for example:  " I wish to visit your club tonight, and will be happy to get a good partner to play with.  I consider myself as an expert."

Another proposal I fancy is to have labels to put on:  Beginner medium, advanced   and  Mostly fitness (=take it easy in sparring)  (Fighter = Im OK with quite rough sparring too), but as I know, this is not done.

 

Ps.  Nay,  Im not into active martial arts myself; although I did some other sports, including bridge and riding.

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This with an inner circle around the owner / trainer...   And new bees have difficult to come forward.  Here, get also the proper education they are de facto paying for, both in their time, effort and often also good money.

The phenomena is common!

A generous host / owner, whom can create a warm, welcoming athmosphere, is the remedy.   But its not always (seldom)  the reality....

 

Ps.  A standard way worth to try with, is to anyway work as hard and as well you can. Often enough, with time they will see you ARE a hardworker, not whining for nothing, and with time, accept you in their circle and perhaps even, their cameradeship.  If they dont; you hadnt lost much anyway, because your effort will repay for yourself this way or another.  Ps.  I believe THIS was the way Sylvie did, when she did come to Petchungrang, a male gym...  Showing she is a hardworker, she won their acceptance.

 

In this case, as its typically a male dominated milieu, it becomes extra difficult for most females.

Sorrowfully but true, this is a common experience for most women in many situations... In war and in peace.

That is a heavy reason why most women kept themselves into typically female occupations, and typically female sports...

It needs extra determination, and tough skin for a female to be succesfull. in a traditionally male area.

Getting massive flak from many men, but sometimes also, from other women...

 

I dont have any good advices nor easy solutions at this moment, 

 I just want to mention it; the problems are a common experience for many females whom want to go forward in a male dominated milieu...

And thus, it will help to network with other females (and sympathisers) in martial sports, as here in this forum, but also, networking with almost any other ambitious females, should give some help and mental relief..

 

Its almost only the so called  boygirls, or tomboys, whom manage comfortably in male milieus; they are used to play and work with boys and later on males, and agree with them, "speak on equal and friendly terms"

Edited by StefanZ
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Thank you everyone for all the feedback. I’m in the process of obtaining a building to house out new gym and have a great business partner that does respect female fighters. We have some things to work on with incorporating our values into the culture of the gym and I intend to lead by example. 
 

While I’ve been training for 3+ years, I’m still very much a newbie. My business partner is a pro fighter that has been in the game for a bit so to a large degree, he will be setting the tone. But our mission statement will include welcoming ALL student whether they be LGBTQ, female, mature students, kids, beginners, advanced, amateur fighters, or pro fighters. It will be emphasized that hard work is the great equalizer but also recognizing that there will people that are there just for fun and fitness. That’s cool too. 
 

It’s going to be tough to foster this environment because of the traditionally male dominated history of the sport but in order the create a strong business in the city where we are located, we have to expand beyond the “traditional” student and target market. I want to grow the sport in our city beyond the usual niche. 
 

I think to do that I need to understand the dynamics at play in order to counter them the pitfalls of your average gym. Fostering that type of environment, combined with quality, rigorous training is our goal. 
 

It’s all getting real as we get closer to securing a location. It’s exciting! 

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There have been times when I've had legit semis in the gym (one time I had one whilst doing pullups and I could swear the girl next to me saw and left as a result) and i've had to pinch myself to lessen the blood flowing to my longsword.

Sometimes im there trying to work out and theres a girl infront of me squatting/jogging/generally looking sex as fuark and I have to actively avert my eyes or I get really horny really fast.

Is there any dude who's approached girls from the gym and would like to share some tips/ experiences on when they've talked to girls ?
 

