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A couple of questions about the promotion of Muay Boran in Thailand


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Hi all, I'm writing a sociology essay on some of the different ways Muay Thai embodies and symbolises cultural values and perspectives (e.g. masculine/patriarchal, buddhistic/moral, nationalistic/communal, aesthetic/class tastes) and am hoping to draw on library sessions and interviews as part of my data. Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this, or if these questions have been answered elsewhere (I have searched here and elsewhere, but don't speak or read Thai).

In a (recent?) library session it was mentioned that cash bonuses are sometimes given out for performing Muay Boran techniques during fights - I was wondering if this was in both Lumpini and Rajadamnarn (and anywhere else) and how long this has been going on.

Relatedly, it's my understanding that something like Muay Thai/Boran is has, or is still often, taught in children's physical education classes - does anyone know how common this is?

Thanks for reading

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I'm sure you've run into Peter Vail's work as he has several things to say about Muay Thai and its image building. I've specultatively written a lot on these subjects, but perhaps in aspects that would not be helpful. You can find my studies here:

https://8limbsus.com/muay-thai-forum/forum/23-kevins-corner-muay-thai-philosophy-ethics/

As to your specific questions I think we have only very surface answers. There was a Lumpinee bonus policy (and a sign in the locker room) for specific technique knockouts. But we don't have details on those (it seems it wasn't much of an incentive.) Not sure about Rajadamnern. I think Channel 7 had bonuses, but not sure. These may have not been mostly Boran techniques. Sorry, these are just things we've run into in passing. And yes we are told that Muay Thai is part of the physical education in school. None of this information is established or detailed enough though to include in a study, unfortunately.

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Hey thanks for this! That's as good an answer on the bonuses as I could have hoped for, although it'd of been fascinating to know if it was supposed to be someting like promoting/hyping up Boran (particularly in contrast to how entertainment promotions like ONE handle bonuses).

I'm drawing on Vail quite a bit for a bit of historical/political economy overview, although my focus is more on how everyday meanings like Buddhist virtues are performed by fighters (in comparison to something like MMA as having both highly practical/ruthless elements and very performative holywood-esque aspects). Thanks for directing me to your writings - I'll certainly read some of these, particularly as I'm employing Bourdieu which I see you've also done in some of these.

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On 6/14/2023 at 4:49 AM, IanD said:

although it'd of been fascinating to know if it was supposed to be someting like promoting/hyping up Boran

Nah, I don't really think it is that, at least in the way that we think of Boran now, like a lost form of archaic Muay Thai. In general there has been an increasing pressure from gambler interests to reduce risk-taking moves. This has resulted in fewer and fewer techniques being seen in the ring (it has been said). Maybe there was a sense that they wanted to stimulate more risk-taking, more technical skills being shown (but not necessarily because they were older). I don't think the bonus techniques were all Boran (Older), maybe just more varied. But as far as we heard not many fighters really pursued these bonuses in an effective way.

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The bonuses are at both Lumpinee and Rajadamnern (although I can't tell you if it's still at Lumpinee now), and, as far as I know, it's the same 5 moves. If you win by KO using one of these moves, you get a 10,000 baht bonus. These are, technically speaking, Mae Mai Muay Thai, which means the artforms of Muay Thai and Muay Boran consists entirely of those, but Thais would refer to these moves as the former. They are intended, as far as I know, as incentives to use traditional artistic movements, but fighters aren't generally bold enough to go for them due to gambling pressures making fighters more conservative.

The Mae Mai Muay Thai basics are taught in PE courses throughout Thailand, but it might be a one or two day course, or even a field trip, and aren't something as comprehensive as extra-curricular sports are. Maybe like how in America we had a day or week of Square Dancing and Line Dancing, but not a full course of instruction for it. Arjan Prayod, who taught Namkabuan and Nampon, is a school teacher (P.E.) as well as a Muay Thai gym manager, but he took kids that he saw with promise from sports in school and invited them to his gym; but he has worked with the government in designing school curricula with Muay Thai, little handbooks; we have one. If I can find it I'll send you photos of the pages.

