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Losing Streak - Why Am I Fighting? Struggling With Self-Esteem


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I have just lost again this past weekend making my amateur record 0-5. I know it sucks.
Although, I could argue that a few were bad calls from the judges. Me being a bleeder (bloody nose from a single jab doesn't help either).

However, I am particularly disappointed in this last fight. This past fight, I fought too tentatively in the first two rounds. I've always been a slow starter and fought with a traditional thai style. Sadly in America, the judges favor boxing over kicks/knees (my strengths). My opponent was a mma guy with a flashy outside-point style (spinning back fist/kicks, side kicks - but sloppy technique). It wasn't until the third round that I started to find my rhythm. I had him in the clinch, but was unable to capitalize (I let go). My coach and even the comissioner said if I had landed one more knee I could've ended the fight. I don't know though.

Physically, I always felt stronger and I am usually always taller than my opponent(s). I'm 5'8" weight class 125-127lbs. However, this time I felt like I had no power (my gas was very good though). Overall its been frustating, especially with a 100% losing record I never felt confident going into my fights. I've been told I am more talented than what my records shows, but at the end of the day thats all there is to show. I disappointed that people supported and believed in me, but I let them down by not believing myself.

I can probably contribute most of my loses due to the mental aspect of the game.

I've never been dropped or really hurt in any of my fights (Lost all by decision).

However, sometimes I question if fighting is really for me. All that hard work, training 6 days a week (barely any breaks) for the past 3.5 years for nothing .... Even though I'm only 22 (23 soon). Were the sacrifices really worth it?

Thing is when I'm not at the gym (it doesn't feel right).
 

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Wow, I was just about to write a reply to this, but I think Sylvie nailed it! I'll just add a little from my personal experience.

I definitely know how you feel. As my record currently stands, I've lost more fights than I've won and I've been through some losing streaks, during one of which someone told me to give up fighting altogether, but I've never told myself that. That's only been an external thing. Even at times when the thought has briefly crossed my mind, it couldn't be further away when I'm training. Everything I do in there is in preparation to fight, that's what I'm working for. It would be an awful shame to take that away. All that passion and hard work needn't go down the drain because of a lack of self confidence. You have to work on your confidence the same way you work on your physical training. 

I can also relate to what you said about being a slow starter and coming out of fights feeling like you haven't done enough. In every single one of my losses (also all by decision, as you said), I've felt that way. People have told me that most of the people I've lost to had no business beating me and it was only that I wasn't confident enough in my mental game, that I hesitated and let them fight their fight. I've been trying to combat that with mental training, which has really helped me in the past. I wrote a blog post about that here: Letting Go but Staying in Control: How Mental Training Enhanced my Confidence

 You can lose without being defeated, you know what I mean?

^ I could quote a ton of things from what Sylvie just said, but this is fucking perfect ^

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You guys nailed it.

 

For me. I had an extremely good first year. 14 fights, 12 wins.

 

This year I decided to take on more and bigger fights. 2 fights back to back against bigger opponents and one against a Swedish champion. I have only won 1 fight this year out of 4. And it hurts. But Sylvie and Emma have nailed it. If you love it, use your losses to motivate you and push forward.

 

Try to always think of something you are happy with in every fight too.

 

Losses can help you grow :)

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Have you ever heard the three feet from gold story? Here's an image that explains it:

 

Three-feet-from-gold.jpg

You might be at the point where you break through. Who knows? You could go on a 10 fight winning streak. I say if you really love it, give it another shot.

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Thank you for all the responses.

Its been frustating and discouraging at times (battling demons in/out of the gym), because I don't have a single win despite my hardest efforts.

Realistically, will I be able to get any more fights in the long run?

Sometimes it just feels like I'm going through the motions...

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I don't see why you wouldn't be able to get more fights in the long run. As an amateur, your record isn't going to be putting you in positions or keeping you from positions in a strong way.