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    • #deleuze #muaythai #warfare #philosophy #chess #sociology #thailand TLTR: discussing the unique historical and cultural influences on Thailand's Muay Thai as a traditional martial art and sport. Highlighting the deep-rooted history of Muay Thai, its ties to state warfare, influences from various cultures, including its unwritten provincial history, a comparison between Muay Thai, the games of Chess and Go is drawn as to the different philosophies and strategies inherent in each form of gamed combat. Additionally, it delves into the concept of warfare, power dynamics, spiritual aspects, and societal hierarchies reflected in the practices of Muay Thai as they relate to the Deleuze and Guattari's theories of nomadology, smooth space and war. Overall, a contrast between centralized, advance-forward, territory capture and more fluid edge-control, labor-capture warfare provides insight into what has shaped Thailand's Muay Thai into a distinct and formidable fighting art. (if it's TLTR, you get this summation) This is an on-going draft that will be edited over time   As internationalizing pressures push Muay Thai toward Western-friendly viewership, its worth considering the fundamental ways in which Thai and Western perceptions of conflict differ, and the manor in which this difference is preserved and expressed as Thai, in Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, a sport which achieved its acme-form in it's Golden Age (1980-1994). It's the contention of this article that there are governing, different and possibly quite opposed Martial Logics that structure many Western combat sport perceptions and the art of Thailand's Muay Thai, and these can be seen in the two graphics above, showing the games of Chess and Go. Now combat sports are quite diverse, even in the West, and each has its own history and audience. Each is shaped by its rules. The discussion here is more about the dominant image of thought as might be traced in Western and Southeast Asian regions of the world, despite rich variance, and even cross-influences. Thailand's Muay Thai, despite its violence, more maybe even because of it, is noted for its defensive excellence. It historically has been a close-fought sport that unlike some Western ring aesthetics, actually gravitates toward the ropes and corners, which are notoriously more difficult topographic ground. Because fighting is draw to this edge and corner emphasis, it requires even higher levels of defensive prowess to thrive at these edges. While the dominant image of Western ring fighting is much more clash-conscious, force meeting force in the middle of the ring (like two knight champions meeting at the center of a battlefield), in Thailand's Muay Thai it is the dextrousness along the ropes, the escapability, which wins the highest esteem. This piece offers explanations for what that is so and points to other studies of Muay Thai that underpin this. Largely though, it likely relates to the way in which violence and aggression is thought of in a traditionally Buddhist society, and Thailand's long history of a warfare of encirclement and capture. Examples of Thailand's Muay Thai Most Praised Edge Fighting Thailand is not alone in esteeming edge mastery. Western Boxing has very famous rope work, much of which constitutes the highest forms of fighting of its greatest fighters. But it does have a differing dominant image of thought than in the West, one which elevates rope and corner work into its own purposeful artform. Some of this can be read as a direct result of nearly opposite generalized scoring criteria. In the West, being very broad about it, forward aggression is a positive signature. All things being equal the forward fighter is seen as imposing themselves on their opponent. In Thailand's Muay Thai it is the opposite. This fundamental criteria reversal leads to a lot of Western viewers being confused over how fights are scored. Just being very broad about it, when a Thai fighter takes the lead in a fight - something that they know because audience gambling odds have changed in their favor - they begin to retreat. The retreating, defensive fighter is seen as protecting their lead. Their defense becomes their path to victory, which is why historically Thai fighters became the best defensive fighters in the world. Defense takes the spotlight in almost any lead, all other things being equal. A fighter going to the ropes in the broad Western conception is a fighter who has been forced there. A fighter who goes to the ropes in Muay Thai is in the dominant picture of thought signalling that they are in the lead. It's an upside down world for the Westerner and leads to a lot of miscomprehension. It's best to continually return to the note that these are broad, image-of-thought pictures of aggression and ring space. Judging a fight is much more complex than this. Over the years there are pendulum swings in how aggressive or active the retreating fighter has to be, and this is something that has differed even between the National Stadia of the sport, each with their own scoring aesthetics. Broadly though, the way that the edges and corners are semiotically coded, what they signify, is areas of control where fights are won and lost. And, because fighters in the lead retreat and defend, a lot of fights