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This is a topic that really gets under my skin, every single day. 
In Australia, there are always the 1-4 girls in the gym that want to show off everything they got; but in Phuket, it seems like there is a painfully small amount of women who don't actually want to expose every inch of their body.

Now, I'd like you to know I am all for women (and men) expressing themselves and feeling good in their own skin... But these particular women that wear crop tops that literally cover half their (usually fake) boobs, and bike shorts that show what should be our 'private parts' all too clearly. If you're comfortable dressing like this, well, that's wonderful. but don't you see that you're attracting all the wrong attention? Married men are struggling with themselves to not feel some-typa-way, young boys can see you... (I've even had one of my trainers 10yr old sons come up and ask me why P'Jazmine doesn't dress like the other ladies, and then whisper in my ear that he could see her 'peepee' and he's happy I dress like a boy, I should wear big clothes all the time. Then later told me I should keep my shirt on, not always dress like a boy. Haha.) And in most gyms there are usually one or more little girls running about too; like, I know it is common for mother's to dress their daughters up how they deem 'beautiful', which clearly some mothers think sexy = beautiful, instead of cute and innocent. But what kind of example do you think you're setting for them? They're looking up to you and watching you whether you like it or not. That is our next generation. And it's all fine and dandy for people to say this generation is quite f'd up, and I completely agree, but who raised it? Who was this generation brought up by? Yes, it is a hard truth to swallow. But it's just that: the truth. 

Ultimately, you're setting a screwed up example for young girls, and even other women. Of course everyone can think for themselves and it shouldn't have to be your responsibility per say, but it is unnecessary, distasteful, and disrespectful to your own body, and to others too. 
And on another note: if a man is married or in a relationship, don't flirt with him. If he thinks it's okay to mess about, set him in his place. It may piss him off, but you will earn more respect for doing so. 


Much, much more to be said, but that's all from me for now. Your turn! :thumbsup:  
 

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Oh, yeah. Before coming to Thailand I had never seen a woman train in a sports bra/crop top. And I thought it's no big deal if they wanted to, anyone should wear whatever they feel comfortable wearing.

Then in Thailand, I've ended up at a gym where most women are serious about their training and not about their looks. Until one day a woman came in for the day and trained in a sports bra. It was so weird. The trainers were making comments about it, jokingly telling us "Tomorrow, you, too!" The boys weren't sure if they should stare at her or ignore her. I was glad she was only here for a day.

If it was just the grown-up foreigners at the gym, whatever, I don't care. But there are mostly 13-18 year old thai boys here, brought up in a culture that doesn't generally embrace nudity. It just feels wrong to provoke that kind of attention as a grown-up woman .

I came to Thailand having done my research about the culture and left everything that could be considered offensive back home. I don't like wearing a t-shirt and shorts in a sauna or pool, but I accept it. When I see girls dressing the way they do back home and trying to bend the rules, I can't help but think that they are being disrespectful. And irresponsible, too, because why would you want an 18 year old boy to develop a crush on you, if you are 10 years his senior and leaving in a couple of weeks?

Same goes for the guys, too. You never see the Thais go for their run shirtless, so why are you doing it?

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Interesting you ladies mention this. Lol I always am very careful to throw a shirt on any time I leave the gym (even if it's just stepping outside briefly), even when it is deathly hot out. Surprised how many people come to other countries and don't respect the local culture. There are always going to be mistakes made, but at least try!

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Basically, I'm fat so I usually feel unconfortable in tight clothes. I went a long road to even start wearing thai shorts (and I ALWAYS wear them on long leggins) that were exposing my fat tights :D I felt most comfortable in my baggy pants and t-shirt, but as I went on training I realised it's not the most comfortable attire to train in for me, so I changed it a bit. :)

In my understanding a gym is a place where we reveal a lot of what we don't normally do among people - we sweat, we exhale loudly, we shout (sometimes), we get all red in the face and on top of that we train together while being all sweaty. This is why I want to expose as little as possible of my skin that comes in contact with another people's skin - e.g. during clinching. I feel distracted when I wear a shirt that has a bit of a lower neckline and I don't want to get the attention of anyone by flashing my cleavage while streching. I don't really care if anyone sees it, but the point is, I come to train, not to show off my body (not that I have anything to show off anyway :D).