I highly recommend you start getting some mental training program going for yourself. You can download podcasts, mp3's, and find online resources for free. There are inexpensive books on Amazon and Kindle, and if you can afford it going to actually meet with a Sports Psychologist would be grand.

I did an interview with Sports Psychologist, Dr. John Gassaway here, he recommends some resources which might be a jumping off point for you.

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I highly recommend you start getting some mental training program going for yourself. You can download podcasts, mp3's, and find online resources for free. There are inexpensive books on Amazon and Kindle, and if you can afford it going to actually meet with a Sports Psychologist would be grand.

I second the mental training recommendation, it really helped me when I was having a lot of the same thoughts you've spoken about. It's not that I don't have those thoughts at all anymore, but they appear much less often. When I do have them, I'm now quicker to catch them and switch them for positive self talk before they start to bring me down. If you do try any mental training, do let us know how you get on with it! 

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Thank you I will look into it.

I think that was one of my problems in my last fight, I saw the openings but could not react to them (fell back to old habits of just staying in the pocket and freezing up or being too relaxed - lack of agression). I also don't remember why I let go when I had my opponent in the clinch (the nerves maybe).

I had a good performance in the previous fight (and it was the one and only fight where it was same day weigh-in) and my coaches/teammates said they didn't know why I just wasn't sharp when it came to fight this time around.

Preparation, padwork, and sparring was good leading up to the fight, but I couldn't carry that momentum over...

I'm also constantly told I need to be more agressive..

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Thank you I will look into it.

I think that was one of my problems in my last fight, I saw the openings but could not react to them (fell back to old habits of just staying in the pocket and freezing up or being too relaxed - lack of agression). I also don't remember why I let go when I had my opponent in the clinch (the nerves maybe).

I had a good performance in the previous fight (and it was the one and only fight where it was same day weigh-in) and my coaches/teammates said they didn't know why I just wasn't sharp when it came to fight this time around.

Preparation, padwork, and sparring was good leading up to the fight, but I couldn't carry that momentum over...

I'm also constantly told I need to be more agressive..

I need to be more aggressive, too.

I don't know you, but I'll tell you that 99% of the time the reason you "let go" or stop or don't keep on the attack in a fight is because you practice that in training. In clinch training you get dominant position, throw a couple knees and then let go, because you're just training and there's no need to KO someone. But you have to train not letting go, not jumping back out, etc. I do this. I land a knee and jump out for no f****ing reason at all, other than that I do it to "reset" in training. So now I stay on someone in training - not hurting them, but I have to learn how to be aggressive, keep going, smell the blood, etc. You don't KO your training partners, you keep it light, but you keep the energy high.

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There are a few exercises whcih helped me a lot getting this aggression out, the bite you need. Im not natural in this.

This is what my old coach did and still does, no atter whether beginning fighter or world champion.

 

The first exersice  is the bat cave.

A bunch of people get in the ring or form a  big circle, ideally everyone is around the same size.

the fighter in question is in the middle and will now get attacked by every person standing on the outside, one of the other. Each attack from the outside lasts about 10-30 seconds and its important to not have a break in between the changes, the guys outside attack straight away, no hand shaking, nodding or waiting, just straight attacking, whatever angle they are on.

Since Im a girl and all the boys are usually above my size and weight I was always allowed to attack and the the others werent allowed to attack back, they just had to defend. It is important (since it is such short rounds) that you keep going, literally no break whatsoever. You continue this until you reached the goal time (lets say 3 min) than its a minute break and afterwards it starts all over.

 

The next exercise is a mix of padwork and sparring. There is your padholder and next to him a sparring partner about your size (ideally) now the pads start, all full on, not single strikes, but long combos, lots of kicking, full force, at a signal it is a direct change to sparring and your sparring partner attacks, whether you are ready or not, you have to keep going, keep attacking, no stopping, at the next signal it is straight away to padwork. How long each pads and sparring lasts is due to the one giving the signal, maybe 10 seconds, maybe 30 or 40 seconds. Again make it a round of 3 mins, than break and than all over again.