head to the edges, especially in the traditional, high-scoring later rounds. If you want to see the highest levels of this edge-excellence, I recommend this fight between two legends of the sport. Somrak in red, Boonlai in blue. Noteworthy in this fight is that Somrak at this time was one of the best Western Boxers all of Thailand. In a few years he would go onto win Gold at the 1996 Olympics in Mayweather's division. In this fight he hardly throws a punch until the fight is well in hand. It's footwork, interception, movement and countering, a great deal of it at the edge. At the edge because he is winning, and he is signalling his superiority. watch Boonlai vs Somrak here Another classic example is this study of Samart Payakaroon, widely thought to be the GOAT of Muay Thai, fighting the forward knee-fighter Namphon Nongkipahayuth (below). Watch the entire fight, but also look at the study of how Samart, almost always on the ropes, command and controls Namphon's knee and clinch attack through interception and movement. In a manner different than much of Western symbology, Samart is signaling his dominance through rope work, interception and evasion. watch this study of Samart's defense along the ropes in his Golden Age rematch vs Namphon   In a general way, just at the level of style, watch this highlight compilation of the switching footwork of possibly the most artful fighter of Thailand's Golden Age, the great Karuhat Sor Supawan (below). You will see his deft switching in both attack and defense at the ropes featured here, but when in the lead and he performs his best magic, his back is to the rope. Back to the rope signals dominance. watch Muay Thai Scholar's study of the legend Karuhat's switching footwork   Dipping into Thai History and the Games of Go and Chess Thailand's Muay Thai is a fighting art and combat sport of extraordinary uniqueness. Fashioned as it has been from at least 100+ years of continuous provincial fighting deep in its countryside custom - something that may stretch back multiple centuries - fortified and shaped by Royal and State warfare, itself composed of worldwide mercenary influences, from Japanese & Javanese merchant pirates to Persian & Portuguese regimented manpower, it stands as both a cosmopolitan fighting art, and still one which has been richly woven together as wholly Buddhistic Siamese and then Thai continuity. Channeled and informed by British Boxing's colonialist, pressuring example in its modernizing period (1920-1950s), what remains most valuable in Muay Thai are the ways it is like no other fighting art. It's a purity of difference. Both lab-tested in 100,000s of full-contact ring fights multiplied by generations, and expressive of wool-dyed Buddhistic principles, this is a synergy of provincial and the Capital fight knowledge, both martial and sport, like no other in the world. They just fight differently...and have arguably been the best ring fighters in the world. The at-top diagram juxtaposing two combat inspired board games, Chess and the game of Go, aims to draw out some of the deeper philosophical and conceptual differences between Thailand's Southeast Asian fighting art and many of Western conceptions of combat, especially at the dominant image of thought level. Chess is a game of some disputed origin approximately 1,500 years ago. It was not a Western game. It's largely believed to have come from India by way of Persia. The Western Chess vocabulary is etymologically Persian, and the Persian version of the game is closest to the one adopted in Europe. Interestingly enough, the birth of Chess and its dissemination throughout the world across tradewinds corresponds roughly to the period, 3rd-6th century AD, during which Southeast Asia underwent Indianization. Indian culture became powerfully adopted throughout mainland Southeast Asia, and importantly in the history of Siam significantly informed Khmer Empire (today's Cambodia) royalty warfare and statecraft, much of which would be adopted by Siamese kings to the West. Royal, court and State culture was Indianized, bearing qualities (language, social forms, knowledges) which were not shared by the common populace. The Indianization of Southeast Asia has been culturally compared to the Roman Empire's Romanization in of Europe. And to this day Thai Royalty, its Brahmin customs and practices, the common worship of Hindu gods within a Buddhist context reflects this 1,500 years of influence of Indian culture. This is to say, when comparing Thailand's Muay Thai to the West via the game of Chess, we are speaking of a game that was of Indian and Persian origin, something quite closely braided within Siamese history. For instance, King Narai of Ayutthaya in 17th century had 200 Persian warriors as his personal guard. The influence of India and Persia is profound. What I want you to see is that Muay Thai's historical past is likely quite imbricated. There are layers upon layers of historical segmentation. Within this history the Royal form in particular had a distinctly Indianized history, and Thailand's Muay Thai has had a robust Royal history surrounding the raising of armies, large scale wars at times with armies (perhaps fancifully) rumored to approach 1,000,000 men. This Statecraft heritage is likely something we can see reflected in the game of Chess itself, the game of