I really like rashguards though, even though they cling tightly to your body, they are a "wall" between my skin and the skin of others :D I don't know if this can be understood as "revealing" though...

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I've seen both men and women dress completely inappropriately for the gym - men wearing speedos, and ONLY speedos to train in, not wearing a shirt when running (down here in Pattaya it seems the no-shirt and no-shoes goes everywhere; even saw a woman in the 7-11 wearing a bikini and no cover up at all), men and women not wearing underwear... the thing is that for the men, it makes us women incredibly uncomfortable but my all-male Thai trainers never cared. They think it's funny, but Den said "I'm a man, he's a man, why should I care." Basically, he's not looking.  But for women, even clothing that isn't considered inappropriate in the west garners MASSIVE attention here. And behavior exacerbates that; you can wear sweatpants and a T-shirt and still stir up the gym with flirtatious behavior.

It's so interesting to see so many of you talking about how your gyms are, because it's very much the case and not something that westerners think about at all when they come here. You're basically training with young boys. By watching how absolutely rude, inappropriate, impolite and culturally "off" westerners can be when they come to visit Thailand (it's not only westerners, but the gaffes tend to be in a different direction from tourists of other varieties) it's that we seem to think that the entire country is keen to host our "MTV Spring Break" vacations. Thai culture isn't like that - in fact, OUR culture isn't like that, but we're on vacation and so we act outside of what's acceptable for our own behavior and the non-confrontational nature and kind of "adult playground" of Thailand's hands-off approach to legality creates an atmosphere where a lot of people are just being total asses.

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Interesting, I'm not a fighter but I've recently started following Muay Thai and MMA fighters on face book and watching fights on youtube. Most of the women who show up in my feed are wearing shorts/skorts and a sports bra/crop top. As someone who is an outsider to the sport I assumed that to be the standard attire for female fighters. 

Do gyms have a dress code? Are there rules about what fighters can and can't wear in the ring?

Of course sex sells and in many professional sports women's attire is revealing to appeal to a heterosexual male audience.

 

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Interesting, I'm not a fighter but I've recently started following Muay Thai and MMA fighters on face book and watching fights on youtube. Most of the women who show up in my feed are wearing shorts/skorts and a sports bra/crop top. As someone who is an outsider to the sport I assumed that to be the standard attire for female fighters. 

Do gyms have a dress code? Are there rules about what fighters can and can't wear in the ring?

Of course sex sells and in many professional sports women's attire is revealing to appeal to a heterosexual male audience.

 

It's a complicated issue because what Jazzy initially started saying and what most of the responses have been coming from are based in Thailand, which itself a complicated thing to try to navigate. It's hot as Hades all the time and visitors to the country have a misrepresentation of the entire nation as being like the Bangkok Red Light District in movies (imagine thinking all of the US was like Vegas, or all of Mexico is like the resort beaches of Cancun), so there's an assumed "anything goes and I should dress like I'm at the beach all the time" attitude. Thing is, Thailand is a fairly conservative culture - not in all ways and not in all places, but pretty universally not the kind of place where dressing in less is going to be met with respect for your space and body. Thais don't even wear bathing suits at the beach - most swim fully clothed.

So the issue of sports bras and crop tops as discussed here is in reference to that culture. It kind of riles up the gym because it's still a heavily male space and how a woman dresses is perceived to be how she wants to be treated. Even if you wear T-shirt and shorts, simply being a woman means it's worth a go to flirt with you and see if it takes. But the clothes are seen as a message; I reckon that's true in the west, too, but in a less overt perception.

However, in Phuket it's not that unusual to see women fighting in a sports bra. On TV the "Muay Thai Angels" show, which is the biggest (as in most expensive) production of female fights definitely sells the looks of its fighters and the women fight in some pretty uncomfortable outfits, which include crop tops. I've been given a crop top to fight in on TV once. But you'll also find lots of Thai and western women fighting in tank tops or T-shirts, which I think is more standard everywhere. What's truly shocking (and I would find it so in the west also), are women who show up to training with their breasts barely covered by their tops, shorts that are too short or you can see their underwear or lack of underwear when they kick; some women, very rarely, will come to training in a bikini. It's bizarre. And heavily inappropriate.