This really badly teaches you to keep going forward. However this is obviously not daily routine since you still need to focus on light sparring etc, but its one thing to think about keep going and the other thing about actually having to do it. Always do those exercises under supervision so it doesnt get out of hand or is too aggressive.

 

Another exercise is body punches only. Pretty simple. you are allowed to punch only, and only to the head. If you want to learn to stay grounded you and your partner leave the front feet right in front each other, like touching toes and you dont move those feet away anymore. Now punch, create openings, but dont wait, as soon as you wait your opponnend will attack. so its your turn to attack.

I know most coaches dislike this exercise since it easily teaches you to drop your hands and have them in front of your body. This one can be done with your feet standing in a circle or even with moving around.

This last exercise made me continue to punch without being afraid to actually getting hit to the head.

 

the next thing we did in sparring is sparring at 10, 30, 50, 70...% First you go light, look for openings etc. aslowly (through the course of an hour) it builds up to intense sparring in which there are seconds as called out by the coach when you are not allowed to stop and wait, but to keep attacking.

 

Another coach of mine would drill us combinations which are really really long. Like attack, counter attack, counter to counter, again counter etc, until you hardly recall the whole combination, but you just keep going and counter and counter and counter always with 3-5 hands and kicks.

 

I can only speak for my own experience here, this is what helped me getting this aggression going, and not stopping too much, waiting etc

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My differing perspectives:

When I was an amateur fighter, I maintained a winning record and was a champion.  I was once paired up with a fighter who had only about 1/2 the fights I had and a losing record.  (My record is 6-2, his was 1-4).  However, when you looked at the list of his opponents, you saw a list of the who's who of amateur champions.  That fight wound up being the toughest fight of my career and a loss.  While I was disappointed in losing that fight, I didn't feel that bad because my opponent and I had waged a literal war from the opening bell and I knew I had given my all in the ring.  I lost a total of 4 times.  I was only disappointed in the loss I just mentioned, I was FURIOUS at 1 other loss because it was as shitty decision, and I was really down on myself for the other 2 losses because I knew that I had allowed myself to become psyched out, which led to me seriously underperforming in the ring.

As a promoter and matchmaker, the first thing I look at in regards to someone's record is the total number of fights they have... the overall experience.  Then I look at the actual record and, when possible, try to consider who this fighter has faced in the ring.  It's hard to properly assess at the amateur level here in the US, of course, but you start to pick out certain patterns....  So a losing fighter from one gym might still be a good match for a winning fighter from a different gym.  Ultimately, it still boils down to the indivicual, but there are certain trends.

As a coach, I personally don't care about a fighters amateur record.  What's important is PERFORMANCE.  Did my fighter do what we had trained to do?  Did my fighter respond to commands I was giving?  How did my fighter respond when they had the advantage?  How did my fighter respond when they wer at a disadvantage?  Remember, your goal as an amateur really should be to prepare yourself to fight professionally.  Sure, there are many, many people whose goals do not extend beyond the amateur ranks, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't approach amateur fighting as a vehicle towards professional fighting.

As a coach, there are certain benchmarks/goals you want your fighters to achieve before turning pro...  development and demonstration of good training habits, minimum # of fights, does your fighter beat who they're supposed to beat, how does your fighter respond to adversity, etc, etc....

Anyway, my overall point is that there are many ways to view a fighters record, all depending on what angle you're viewing it from.  Hope all of that makes sense!

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My differing perspectives:

When I was an amateur fighter, I maintained a winning record and was a champion.  I was once paired up with a fighter who had only about 1/2 the fights I had and a losing record.  (My record is 6-2, his was 1-4).  However, when you looked at the list of his opponents, you saw a list of the who's who of amateur champions.  That fight wound up being the toughest fight of my career and a loss.  While I was disappointed in losing that fight, I didn't feel that bad because my opponent and I had waged a literal war from the opening bell and I knew I had given my all in the ring.  I lost a total of 4 times.  I was only disappointed in the loss I just mentioned, I was FURIOUS at 1 other loss because it was as shitty decision, and I was really down on myself for the other 2 losses because I knew that I had allowed myself to become psyched out, which led to me seriously underperforming in the ring.