Kings, castles and queens. And, the history that we have of Thailand's Muay Thai is almost entirely composed of this Royal-State story, as royal record and foreign visitors to Siam's kingdoms comprises our written history. The possible story of Muay Thai that involves provincial, rural, village, regional martial and sport practices has vanished seemingly just as much as houses of wood or bamboo will not be preserved. Yet, in the nature of Southeast Asian and Siamese fighting arts we very well may see the martial contrastive martial logic of the Siamese people, especially when compared to the visions of the West. Chess, Go, Striated and Smooth Spaces In this we turn to the 4,000 year old Chinese and then Japanese game of Go (the game of surrounding). wikipedia: Japanese word igo (囲碁; いご), which derives from earlier wigo (ゐご), in turn from Middle Chinese ɦʉi gi (圍棋, Mandarin: wéiqí, lit. 'encirclement board game' or 'board game of surrounding'). I have written about the historical origins of Thailand's Muay Thai that particularly bring out its logic of surrounding and capture, a martial logic that is quite embodied in the game of Go (The Historical Foundations of Thailand's Retreating Style, or How They Became the Best Defensive Fighters In the World). In short, historians of Southeast Asia point out that unlike in Europe where land was scarce (and therefore the anchor of wealth), and manpower plentiful, conquering land and killing occupying enemies formed a basic martial logic in warfare. In Southeast Asia where fecund land was everywhere, but population sparse (especially in Siam which had been one of the least populated regions of Southasia), warfare was focused on capture and enslavement. Enemy land capture was at a minimum, and even in the case of the famed and ruinous sackings of the Siamese Capital of Ayutthaya by the Burmese, the captured territory was not held. These are just very different spatial and aim-oriented logics, in fact opposite logics. I'm using the game of Go, which expresses a fluid rationality of edge control and reversible enemy capture (captured stones add to your wealth, and don't only subtract from one's enemy), opposed to the more centric, land-control logic of Chess. A Chess of Indian-Persian statecraft which resonated with European political and warfare realities. This juxtaposition between games is not mine, though I'm probably the first to use it to illuminate combat sport perceptions in today's ring fighting. It comes from the sociologically oriented philosophers Deleuze and Guattari in their book A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. A notoriously difficult work due to its heavy reliance on invented vocabularies, and its opaque, keyed-in references to specific philosophical traditions, psychoanalysis and their theoretical problems, it still provides rich analysis of buried trends in Western social organization, and a metaphysics for thinking about the history of the world as a whole. What Deleuze and Guattari want to do in contrasting Go with Chess is to think about the different ways that Space is organized and traversed by political powers and regimes of meaning. They propose that Chess is a striated (divided, segmented, hierarchical) Space, And Go more of a smooth space. This blogged description is a good summary of the two kinds of Space: The much older game of Go is a strategy of surround and capture, wherein you turn an enemy's wealth - by our analogy labor-power - into your own. This is mirrored in Siamese warfare as reported in 1688 by an Iranian vistor, "...the struggle is wholly confined to trickery and deception. They have no intention of killing each other or of inflicting any great slaughter because if a general gained a real conquest, he would be shedding his own blood so to speak" (context, Ibrahim), full quote here. We have at surface a strong homology between foreign reports and the structural nature of the game of Go. More can be understood of my position and the role of evasion, surround-and-capture principles in this extended thread here. Diving down into the more philosophical ramifications I provide the extended Deleuze & Guattari quotation comparing the game of Chess vs the game of Go: Rather, he is like a pure and immeasurable multiplicity, the pack, an irruption of the ephemeral and the power of metamorphosis. He unties the bond just as he betrays the pact. He brings a furor to bear against sovereignty, a celerity against gravity, secrecy against the public, a power (puissance) against sovereignty, a machine against the apparatus. He bears witness to another kind of justice, one of incomprehensible cruelty at times, but at others of unequaled pity as well (because he unties bonds.. .). He bears witness, above all, to other relations with women, with animals, because he sees all things in relations of becoming, rather than implementing binary distributions between "states": a veritable becoming-animal of the warrior, a becoming-woman, which lies outside. Let us take a limited example and compare the war machine and the State apparatus in the context of the theory of games. Let us take chess and Go, from the standpoint of the game pieces, the relations between the pieces and the space involved. Chess is a game of State, or of the court: the emperor of China played it. Chess pieces are coded; they have an internal