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21 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Nah, I don't really think it is that, at least in the way that we think of Boran now, like a lost form of archaic Muay Thai. In general there has been an increasing pressure from gambler interests to reduce risk-taking moves. This has resulted in fewer and fewer techniques being seen in the ring (it has been said). Maybe there was a sense that they wanted to stimulate more risk-taking, more technical skills being shown (but not necessarily because they were older). I don't think the bonus techniques were all Boran (Older), maybe just more varied. But as far as we heard not many fighters really pursued these bonuses in an effective way.

Yep that makes a lot of sense considering the different perspectives and priorities of the promoters, gamblers, and fighters.

5 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

The bonuses are at both Lumpinee and Rajadamnern (although I can't tell you if it's still at Lumpinee now), and, as far as I know, it's the same 5 moves. If you win by KO using one of these moves, you get a 10,000 baht bonus. These are, technically speaking, Mae Mai Muay Thai, which means the artforms of Muay Thai and Muay Boran consists entirely of those, but Thais would refer to these moves as the former. They are intended, as far as I know, as incentives to use traditional artistic movements, but fighters aren't generally bold enough to go for them due to gambling pressures making fighters more conservative.

The Mae Mai Muay Thai basics are taught in PE courses throughout Thailand, but it might be a one or two day course, or even a field trip, and aren't something as comprehensive as extra-curricular sports are. Maybe like how in America we had a day or week of Square Dancing and Line Dancing, but not a full course of instruction for it. Arjan Prayod, who taught Namkabuan and Nampon, is a school teacher (P.E.) as well as a Muay Thai gym manager, but he took kids that he saw with promise from sports in school and invited them to his gym; but he has worked with the government in designing school curricula with Muay Thai, little handbooks; we have one. If I can find it I'll send you photos of the pages.

Ah yep, by Boran I did just mean anything that would be perceived as being more in line with 'traditional artistic movement' than contemporary muay. I perhaps complicated my question by using 'Boran' given the technical specificity that might suggest, as my main interest was just whether the bonuses had any kind of 'cultural promotion' angle (regardless of how superficial that might actually be) and why I was connecting it to Thai P.E lessons that might have a similar element of drawing upon/constructing that sense of historical connection and identity. Thanks very much for following up on this, though please don't bother digging around for that handbook on my account!

21 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Can you flesh this out at all?

Everyday meanings? Performed in what sense?

Yep, so I'll try (I unfortunately lost a 3 paragraph draft as gmail/doc's autosave as made me complacent with leaving my pc, so attempt #2. P.S. aaaand I wrote more than I intended, apologies).

By everyday meanings I mainly mean in contrast with the kind of heavily political and quite abstract analysis that I find Vail gives of Muay Thai as political economy/history (I'm thinking particularly of 'Muay Thai: inventing tradition'), where the focus is on how the fairly poorly documented historic martials arts of Muay in the Thai precursor states came to be understood as distinctly Muay Thai due to conscious efforts by various political elites constructing a nationalist mythology around it as a military defensive art (according to Vail and the Thai scholars he draws on).

Rather than this quite historically extended analysis, what I'm interested in are the understandings and meanings at play in Muay Thai as it is instantiated locally, reliably recreated as actual events, e.g. people achieving the doing of Muay Thai. In Bourdieuian terms this something like how the relevant acquired habitus, field, and doxa supervene/coconstitute one another.

By 'everyday' I'm also pointing to the ethnomethodological nature of social institutions as a continually ongoing accomplishment of tacit communication and organisation that, remarkably, generates this sense of stable order, normality, and everydayness - Muay Thai, as a combat sport, is very jarring to people who don't understand this order, just as encountering any institutional field for the first time can be (e.g. airport security, a courtroom, a psychiatric ward).

By meanings plural, I mean the fantastically dense and rich set of meanings that Muay Thai has: religous, economic, gendered, national, rural-urban relations, not to mention personal and aesthetic meanings in terms of the different kinds of agency one can pursue through it. By performing I mean the way that fighters in Muay Thai acknowledge and represent this dense set of relations through things like the wai khru, ram muay, and of course their muay. Bodies have their own culturally dominant meanings and expectations too of course, and playing with or against these expectations strikes me as being central to how fighters enact their agency and actually 'do' muay thai, such as through fighting with or against the dominant meanings and expectations of your background, gender, body 'type', size etc.