As a promoter and matchmaker, the first thing I look at in regards to someone's record is the total number of fights they have... the overall experience.  Then I look at the actual record and, when possible, try to consider who this fighter has faced in the ring.  It's hard to properly assess at the amateur level here in the US, of course, but you start to pick out certain patterns....  So a losing fighter from one gym might still be a good match for a winning fighter from a different gym.  Ultimately, it still boils down to the indivicual, but there are certain trends.

As a coach, I personally don't care about a fighters amateur record.  What's important is PERFORMANCE.  Did my fighter do what we had trained to do?  Did my fighter respond to commands I was giving?  How did my fighter respond when they had the advantage?  How did my fighter respond when they wer at a disadvantage? 

Thanks SO MUCH for weighing in on this Brooks. Your perspective as a fighter, coach, promoter, lover of the sport and guy to whom I personally go for insight is so valuable for this topic. And being "coachable".... man, do I ever see the precious gift of that every damn day out here.

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Everything Sylvie said!!!!! There can be so much pressure that you put on yourself in fights especially in the west! A losing streak can definately be disheartening, I've had 4 in a row myself but I've also won fights and been extremely disappointed in my performance aswell.

 

I'm guessing you work and this is your 'hobbie' although I think it's more a job itself or a lifestyle :) it's supposed to fun and enjoyable

I really agree with what people are saying about performance if you perform well and are improving with each fight that's what Is important!

 

I've always said it's as much a mental game as physical and I think working on that will really help you. Just remember to relax and enjoy every minute of it fighting with a massive heart is what it's all about if you ask me!

 

Getting in the ring is amazing in itself and as fighters we forget that as generally we are surrounded by each other!

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  • 2 weeks later...

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mtg-081-therapy-session-mind/id636798781?i=343072987&mt=2   -Joe Schilling's mind coach

I think it's pretty motivating that you already have 5 fights and have been training a good chunk at such a young age.  From a self defense aspect, you're a different animal than most walking around.  Props to you.  You don't even have your adult muscles yet...

You being a competitor, most people that train can't relate because the truth is, we'll probably never fight- while you have put it all on the line 5X.  Respek.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I can also relate to your experiences with losing streaks, and I agree with all of the advice given. It is important to look at the past experiences of people you might look up to (Buakaw and Dekkers, for example) and see that they too have been through what you've been through. Losing fights doesn't mean that you're "not cut out for" your sport, it's just a stage in your progress, and probably one that you'll revisit in the future. I agree also with the importance of mental training. I've personally found the material from Wrestling Mindset to be really useful (I know you're not a wrestler, but listen to some of their free podcasts and I'm sure you'll find many of the concepts can be applied to Muay Thai or any other combat sport.)

One other factor in all of this might be your environment. I'm not sure what it's like in the US (I'm in Australia) but sometimes Muay Thai/MMA fights can get so hyped up by promoters selling tickets that it's hard to simply view wins, losses, good/bad performances as markers of progress. (This is unfortunately only amplified by social media, which brings all of this into our homes and every waking moment if you don't use social media wisely.) In many other combat sports (boxing, BJJ, wrestling, Judo, Muay Thai in Thailand etc) most athletes get the chance to have an extensive amateur or low-profile career before being put in the position where there is a lot of attention and "pressure" around their fights. Losses are a lot easier to deal with if you're fighting or competing every fortnight at small tournaments than when you feel like you're under lights and it's a big "occasion." Fight fans at more professional-style events in the West can be really awful too in the way they jeer at fighters and call for blood and this can make a loss more difficult to deal with. If this is an issue then mental training strategies and reframing can be useful too.