I think this issue translates to the west as well though. Lots of women come to training in yoga pants or layered tops that are loose enough to shift around and expose more than what they seem to be covering. Women should be able to wear whatever we're comfortable in, but it's really not that simple because of the social messages - whether intentional or not - that come with those sartorial choices. Men generally wear shorts; that's it. Their nakedness isn't interpreted as anything. And some dudes need to wear some damn underwear; it's horrific when they don't.

The men at my various gyms (western men) really take the cake on needing to tone their shit down. They treat the space as one big men's locker room and will change their clothes right out in the open - fully naked sometimes. I mean balls out. And a couple men at my current gym will come and drop their pants right next to me (or my friend who came to visit, also a woman) in order to tie on their cups, or they'll do it in the ring which is basically a stage. The Thai boys will be in their underwear if they're stepping on the scale to make weight, but it's only for a brief moment and they cover with a towel immediately. They also put their cups on in the privacy of a restroom, although once or twice I've witnessed my trainer taking his off with some serious finesse by just loosening the string by barely lowering the waistband and then just pulling the whole gadget out - no exposure at all. So these guys who are making the space all uncomfortable are doing so apart from Thai custom as well. I don't know that this behavior would be considered polite anywhere, but it feels like a definitive "fuck you" to the women who are subjected to it. Meaning me, mostly.

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The men at my various gyms (western men) really take the cake on needing to tone their shit down. They treat the space as one big men's locker room and will change their clothes right out in the open - fully naked sometimes. I mean balls out. And a couple men at my current gym will come and drop their pants right next to me (or my friend who came to visit, also a woman) in order to tie on their cups, or they'll do it in the ring which is basically a stage. The Thai boys will be in their underwear if they're stepping on the scale to make weight, but it's only for a brief moment and they cover with a towel immediately. They also put their cups on in the privacy of a restroom, although once or twice I've witnessed my trainer taking his off with some serious finesse by just loosening the string by barely lowering the waistband and then just pulling the whole gadget out - no exposure at all. So these guys who are making the space all uncomfortable are doing so apart from Thai custom as well. I don't know that this behavior would be considered polite anywhere, but it feels like a definitive "fuck you" to the women who are subjected to it. Meaning me, mostly.

I'm kinda used to the guys taking their shorts off to put on the cup, I was witnessing this even during my junior/high school karate times, so this doesn't offend me...probably because I was witnessing it before I knew if this was proper or not. There are some guys though who do it in private, so I always assumed they are shy, but after reading your post, I think maybe they see it as inapropriate.  

I can't say I'm fully ok with them stripping down, but it doesn't seem to bother me too much, I just look somewhere else.  :whistling:

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I can't say I'm fully ok with them stripping down, but it doesn't seem to bother me too much, I just look somewhere else.  :whistling:

As a husband looking on I can really just feel the way in which some (western) men are saying: This is MY space. There is an unspoken degree of freedom, a freedom of movement that men simply accept as their own. Some don't think about it at all. Some do think about it, and make a point of their freedom. Come on Italian dude. Don't go stand next to a woman and put your cup on. There is something about power going on here.

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I dare say intent is more important than attire.

 

You could put the same outfit on 2 different people and get 2 very different results. Fact is if you come to a gym looking to be centre of attention thats what you will be. 

 

I dress entirely for functionality and often wear the gyms own merchandise as this is a good rule of thumb for what is appropriate. 

 

When training for a fight I will go shirtless when clinching. A sweat soaked t-shirt offers different traction to wet skin. You have to learn in a way that reflects the fight environment. 

 

I've even heard of people who won't wear 16oz gloves for sparring as the extra glove size screws up their use of range. 

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Yea most women who come to train at my gym are told in advance to not wear revealing clothing!

You'd be amazed at what some womens perception of revealing clothing is! Ha

 

it's just too foreign for the boys here and it's a family gym/home.

Those that have in the past have all been given nasty nicknames by the thai's and not taken seriously.