I'm drawing on Thi Nguyen's 'Games: agency as art' here and his notion of the aesthetic spaces made by the roles, rules, and values of games as being spaces of possible agency that people can explore (games and play being how we first simulate so many things, like 'defeating' a parent in chess or monopoly, practicing misdirection, deception, observation etc). Nguyen gives his own experience of learning to rock climb as an adult as being the first time he ever felt 'graceful', for instance (Muay, for me is at least, is full of little moments of this where you feel like you just found out a new way you can do something, and so have expanded your possibilities of expression/performance). I imagine gambling likely has these kinds of experience too, though perhaps more cognitive and straightforwardly 'game' like than embodied.

Hopefully that kind of makes sense and isn't too laboured. To situate that within the context of my essay, I'm trying to 'show' the sociological basis for what I take to be the particular aesthetic make up of Muay Thai, in terms of its particular judging system and norms of conduct as being reflective of the rich network of social locations and cultural meanings it has historically connected as an institution.

I want to note that I'm absolutely not an expert in either the practice of Muay Thai nor Thai culture and that this is a bit of a passion project for me, as I find Muay Thai both fascinating and underresearched, particularly in terms of the kind of mid-level analysis I'm hoping to give. I find the existing literature is kind of frustratingly split between either auto-ethnographies by academics who are more aless just discussing how they experienced it and then using it to talk about their main research interest (usually through being in a western gym) or are very macroscopic in terms of historical political-economic organisation, such as what I've read by Vail and Rennesson (though I haven't read Vail's phd thesis which appears more anthropological).

Edited by IanD
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5 hours ago, IanD said:

I find the existing literature is kind of frustratingly split between either auto-ethnographies by academics who are more aless just discussing how they experienced it and then using it to talk about their main research interest (usually through being in a western gym) or are very macroscopic in terms of historical political-economic organisation, such as what I've read by Vail and Rennesson (though I haven't read Vail's phd thesis which appears more anthropological).

Agree. It's incredibly under researched and investigated.

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15 hours ago, IanD said:

By 'everyday' I'm also pointing to the ethnomethodological nature of social institutions as a continually ongoing accomplishment of tacit communication and organisation that, remarkably, generates this sense of stable order, normality, and everydayness - Muay Thai, as a combat sport, is very jarring to people who don't understand this order, just as encountering any institutional field for the first time can be (e.g. airport security, a courtroom, a psychiatric ward).

To me, most of this understanding is to be found in the social form of the kaimuay. This has great variability, but as family space, the pseudo-orphanage, the novice monk parallel, the "camp" in all of its forms captures the meaning of Muay Thai as a social practice and a subject-conditioning context. But there is very little of value written about this.

Maybe the "best" (?) isn't Muay Thai or the same culture at all, Loic Wacquant - Body & Soul_ Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (2003)

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25 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Sylvie's thoughts on masculinity and monkhood in Peter Vail's dissertation chapter are pretty good:

https://8limbsus.com/blog/thai-masculinity-postioning-nak-muay-between-monkhood-and-nak-leng-peter-vail

 

Thanks for this - this is gold and exactly what I'm gesturing in taking Muay Thai to have religous connections tacitly encoded into it as a bodily art in terms of its mind set and also how it is aesthetically understood and evaluated (at least by those who have the familiarity and orientation to perceive and evaluate these meanings themselves).