Hope some of these ideas help. I personally have really benefited from stepping away from higher-profile MMA fights for the time being and using the amateur wrestling/BJJ circuits to practise performing under pressure in a "lower consequence" environment.

Wish you all the best!

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  • 1 month later...

I know that Penake Sitnumnoi, lumpinee champion, ch7 champion, fighter of the year, lost his first 7 fights when he was a child and now he teachs at Evolve MMA in Singapore... I'm sure that when you'll win your first fight will be an huge satisfaction and a wave of confidence.. what if you do 100 or more fights... do you REALLY think you will lose ALL of them? Personally, I don't really like sport psychology, mental training strategies although they have scientific foundations. I'm sure that Muhammad Ali never studied how to be more confident. He just was Confident... He CHOSE to be confident... that's the beauty of sport, that's what make a champion... I think psychology ruins this kind of magic...

if you stop fighting for a couple of losses then you have to live with yourself and your regrets forever... I guarantee that...

Maybe you can think that you have lost the first 5 rounds of a longer, endless fight (your fighting career) and the positive thing is that you can decide how many rounds to do :)

"You can lose without being defeated" is the best way to deal with a loss, but isn't a good way to head a fight... personally, in my last fights I was the underdog, I started the fight with that sentence in mind... as a result I kept walking forward, get punched and kicked, get knocked down, get up, keep walking forward, get kneed and elbowed etc.... I didn't really believe in my strikes... you have to want that win, not just not being defeated..

maybe you have to change your fighting style... at first I was a technical, strategichal fighter and won often, then I just wanted to show my heart and courage, but I had not muscle and strenght and lost often... you have to chose your style... if you want to be a technichal fighter then you have to be "cold" and really concentrated, if you want to be an aggressive fighter I think you have to be a bit sadistic too... " I try to catch them right on the tip of his nose, because I try to punch the bone into brain" said mike tyson.. you have to want him down and hit him as hard as you can, not just walking forward to show your heart!

Good luck my friend! :)