 

I generally wear tshirt or cut off shirts and some are big and if I lift my arms you can see a bit of my sports bra and my trainer gave out to me once haha

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The men at my various gyms (western men) really take the cake on needing to tone their shit down. They treat the space as one big men's locker room and will change their clothes right out in the open - fully naked sometimes. I mean balls out. And a couple men at my current gym will come and drop their pants right next to me (or my friend who came to visit, also a woman) in order to tie on their cups, or they'll do it in the ring which is basically a stage. The Thai boys will be in their underwear if they're stepping on the scale to make weight, but it's only for a brief moment and they cover with a towel immediately. They also put their cups on in the privacy of a restroom, although once or twice I've witnessed my trainer taking his off with some serious finesse by just loosening the string by barely lowering the waistband and then just pulling the whole gadget out - no exposure at all. So these guys who are making the space all uncomfortable are doing so apart from Thai custom as well. I don't know that this behavior would be considered polite anywhere, but it feels like a definitive "fuck you" to the women who are subjected to it. Meaning me, mostly.

Sylvie, you have the worst luck, haha! You've had to put up with men in Speedos AND dudes with their bare balls out? That is just too much. One of the guys from our gym actually asked me to untie his cup for him after his fight a couple of weeks ago. I realised that he was just desperate to get it off and asked the nearest person to him, but I still wasn't going to dig in his ass crack. I asked one of the other guys instead. 

A girl actually trained at my gym in a bikini top once. I wasn't there at the time, but I found out when one of the trainers put up a photo of her on his Facebook page!

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The topic of slut shaming came up in the thread on "Dating a Thai" http://8limbs.us/muay-thai-forum/topic/40-dating-a-thai/ and "Tribute to Caley Reece" http://8limbs.us/muay-thai-forum/topic/77-tribute-to-caley-reece/

I think it's also something we need to be careful about in this thread when we discuss individual clothing choices.

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The topic of slut shaming came up in the thread on "Dating a Thai" http://8limbs.us/muay-thai-forum/topic/40-dating-a-thai/ and "Tribute to Caley Reece" http://8limbs.us/muay-thai-forum/topic/77-tribute-to-caley-reece/

I think it's also something we need to be careful about in this thread when we discuss individual clothing choices.

I completely agree and am on board with moderating in order to keep slut shaming in check. But I do also firmly support that it is not a "free for all" in how we dress ourselves or conduct ourselves in cultures that are not our own. I believe in individual choice, but not without being well-informed about and also responsible to the consequences and ramifications of those choices.

I highly recommend this article by Callie Beusman on the decisive difference between the use of the term "slut-shaming" to create critical conversation about female sexuality in the public sphere, and the use of the term to essentially shut down conversation or engaging with critical thinking entirely. I want this forum to avoid the latter. The critical difference in the discussion over how women dress in gyms or dating within the gym is that we acknowledge that modes of dress are sending tacit messages which are coded to sexuality, rather than shaming the sexuality itself.

Excerpt from Beusman's article below:

"[T]he proliferation of "slut-shaming" has resulted in an inaccurate conflation of "being critical" and "prudishly or maliciously taking issue with female sexuality." Not all criticisms of public displays of sexiness are meant to shame, which is something many people seem to have lost sight of. [...] If these accusations of slut-shaming led to a nuanced discussion of the ways in which we interpret, discuss, view, construct and consume public displays of female sexuality, I would have absolutely no problem with that. But all too often, "slut-shaming" is used to police women... for policing other women, which is just hypocritical.

"In the a feminist sphere, telling someone she's slut-shaming has mutated into a method of dismissing her argument without engaging with it on any level, of taking issue with her tone and refusing to hear the content. Of course, the tone of these allegedly "slut-shaming"open letters and essays was often scolding or problematic in some other way, but still. It's unproductive for feminists to tell other feminists that their thoughts/anxieties about a certain kind of representation of women in pop culture have no validity whatsoever. And so not only has "slut-shaming" lost its meaning, it's also become censorious. Rather than helping to facilitate debates about how we view sexuality — as it originally did — it now shuts them down before they can even start." (Read the entire article at Jezebel.)

