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Carter

switching to southpaw reasons?

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(Im new to this so I dont know if my formatting is correct or if Im posting in the right place, sorry)  I am heavily interested in the Muay Khao style of fighting, I noticed that Sylvie noted that she switched to southpaw after years of being orthodox in her Muay Thai Library on Patreon. Are there reasons that anyone or Sylvie herself changed to southpaw? Since most of her opponents seem to be orthodox, is it because her left knee to the orthodoxes open side is more available instead of having to switch stance? 

Thank you for everyones responses in advance!

also as an introduction since this is my first post. Hi! Im Carter, im 17 and I started Muay Thai in August.

Edited by Carter
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Thanks for studying the Library and supporting it!

That's a good question. There are general reasons why southpaws have advantages over orthodox fighters, and this reasons are even bigger in Thailand because Thailand scores openside strikes higher than closed side strikes. The southpaw fighter has an open power alley to that open side, with the rear kick, a spearing knee and the left straight all "open". Of course the orthodox fighter in mixed stances ALSO has his/her power weapons "open" to attack the open side, but the supposed advantage is that there are many more orthodox fighters than southpaw fighters so southpaw are more comfortable in this faceoff of power side weapons, have spent much more time evolving their game to take advantage of it. For instance a lot of Thai southpaws traditionally developed very big left kicks (Yodsanklai is a perfect example, but there are many).

In Sylvie's case though, it was for a different reason. As a caveat, lots of traditional Muay Thai training and older forms of Muay Thai were taught ambidextrously. There was much less of a single stance emphasis. This has really changed in contemporary Muay Thai. In the Samart Payakaroon session you can see this, Samart tells us he doesn't even know which stance he is, southpaw or orthodox. There are several sessions in the Library which show this ambidextrous quality from the older school. So switching is part of the heritage of Muay Thai.

In Sylvie's case the move to Southpaw was recommended by the legend Karuhat who had cornered for her quite a bit, and trained her many times, as a solution to a problem she was having in orthodox. Sylvie is a Muay Khao fighter with lots of emphasis on clinch. From orthodox she had a problem with her primary grab with her lead arm. She would overturn. Which is to say the arm would wrap around too deeply, with the elbow behind the neck, and she would find herself somewhat bladed, with her lead foot between her opponent's feet. This is a very disadvantageous opening position for clinch. She would work her way back to positive positions most of the time, but against a few adept clinch fighters it would result in bad rounds or losses, because she started with a disadvantage. Karuhat moved her to southpaw to basically short circuit this clinch grab and overturn, and make her more squared up in initial clinch positions. Also, he reasoned, putting her power side up front (her right handed power) would give her more confidence in space, make her more offensively potent.

Karuhat himself was a beautiful switching fighter, so in a way it wasn't really to become southpaw, more so as to build it that side of the attack and defense, so that one could switch. But first Sylvie had to commit to just Southpaw. I think she did so for two years. If you don't commit to it you just back out of it once you get stressed or uncomfortable. You have to learn how to solve problems from the left side. It takes time.

A few things were pretty apparent. The first is that it did seem to correct the clinch overturn grab, and make her more square. Also, offensively she was more willing to fight in the pocket, and her left kick seemed to come out more easily, without some of the bad habits her right kick had developed. She beat several world champion level fighters as a southpaw.

One of the challenges of moving to southpaw though, was that while offense seemed to get an automatic boost, defensively instincts suffered. This pretty common. You just are not used to seeing strikes from that orientation, you are through The Looking Glass. In Thailand this can be an issue because your openside will be exposed to big scores. As a Southpaw you have to be able to close your openside. Karuhat helped solve this to some degree with the Forward Check, as a kind of defensive cheat, which squares you up some, and also threatens attack (or switching), but mostly this defensive weakness of a new stance was lessened by simply being a pressure fighter. If you are newly as a southpaw and laying back in space, you can be picked off quite easily, but as a pressure fighter the time you spend at risk is decreased.

This is the session in the Library where Sylvie actually makes the switch, you can watch it in real time over a few days, and she talks about the reasons for it:

#20 Karuhat Sor Supawan 3 - Switching To Southpaw (144 min) watch it here 

2x Lumpinee Champion Karuhat Sor. Supawan in this epic video posts installs a limited Southpaw core which leads to developing high level ideas found in his switching style: tracking and attacking the open side, watching for and dictating weight transfer. This is the blueprint of a legend's acclaimed fighting style. 

 

After about 2 years of really devoting herself to southpaw, I believe, Sylvie went back to orthodox, because at that point in her development she felt that the most important next step was learning how to bring more relaxation into her muay, and southpaw still had elements of stress and discomfort in it. What two years did though was to open up the possibility of switching as the occasion called for, more like how Karuhat fought. It built out an alternate side grammar. 

 

I hope that helps!