nature and intrinsic properties from which their movements, situations, and confrontations derive. They have qualities; a knight remains a knight, a pawn a pawn, a bishop a bishop. Each is like a subject of the statement endowed with a relative power, and these relative powers combine in a subject of enunciation, that is, the chess player or the game's form of interiority. Go pieces, in contrast, are pellets, disks, simple arithmetic units, and have only an anonymous, collective, or third-person function: Thus the relations are very different in the two cases. Within their milieu of interiority, chess pieces entertain biunivocal relations with one another, and with the adversary's pieces: their functioning is structural. On the other hand, a Go piece has only a milieu of exteriority, or extrinsic relations with nebulas or constellations, according to which it fulfills functions of insertion or situation, such as bordering, encircling, shattering. All by itself, a Go piece can destroy an entire constellation synchronically; a chess piece cannot (or can do so diachronically only). Chess is indeed a war, but an institutionalized, regulated, coded war, with a front, a rear, battles. But what is proper to Go is war without battle lines, with neither confrontation nor retreat, without battles even: pure strategy, whereas chess is a semiology. Finally, the space is not at all the same: in chess, it is a question of arranging a closed space for oneself, thus of going from one point to another, of occupying the maximum number of squares with the minimum number of pieces. In Go, it is a question of arraying oneself in an open space, of holding space, of maintaining the possibility of springing up at any point: the movement is not from one point to another, but becomes perpetual, without aim or destination, with out departure or arrival. The "smooth" space of Go, as against the "striated" space of chess. The nomos of Go against the State of chess, nomos against polis. The difference is that chess codes and decodes space, whereas Go proceeds altogether differently, territorializing or deterritorializing it (make the outside a territory in space; consolidate that territory by the construction of a second, adjacent territory; deterritorialize the enemy by shattering his territory from within; deterritorialize oneself by renouncing, by going elsewhere . ..). Another justice, another movement, another space-time. Deleuze & Guattari, "1227: TREATISE ON NOMADOLOGY—THE WAR MACHINE", A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia   Becoming and A Warfare of Capture What Deleuze and Guattari are invoking is a conception of warfare which is much more fully potentiated. Not locked into rigid hierarchies and roles of figures of power, it is a much more metaphysical battle that reflects aspects of what I have argued is the spiritual foundation of Thailand's Muay Thai, an animism of powers within the history of the culture that predates the arrival of Buddhism (Toward a Theory of the Spirituality of Thailand's Muay Thai). This logic of an animism of powers contains an essential aspect of captured power, the incorporated power of a captured enemy, founded on what historians of Southeast Asia have called "Soul Stuff", roughly equivalent of Hindu shakti (strength). This can be manifested in captured slave labor, or perhaps even in the prehistoric rites of cannibalism through which one consumed the soul stuff of an enemy. You can find a logic of Soul Stuff here, this graphic below helps represent the animism of contest. A primary source on soul stuff and a fusion of military and spiritual prowess can be found with historian O.W. Walters here. Thus, within the cultural origins of Siamese culture, even that which pre-dates the Indianization of the region, we have essential aspects of a smooth, tactical space in a Deleuze & Guattari sense, which potentially maps quite well into the game of Go, especially as it is contrasted to Chess.   Further in concordance with Deleuze & Guattari's philosophical concept of liberty is the way in which Thailand's Muay Thai can be understood as revolutionary in their terms. Deleuze & Guattari write of becoming-animal, becoming-child, becoming-woman, deterritorializing flights inimitable to human freedom. Thailand's Muay Thai (& broader Thai agonism) de-privileges these categories, along a continuous spectrum of thymotic struggle, which runs thru the social hierarchies of low to high, sewing them together. One could say a smooth thymotic space of trajectories. Thailand known for its (ethically criticized) child fighting, women have fought for 100+ yrs, and beetle fighting embodies much of the Muay Thai gambled form. In many important ways Thailand's Muay Thai avoids the stacked arboreal structure of Western Man (& its contrastive Others), favoring a continuity agonistic spectrum within its (Indianized) hierarchies. It has strongly weighted traditional hierarchies, but within this a thymotic line-of-becoming that runs between divinity and animality. see Beetle Fighting, Muay Thai and the Health of the Culture of Thailand - The Ecology of Fighting more on the division of divinity and animality by wicha here: Muay Thai Seen as a Rite: Sacrifice, Combat Sports, Loser as Sacred Victim Knowing-as-doing, the wicha of technical knowledge of how to do, runs between the axes