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UPDATE: just witnessed women, for the second day in a row, jumping tyre in the Muay Thai class at Top Team, in what appeared to be bikini briefs. Also the same ones as yesterday. I don't even know what to say. I feel uncomfortable even noticing but it's hard not to when you drive past and all you can see is white ass bouncing amongst an array of Muay Thai shorts.
My ajarn literally makes me go change if I try to sneak in the gym leggings (I really feel more comfortable in them than shorts sometimes, and feel like they show less of my body... The boys don't seem to agree; yet it's fine for anyone who's not... me? To wear them. Including men.  :confused: )

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My ajarn literally makes me go change if I try to sneak in the gym leggings (I really feel more comfortable in them than shorts sometimes, and feel like they show less of my body... The boys don't seem to agree; yet it's fine for anyone who's not... me? To wear them. Including men.  :confused: )

It's interesting about the leggings. In the US they have a few names but are basically all the same: running tights, yoga pants, leggings, etc. The general response from men regarding them is that they're tight and therefore sexy, so even though you're literally covering more with cloth, the tightness might be the factor that your gym is looking at. It's unfortunate though because YOU feel more comfortable and less exposed in them :(

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It's interesting about the leggings. In the US they have a few names but are basically all the same: running tights, yoga pants, leggings, etc. The general response from men regarding them is that they're tight and therefore sexy, so even though you're literally covering more with cloth, the tightness might be the factor that your gym is looking at. It's unfortunate though because YOU feel more comfortable and less exposed in them :(

 

I wonder if wearing both might be a solution to this? Just toss on Muay Thai shorts over the leggings. Shouldn't impede performance in any way and seems like a win win to me?

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I'm in the US, and I've only seen a small handful of ladies dress skimpy, and even then it's short shorts and a sports bra. So, not the end of the world. And for the most part, everyone, even dudes, dress appropriately.

 

Myself personally, I despise wearing pants and t shirts when practicing. Mostly because it's uncomfortable and everything gets caught funny. So I wear a tank Top, sports bra, and running shorts that give similar freedom of movement as thai shorts.

 

I know though that it does sometimes make people uncomfortable though because I am super big chested and the sports bras unfortunately don't always keep things in place. But I would rather be comfortable while practicing than uncomfortable and making someone else happy.

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 Hi everyone..heaps of good response..ahh,nope,I don't wear what I wear in this pic ( a sports bra top) when I am training at the gym around people! Being in a humid city like Kuala Lumpur,I do wear a singlet and mainly retro Muay Thai shorts. Some may argue that its ultra short,but its doesn't ride up as much as the conventional classic cut competition shorts. I wear lady boxer shorts inside and its snug.  Heck..I just want to be comfortable with all the sweat trickling and to keep my washing load at its minimum. Its a different story in my country Malaysia,though where many are muslims. So,we get some women coming in with long sleeved shirts,long leggings and thats their choice. In my opinion,as long as I am not exposing any part that is tantamount to exposure of a bikini..I am good to go. Had this young girl who tried to pick up one of the trainers,she wore a very low singlet,jiggling and giggling her way in class....Now,thats a different story..do your thing after class,not during..thats when disrespectful behaviour adds on to distasteful exposure. 

 A disrespectful image just doesn't come along without a bad attitude. Who is going to knock down the reputation of a serious nak muay ying who may dress in hot pants and her sports bra,if she carries herself well,helpful to others,diligent at training and going for her goals. She really isn't disturbing anyone. Personally, I feel out of respect to ones trainers,..I wouldn't wear hot pants. Basically,I don't care what anyone else wears or doesn't wear around the gym,unless they are flashing bits right smack in my face..I am at the gym for my own training. I don't understand men/women who don't wear anything under their shorts though. Its okay if you're standing or kicking..but not sitting. One foreign fighter came by my gm in Kuala Lumpur and aired his balls when he was sitting on the canvas oiling his thighs. Thats gross. 

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Come on Italian dude. Don't go stand next to a woman and put your cup on. There is something about power going on here.

Ahahaha! I can confirm that italian dudes like to change in the open. The other day I caught one checking if I was looking and the parading in front of me while taking off his t-shirt. *facepalm*

 

I personally train in black opaque leggings at the knee and black nerdy longish t-shirts, I am big and curvy, but I also feel more covered that way and more comfortable.

But I just started, maybe I'm going to move to the shorts+leggings combo, I'm gonna ask around to the random girls.