 

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Posted (edited)

Wow, this was extremely helpful. I've been watching some of Sylvie's older fights and kept hearing her talk about the overturning problem and how frustrated it made her. Being able to switch I knew had advantages but I didn't think deeply enough to realize that it can help you fight the way you may be looking to fight (more offensively and defensivley), perhaps switching can also point out mistakes you had in your original stance aswell, and would definitely help you fight against someone who is southpaw because you will have a general idea of the advantages and train to counter that. I can see where her evolution went in that, switching stances was important in her journey for reaching where she is now trying to achieve more relaxation. That is absolutely beautiful. And as an aspiring pressure, muay khao style, fighter myself I'll have some more things to look out for and pay attention to. And I really appreciate the link to that video.

Again, thank you!!!

Edited by Carter
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This is something I reflected on a lot the past two years when I moved to Myanmar. I'm left-handed but orthodox. In lethwei the fight style is different, you don't strike and move back to original position, rather you move forward and strike and strike again whike going from southpawto orthodoxand to southpaw again. For example you do a jab cross left knee/kick (as orthodox) while doing your cross punch you move forward end up in southpaw position and knee/kick from southpaw stance (rather than do a switch knee or switch kick). And in lethwei you often practise both stances while doing pads. It doesnt look very elegant. But. The benefit for me has been injury control. I have one bad knee and being able to switch stance better has easened the pressure on my bad knee, I use both sides of my body in a more balanced manner. However it messes up balance and you need to learn how to place your feet correctly. But as injury prevention it's gold when I feel my bad knee and want to protect it from knee teeps, I switch stance. Maybe from a muay thai scoring point of view it doesn't make sense but for me to manage injuries and keep both sides of my body strong it's been great. Also good for confidence to learn Im strong in both stances.  

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18 hours ago, Carter said:

And as an aspiring pressure, muay khao style, fighter myself I'll have some more things to look out for and pay attention to.

One of the semi-principles of traditional Muay Khao style is a tendency to square up, I believe, because clinch is a squared-up technique set (mostly). To me this involves principles like keeping your opponent in front of you (not overturning on strike follow throughs), and advancing on the end of strikes (like stepping down after a knee in space, etc). This means often sacrificing power of any single strike, because strikes lead to other strikes, within a kind of squaring tendency. You can see this in Yodkhupon's footwork and pressure attacks, for instance. The Muay Khao fighter is "persistence hunting", setting up for a kill later in the fight. This means that even non-switching Muay Khao fighters of the past were adept at striking fairly square, and sometimes in the opposite stance by situation, and provides a natural connection point to close pressed western boxing.

In the Library an interesting footwork centered recent session is this one on Boran balance, working towards a sense of flow.

#117 Kru Kin Por Promin - Muay Boran Precision, Balance & Flow (93 min) watch it here 

A beautiful session under the instruction of Kru Kin teaching the foundations of Muay Boran, revealing the underlying basics of Thailand's ring Muay Thai. Balance, precision and flow. These are the principles that are the bones of Muay Thai, keys to footwork and transition and effective fighting. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2022 at 1:41 AM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

One of the semi-principles of traditional Muay Khao style is a tendency to square up, I believe, because clinch is a squared-up technique set (mostly). To me this involves principles like keeping your opponent in front of you (not overturning on strike follow throughs), and advancing on the end of strikes (like stepping down after a knee in space, etc). This means often sacrificing power of any single strike, because strikes lead to other strikes, within a kind of squaring tendency. You can see this in Yodkhupon's footwork and pressure attacks, for instance. The Muay Khao fighter is "persistence hunting", setting up for a kill later in the fight. This means that even non-switching Muay Khao fighters of the past were adept at striking fairly square, and sometimes in the opposite stance by situation, and provides a natural connection point to close pressed western boxing.

In the Library an interesting footwork centered recent session is this one on Boran balance, working towards a sense of flow.

#117 Kru Kin Por Promin - Muay Boran Precision, Balance & Flow (93 min) watch it here 

A beautiful session under the instruction of Kru Kin teaching the foundations of Muay Boran, revealing the underlying basics of Thailand's ring Muay Thai. Balance, precision and flow. These are the principles that are the bones of Muay Thai, keys to footwork and transition and effective fighting. 

I'm sorry I didn't get to reply earlier I've been busy with school this week! But I'm very appreciative about your efforts to help me find and journey through the concept of southpaw fighting as a muay khao and the idea of the advantage of the ambidextrous ability! Last night I went to my class and was doing pad work and sparring in southpaw. It surprisingly for me was quite comfortable (besides throwing elbows). I REALLY noticed a sort of flow coming out of my pressure due to being able to go from southpaw to orthodox by following through with strikes and making that a step into the other stance felt incredibly fluid. I will definitely continue to do southpaw so I can play with what it can do. A problem I've been running into is learning how to close distance, part of it is cutting the habit of being on the "railroad tracks" as Sylvie likes to describe it and learning how to make angles and have good foot work for muay khao style, but I think that is something that will come to me overtime as i work on it. I forgot who, I think it was Yodkhunpon, that had this beautiful galloping foot work that I'd love to get used to. Just thought I'd give an update to how that journey is going! Again thank you for your help and abundant knowledge on the topic!

 

Karuhat has such unique movement in how his fakes are part of his fluid head and body movement. it isn't a jerk of the body.

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