Quote

Monks are said to offer the laity a “field of merit”: by performing good deeds for monks and the temple, lay devotees are able to accrue bun, religious merit.  Without overly belaboring a tenuous point, I would point out that boxers, during a performance, offer something structurally similar: the opportunity for spectators to bet, which, as I’ve suggested in chapter four, may be related to notions of power and karma.  Wagering on boxing does for bettors what making merit does for lay practitioners: it provides them the opportunity to increase and test their power and merit. (p. 5)

This sort of indirect relationship that gamblers and boxers have where they sort of mutually enable one another's existence is exactly what I find so fascinating and deep about Muay Thai, particularly as it seems to have a measurable impact on how the worthiness of fighters is perceived and judged, particularly in comparison with the Western trend towards quantification in judging (e.g. number of punches thrown, landed etc). Again thinking of social organisation as somewhat game or play like, the gamblers and boxers are 


The list of academic resources linked to from this article is gold and I feel very silly for having not looked or asked for resources here first and instead been slowly finding them myself over the last few months! There's clearly a lot of work been put into this and I think it's quite incredible - really the sort of thing that should be getting Arts/Sports ministry funding.

 

9 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

To me, most of this understanding is to be found in the social form of the kaimuay. This has great variability, but as family space, the pseudo-orphanage, the novice monk parallel, the "camp" in all of its forms captures the meaning of Muay Thai as a social practice and a subject-conditioning context. But there is very little of value written about this.

Maybe the "best" (?) isn't Muay Thai or the same culture at all, Loic Wacquant - Body & Soul_ Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (2003)

 

Absolutely, kaimuay are such strong institutions (at least historically) in terms of the intensity of control and inculcation taking place, as well as having that odd overlap with some elements of temples in terms of being a kind of alternative educational path - almost like going into a trade apprenticeship or something.

Wacquant has a lot of great stuff in terms of structural analysis and cultural sociology, but I found his actual engagement with boxing a bit self-centered. It's been a couple of years since I last looked closely but I remember feeling frustrated at what I felt was a lack of engagement with the younger boxers motivations and understandings, and the way he described the 'erotic dancers' at one of the clubs in quite shallow terms rather than exploring how they too are seeking to develop and utilise their bodily capital through the paths available to them, just as the (male) boxers were. The first half of the book and the focus on the gym as a moral institution is great though for sure.

I also found his promise of a truly 'carnal' sociology a bit underdelivered on in terms of really showing or grounding cultural analysis in bodily practice, which I think is a bit of a perpetual struggle for Bourdieuian analysis, and I remember there being a bit of a split between Wacquant's structural analysis and his autoethnography - though to be fair I think part of that is just that theories of mind and body have developed quite rapidly since the 90s. In terms of underresearched areas, Wacquant's notebooks would almost certainly not have been published if he wasn't Bourdieu's protege.

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5 hours ago, IanD said:

but I found his actual engagement with boxing a bit self-centered.

Agree. It's very hard to find a Baby Bear. Most everyone who enters the "alien" environment as an uninitiated is overwhelmed with their own experiences. Quite honestly the best - though never formalized as academic - work, ethnographic work is probably Sylvie's writing itself.

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5 hours ago, IanD said:

where they sort of mutually enable one another's existence is exactly what I find so fascinating and deep about Muay Thai, particularly as it seems to have a measurable impact on how the worthiness of fighters is perceived and judged, particularly in comparison with the Western trend towards quantification in judging

Yes, its a radically different kind of conception. The Western sport concept of "fair" is the elimination of outside influence and largely a question of measurement or tabulation. The best description I've found of Thai (festival style) fight gambling logic, in the literature, was Clifford Geertz's classic study of Balinese Cockfighting. This mapped very well onto things we've experienced. I attach that essay in this post:

 

I talk about the Thai gambling reality of "other minds" and outside forces beyond the ring in this speculative post, which pulls in the necessary connection to powers beyond the ropes:

 

The concept of merit earning though, I think, has to be central.

 

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My experience is that there is an absolute dearth of English language study on Thailand's Muay Thai, even broadly, but that the kinds of questions you are digging into fall into the center of the aporia. One has to really reach out into other subjects or examples of study, from other cultures...or, look for the examination of other aspects of Thai or Southeast Asian culture, and just piece together a perspective. Most of the first hand adventure tourism contacts are quite myopic, and the few more academic approaches lack direct involvement. There is no Bourdieu-like perspective that is out there. And really only Sylvie through her documentary work, and her historic fight record experiences (nearly 300 fights), even brings the material for making such a perspective...though that isn't her intent. 

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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. 
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