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Maybe the changing in the open is a European thing. I remember when I was traveling through Europe the beaches had tons of topless women and dudes in the smallest of speedos. It seems there is less of a stigma against showing skin in European culture.

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WaffleNinja, beaches are a universe on their own :) I've seen a funny comic picture (can't find it now, it was in Polish) showing a man with a big belly and man-boobs in beach shorts, beside him standing his chubby wife, topless, also with a big belly and boobs - they look identical. And the man says "woman, you're indecent!" :) :) So I think men don't see themselves as everyone else does, they always think they look like a Greek god ;)

MissBruise, I'm big and curvy too, but I found that I feel most comfortable in rashguards with long sleeves even though they have a snug fit - especially when we're doing clinch. But I mostly excercise in sport T-shirts that are moderately loose, but comfortably snug and are from special polyester (?) materials that don't keep the sweat in (yuck!). 

Now that it's summer I train in knee-lenght leggins with thai shorts on it, but I feel so exposed! And my shinguards are uncomfortable. And kneeing the heavy bag rashes my skin :D :D hahaha first world problems...

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I'm probably lucky that I don't perceive sweat as yucky (omg today I was trying to grab the legs of my MMA sparring partner and he was so sweaty they just kept slipping through my hands!) but I think that everyone should defend what they need as a level of comfort/exposure/contact, respecting the sensitivity of the culture they're in.

In italy it's strange, there's an insane amount of slut shaming going on always, culturally (thanks pope), but I still have to understand the way women are perceived in my gym. I think I ended up in the niche of the "not attractive one" so probably nobody cares how I dress ;)

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MissBruise, I have the privilege to be the only female at my gym's Muay Thai classes, so other girls will probably look to me for style ideas, if they don't have their own ;) Or at least that's what I like to think.

The girls I met at other gyms usually wear shorts or thai shorts with T-shirt or tank top, I think everyone wants to feel comfortable and has a common feeling for what is "proper" in gym enviroment.

I struggle a bit with what is proper for my body type though, sometimes I feel that a snug tank-top is too revealing, because it clings to my big belly and you can see back fat and big arms...on the other side, it's what every other girl would wear, just in a smaller size, so maybe I'm just too self-critical. The same thing goes for wearing only leggins, without shorts on top of them...I've read so many critical things on the internet about chubby girls wearing leggins, that I'm scared to wear them.

Poland is an extremely catholic country (and in "extremely" I mean on the extreme side, which scares me a lot), but when it comes to gyms, fitness and stuff like that I see a lot of pictures on Facebook or blogs, where the girls show they finely sculped buttocks or other parts of the body and the male audience is happy to see it, at the same time other girls use it for motivation, so...I don't recall a case of 'slut shaming' really when it comes to the way you dress while working out.

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Being harassed or criticized for how you dress/look is not the monopoly of "attractive" women! You can be wearing sweatpants, a huge shirt, be totally red in the face and sweating like a pig and men will still flirt, make comments, cat-call, and harass. But signaling that you're not interested in the attention does help to quiet it down or direct it away from you.

It's interesting, Micc, that you mention how being the only woman kind of makes you the "standard" against which any other women who come in will take their cue of how to dress. I think this is the case with me as well. Just the other day an Italian woman came in and was wearing only her shorts and a sports bra, which I reckon she trains in back home, but I could tell she noted the difference in how we were dressed. I don't think she became uncomfortable (she's Italian, after all) but I'm curious to see how she'll dress when she comes back today. There are these two women who come in the mornings sometimes, just for fitness, and they've both adjusted their clothing choices toward looser-fitting clothing rather than the tank-tops they started in. I certainly don't want them to feel they have to, but I do see that they appear focused and comfortable, whereas they were very giggly and uncomfortable when they first started. That could just be the normal process of becoming more familiar with the space rather than a clothing thing.

There's a guy at the gym who is twice my size but wears my same size shorts. I think with men it ends up being comical more than it's a sexual thing (because it's a heterosexual space and the other guys aren't sexualizing him). But I reckon we'd all be more comfortable with a better fitted pair of shorts.

