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What Muay Thai Patriarchy Looks Like - A Sliver of a View

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The photo and my thoughts written two years ago, worth preserving here:

This is what Patriarchy looks like. It is not some great evil, though certainly great evils have been committed through its tendencies, as have many goods. It's a structure, a form. You can see it in this silhouette. In the midst of all these men, and boys, thronging like like fish in a Natural school, is one of the greatest fighters of this generation, Great in terms of magnitude, Great in the old sense of the word. There are probably more fights in her single body than all the fights in all the other bodies in the ring...or at least it is not absurd to imagine it so, and to make the count. But, this is the thing. It is an absolute struggle, more difficult than any fight, or even any year of fighting, for Sylvie to even stand here, right where you see her now...in the sparring ring. Every male flows, Naturally, into this ring, like pouring water into a glass. Sylvie fights white-knuckle and teeth-gritting to even stand there, with an adequate sparring partner. It's not that Pi Nu doesn't support her, or women, he is one of the most receptive Thai trainers to female fighters we've ever seen in Thailand, and gives so much. It's that the Form of fighting does not include women, it's not in its core syntax. So it is always as if you are trying to insert a loan word, or a turn of grammar, from another language. And in the case of Sylvie who is an absolute unicorn of commitment, experience and skill, it's a very strange word indeed. It always has to be "put in" the conversation. This means she is forever, and somewhat painfully always wedging herself into the Form, and it will never end, no matter how historic she or her accomplishments become. This is the Form. And, it is even more uncomfortable than that. As a child of the Patriarchy - and I do not use this as a Bad Word, only a descriptor, "founded on the Father", arche, the Old word implies analogical things like "cornerstone", "root", Ur Source - she embodies, and reswallows the Forms of Patriarchy. She feels, instinctively as a buried intuition, that female aggression is suspect, and that it may not work out well. This does not just mean the throwing of fists, but also the insistence and persistence that one needs to Practice the throwing of fists, ultimately to be a part of the Form, regularly. There is just a low ceiling set for women in Thailand, and likely elsewhere, that if you can RIP the pads better than anyone else in the gym, fight hard and regularly winning most of your fights...you have arrived. You are "done". It cannot be conceived by anyone around her the kind of fighter she yearns to be, the kind that Shakes the Earth. So they cannot imagine why she should spar now like madwoman, or, fight like a madwoman either. Just smash the pads, spar once in a while, take your place as a unicorn. They cannot imagine the thirst and the hunger that has taken her thus far, and will take her infinitely farther. So, she takes up her leaden inheritance of passivity and obedience, lugs it to the gym, to the Church of Patriarchy, and yearns out a few small steps toward what can only be seen as a transcendence, a making. All in lead, she forces her way into the sparring ring. How to make that lead Gold. The alchemy of Ages.

This is the cauldron, the crucifix. People think it's the Fight ring, but it is here, in this ring, the sparring ring, where "everyone" is welcome, and a unicorn is not (shackled from within, and without). Sylvie pulled a trick. If you (or I) won't let me be shaped by the Form, I'll just fight it out in the REAL ring. I'll use fights - a hoard and a boatload of them, a historic number - to just transform myself, shoot myself out like a star, where none have been. And that has been an incredible hack of the Form, but it only takes one so far. The ring of real alchemy is in the training ring, where the landscape of Patriarchy is most rich and subtle. That is the next battlefield, where the overburden of inheritance can be stripped away, and Eyes, yes eyes, can be truly grown. Eyes are the only path to Yodmuay. There is no other path. And Eyes must be found in the Caldron of the Form. You have to stand there, until standing there means nothing at all.

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