of divinity and animality in a way that supports a mutuality of any figure's becoming, from the insect up to the heightened champion fighter, in a line of flight shared by others. Most Deleuzian becoming-animal, -child, -woman examples come from the arts (sometimes the bedroom), but instead in Thai, gambled agonism we have the becoming of actual animals, children, women & the projective affects of an equally agonistic audience undergoing its own becoming-as. When I say revolutionary, I say "Thailand's Muay Thai has something to teach the world about the nature of violence and its meaning." Learning From Chess in How to See Thailand's Muay Thai Keep in mind, this isn't an direct one-for-one comparison of the contemporary game of Chess (and Chess Theory) and the ring sport of Muay Thai. It compares the dominant image of thought in the conceptual trend. Some have pointed out that my gross picture of Chess leaves out its post-1920s modern Chess Theory development, which often eschews central forward advancement. What is important in the Chess example isn't how Chess was played in 1960s, say, but rather that Chess over the sweep of its history allows us to see how it expressed the martial logic from which it came, ie, how some battles were fought in the field, with advancing lines, and a central capture of territory focus. Chess I would argue contains a martial logic fingerprint in its organizational structure, just as the real life political powers of Kings, Queens, knights and bishops made their impact on its rules & formation, the increased power of the Queen on the board said to be a fine example of this (see: A Queen in Any Other Language). Even in the Hypermodernism of Chess one might say that the center still holds importance, as there are just other ways of controlling or managing it.  Hypermodernism for instance may have reflected the increased use of cannon & then WW1 artillery. Between the two games of Chess and Go are differing Martial Logics. It doesn't mean that there is zero fighting for the center in Muay Thai (or in Southeast Asian warfare...siege warfare is prominent in Ayutthaya history for instance, though with influence from the Portuguese, etc), or that there is zero edge or flank control in Western European warfare or Chess (flank maneuvers are numerous in European warfare). The contrast is really meant to exposed how we perceive conflict spatially, and that these are things we've culturally inherited. You see these inherited concepts, for instance the centrality of territory capture in common Western scoring criteria like "ring control". Centralized conflict is part of our past and informs how we judge fighting styles, just as edge conflict is part of Southeast Asia's past. And importantly this also informs our ideas of violence, with a European tendency toward "kill" (to control land, ie the center) and a SEA tendency toward "capture"(to control labor, ie the edge).  
    • Hey so im an ammateur fighting in europe mostly at DIY events. The thing is even though every fight I improve I am never able to win and its starting to get to me.  I have 5 fights in total 2 k1 and 3 muay thai and iv never won a muay thai, won 1 k1 cos my cardio was better than the other girl and I just out brawld her.  People say wow your technique is so much better than the fight I saw you in last year etc but it still feels bitter to constantly lose. I know i am improving but feel that I always just get tougher and tougher matches, the last 3 fights I lost have all been very close fights. One I lost cos my opponent got injured and broke her ankle when I bloked with a knee but she was able to hide it, another one I lost cos she was using more clean techniques and I was brawling (this one I agree with 100% cos I was landing but it was sloppy.)  The last one I lost cos my cardio was bad which is also fine. I am fine with losing, its just starting to get to me that I never win. It also kinda annoys me that the only fight I ever won was one that I just outbrawled the other girl. Feels like my improvements havnt really helped me cos I just get matched with tougher and tougher opponents each time.  Im wondering if I should give up on decision fights for a while and just do non decisions to get my condifence back up or whether I will eventually break through and be able to win. I am also kinda old at 32 so even though my technique is improving my strength, reflexes and reactions will begin to fade soon. 
    • Don't know if this brand offers shin guards but might as well check them out. I bought a few pairs of shorts from them a while ago and was genuinely impressed. https://siamkickfight.com/
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    • Don't know if this brand offers shin guards but might as well check them out. I bought a few pairs of shorts from them a while ago and was genuinely impressed. https://siamkickfight.com/
    • Hi all, I have paid a deposit to a gym in Pai near Chiang Mai to train at in January. I am now concerned about the pollution levels at that time of year because of the burning season. Can you recommend a location that is likely to have safer air quality for training in January? I would like to avoid Bangkok and Phuket, if possible. Thank you!
    • 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.
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