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    • Just very briefly I want to take up one of the most interesting aspects of the fighting art of Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, an aspect that really cues for me how I watch fights and weigh the skills of fighters. Managing distance. Many people watch "strikes" and look for "points", but there is an under-fabric to strikes, a kind of landscape of them, no less than how a topography will influence how a battle is fought between armies. Even the most practiced strikes rise and fall to opportunity, and in Muay Thai a significant determination of opportunity is distance. Above is a quick edit of Sylvie's last fight up in Buriram, bringing out all the significant moments of engagement, telling the story in about a minute. (The full fight should be up in a few weeks with Sylvie's commentary, as usual.) I'm going to start with Entertainment Muay Thai as presenting an negative can often be the best way to bring out a positive. Entertainment Muay Thai (and there are many versions of it, so we have to be very broad here), is largely principled by eliminating the importance of distance. What is sought, again being very broad, is a more or less continuous trading in the pocket. The quest is for an easy to follow, by the casual eye, "action". Everything is about the distance of the pocket. Setting up outside of the pocket can be regarded as anti-action (so, if you do, you should regularly charge into the pocket...and trade). And fighting through the pocket, to clinch range, is also devalued by very quick clinch breaks, scoring biases (changing traditional aesthetics). Clinch, which historically is featured in some of the most technical fighting of the sport, in Entertainment Muay Thai is more and more understood as a stall of the main goal. Pocket trading. Much of the art of Muay Thai is actually organized around all those distances that border "the pocket", controlling distance through length, or through grappling. In this fight Sylvie is giving up between 8-10 kgs (perhaps more than 20% of her body weight). Now, imagine it being fought under Entertainment aesthetics. What would it be if she just stood in the pocket, bit down, and just traded over and over with Phetnamwan? Would there be any point of such a fight? Yet, as the Golden Age legend Hippy Singmanee once said when criticizing hyper-aggressive, pocket-trading Entertainment Muay Thai, "Muay Thai is the art where small can beat big." Hippy was one of the most renown undersized fighters of the Golden Era. He knows of what he speaks. This fight, in the broad brush, illustrates some of that. More and more we've come to realize that as traditional Muay Thai evaporates slowly from the urban stadia, the only traditional Muay Thai still being regularly fought is in the provinces of the country. It is there that fights are scored in keeping with the art, and fighters retain the all around, multi-distance skills that make that art happen. Clinch is allowed to unfold. Narrative fight arcs are told as principle to scoring. Ryan, a knowledgeable commenter on Twitter and a very good writer on the sport, right away noticed how the ref let clinch flow. You can see some of our discussion there. I recall a conversation I overheard when attending the funeral of the legend Namkabuan in Nongki. It was the passing of one of the greatest who ever fought. During the day-before cremation a casual conversation arose between other legends of the sport, and very experienced news reporters, people who had been a part of it for decades. One of them insisted, Muay Thai no longer existed in Thailand. Others knowingly nodded their heads. But a Muay Siam reporter objected. "No...it still lives in the provinces." And the others agreed. It still was there. We in the English speaking world tend to think the substance of something is what has been presented to us. The Muay Thai of Bangkok is the real Muay Thai of Thailand because that is what we see...and, historically, many decades ago, it did represent the highest skills of the country. But what largely remains unseen is that more and more of the sport is being designed for our eyes. It is less and less for Thais, and more and more for "us", so we can become quite disconnected from what is real and authentic in a cultural, and even efficacy sense. There rhythms and values of provincial Muay Thai, as it is fought, coached and reffed, are part of the rich authenticity of the sport which falls into the shadows when we just look at what is being shown to "us". This fight, how it is fought, shows "the art of where small can beat big", and it shows why. It's through the control of distance. If you are small you just cannot stand at range. You either have to explore the bubble outside of the pocket, too far, or at its edges, and fight your way in to score...or, you collapse the pocket, smother the strikes, and possess the skill to control a much larger bodied opponent. Clinch, historically, is kryptonite to the striker. Muay Maat vs Muay Khao battles are legendary in the sport.  Classic. Who is going to impose the distance which is best for them? It's a battle of distances. And, for this reason, Muay Maat fighters of the past were not experts in trading in the pocket. They were experts in managing clinch fighters, or even high level clinch fighters themselves...and they were experts at hunting down evasive femeu counterfighters as well. Muay Maat fighters were strong. They had to have so many tools in their tool box. In versions of the sport where both fighters are forced to "stand and bang" repeatedly, we have been taken quite far from the glories of Thailand's Muay Thai fighters, and that is because Muay Thai is an art of distance control. This goes to a deeper point about the sport. It isn't really a "sport" in the International, rationalist idea of a sport. Muay Thai is culture. It is Thai culture. Thousands and thousands of fights occur on temple grounds, far from Western eyes. It has grown up within the culture, but also expressive of that culture. And it is a culture unto itself. The more we try to extract from this rich fabric some kind of abstract "rule set" and "collection of techniques" that can be used in other cultures, expressing their values, favoring their fighters, the more we lose the complex art of what Muay Thai is...and in the bigger sense move away from the value it has to the entire world. It's value is that it has a very highly developed perspective on distance management and on aggression. It has lessons upon lessons to teach in techniques of control and fight winning, woven into the DNA of its traditional aesthetics. And these techniques embody the values of the culture. It's all of one cloth. Sylvie has chosen the path less traveled. She's fought like no other Westerner in history (a record 271 times as a pro), and she has devoted herself to the lessor style, the art of Muay Khao and clinch fighting. There are very, very few women, even Thai women, who have seriously developed this branch of the art in the way that she has. And she's done it as a 100 lb fighter, taking on great size disparities as she fights. Because Muay Thai is "the art where small can beat big" there is a long tradition of great, dominant fighters fighting top fighters well above their weight, and developing their in style the capacity to beat them. Fighting up is Muay Thai. Sylvie's entire quest has been to value what may not even be commercially valued at this time, the aspects of the art which point to its greater meaning & capacity. The narrative of scoring, the control of distance, the management of striking through clinch, in the heritage of what it has been. I'm not saying that this is the only way to fight, or that Entertainment Muay Thai has no value for the art and sport. It's not, and it does. But, we should also be mindful of the completeness and complexity of Muay Thai, and the ways that those qualities can be put at risk, as the desire to internationalize it and foreign values become more and more part of its purpose. If we love what we discover when we come to Thailand, we should fight to preserve and embrace the roots of Muay Thai, and the honored aspects of the culture/s which produced it. photos: Khaendong, Buriram, Thailand (temple grounds)    
    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • I really appreciate your wave patterns analogy; it applies to a lot of interactions. 
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    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • Davince Resolve is a great place to start. 
    • I see that this thread is from three years ago, and I hope your journey with Muay Thai and mental health has evolved positively during this time. It's fascinating to revisit these discussions and reflect on how our understanding of such topics can grow. The connection between training and mental health is intricate, as you've pointed out. Finding the right balance between pushing yourself and self-care is a continuous learning process. If you've been exploring various avenues for managing mood-related issues over these years, you might want to revisit the topic of mental health resources. One such resource is The UK Medical Cannabis Card, which can provide insights into alternative treatments.
    • Phetjeeja fought Anissa Meksen for a ONE FC interim atomweight kickboxing title 12/22/2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu92S6-V5y0&ab_channel=ONEChampionship Fight starts at 45:08 Phetjeeja won on points. Not being able to clinch really handicapped her. I was afraid the ref was going to start deducting points for clinch fouls.   
    • Earlier this year I wrote a couple of sociology essays that dealt directly with Muay Thai, drawing on Sylvie's journalism and discussions on the podcast to do so. I thought I'd put them up here in case they were of any interest, rather than locking them away with the intention to perfectly rewrite them 'some day'. There's not really many novel insights of my own, rather it's more just pulling together existing literature with some of the von Duuglus-Ittu's work, which I think is criminally underutilised in academic discussions of MT. The first, 'Some meanings of muay' was written for an ideology/sosciology of knowledge paper, and is an overly long, somewhat grindy attempt to give a combined historical, institutional, and situated study of major cultural meanings of Muay Thai as a form of strength. The second paper, 'the fighter's heart' was written for a qualitative analysis course, and makes extensive use of interviews and podcast discussions to talk about some ways in which the gendered/sexed body is described/deployed within Muay Thai. There's plenty of issues with both, and they're not what I'd write today, and I'm learning to realise that's fine! some meanings of muay.docx The fighter's heart.docx
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