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Indian culture became powerfully adopted throughout mainland Southeast Asia, and importantly in the history of Siam significantly informed Khmer Empire (today's Cambodia) royalty warfare and statecraft, much of which would be adopted by Siamese kings to the West. Royal, court and State culture was Indianized, bearing qualities (language, social forms, knowledges) which were not shared by the common populace. The Indianization of Southeast Asia has been culturally compared to the Roman Empire's Romanization in of Europe. And to this day Thai Royalty, its Brahmin customs and practices, the common worship of Hindu gods within a Buddhist context reflects this 1,500 years of influence of Indian culture. This is to say, when comparing Thailand's Muay Thai to the West via the game of Chess, we are speaking of a game that was of Indian and Persian origin, something quite closely braided within Siamese history. For instance, King Narai of Ayutthaya in 17th century had 200 Persian warriors as his personal guard. The influence of India and Persia is profound. What I want you to see is that Muay Thai's historical past is likely quite imbricated. There are layers upon layers of historical segmentation. Within this history the Royal form in particular had a distinctly Indianized history, and Thailand's Muay Thai has had a robust Royal history surrounding the raising of armies, large scale wars at times with armies (perhaps fancifully) rumored to approach 1,000,000 men. This Statecraft heritage is likely something we can see reflected in the game of Chess itself, the game of Kings, castles and queens. And, the history that we have of Thailand's Muay Thai is almost entirely composed of this Royal-State story, as royal record and foreign visitors to Siam's kingdoms comprises our written history. The possible story of Muay Thai that involves provincial, rural, village, regional martial and sport practices has vanished seemingly just as much as houses of wood or bamboo will not be preserved. Yet, in the nature of Southeast Asian and Siamese fighting arts we very well may see the martial contrastive martial logic of the Siamese people, especially when compared to the visions of the West. Chess, Go, Striated and Smooth Spaces In this we turn to the 4,000 year old Chinese and then Japanese game of Go (the game of surrounding). wikipedia: Japanese word igo (囲碁; いご), which derives from earlier wigo (ゐご), in turn from Middle Chinese ɦʉi gi (圍棋, Mandarin: wéiqí, lit. 'encirclement board game' or 'board game of surrounding'). I have written about the historical origins of Thailand's Muay Thai that particularly bring out its logic of surrounding and capture, a martial logic that is quite embodied in the game of Go (The Historical Foundations of Thailand's Retreating Style, or How They Became the Best Defensive Fighters In the World). In short, historians of Southeast Asia point out that unlike in Europe where land was scarce (and therefore the anchor of wealth), and manpower plentiful, conquering land and killing occupying enemies formed a basic martial logic in warfare. In Southeast Asia where fecund land was everywhere, but population sparse (especially in Siam which had been one of the least populated regions of Southasia), warfare was focused on capture and enslavement. Enemy land capture was at a minimum, and even in the case of the famed and ruinous sackings of the Siamese Capital of Ayutthaya by the Burmese, the captured territory was not held. These are just very different spatial and aim-oriented logics, in fact opposite logics. I'm using the game of Go, which expresses a fluid rationality of edge control and reversible enemy capture (captured stones add to your wealth, and don't only subtract from one's enemy), opposed to the more centric, land-control logic of Chess. A Chess of Indian-Persian statecraft which resonated with European political and warfare realities. This juxtaposition between games is not mine, though I'm probably the first to use it to illuminate combat sport perceptions in today's ring fighting. It comes from the sociologically oriented philosophers Deleuze and Guattari in their book A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. A notoriously difficult work due to its heavy reliance on invented vocabularies, and its opaque, keyed-in references to specific philosophical traditions, psychoanalysis and their theoretical problems, it still provides rich analysis of buried trends in Western social organization, and a metaphysics for thinking about the history of the world as a whole. What Deleuze and Guattari want to do in contrasting Go with Chess is to think about the different ways that Space is organized and traversed by political powers and regimes of meaning. They propose that Chess is a striated (divided, segmented, hierarchical) Space, And Go more of a smooth space. This blogged description is a good summary of the two kinds of Space: The much older game of Go is a strategy of surround and capture, wherein you turn an enemy's wealth - by our analogy labor-power - into your own. This is mirrored in Siamese warfare as reported in 1688 by an Iranian vistor, "...the struggle is wholly confined to trickery and deception. They have no intention of killing each other or of inflicting any great slaughter because if a general gained a real conquest, he would be shedding his own blood so to speak" (context, Ibrahim), full quote here. We have at surface a strong homology between foreign reports and the structural nature of the game of Go. More can be understood of my position and the role of evasion, surround-and-capture principles in this extended thread here. Diving down into the more philosophical ramifications I provide the extended Deleuze & Guattari quotation comparing the game of Chess vs the game of Go: Rather, he is like a pure and immeasurable multiplicity, the pack, an irruption of the ephemeral and the power of metamorphosis. He unties the bond just as he betrays the pact. He brings a furor to bear against sovereignty, a celerity against gravity, secrecy against the public, a power (puissance) against sovereignty, a machine against the apparatus. He bears witness to another kind of justice, one of incomprehensible cruelty at times, but at others of unequaled pity as well (because he unties bonds.. .). He bears witness, above all, to other relations with women, with animals, because he sees all things in relations of becoming, rather than implementing binary distributions between "states": a veritable becoming-animal of the warrior, a becoming-woman, which lies outside. Let us take a limited example and compare the war machine and the State apparatus in the context of the theory of games. Let us take chess and Go, from the standpoint of the game pieces, the relations between the pieces and the space involved. Chess is a game of State, or of the court: the emperor of China played it. Chess pieces are coded; they have an internal nature and intrinsic properties from which their movements, situations, and confrontations derive. They have qualities; a knight remains a knight, a pawn a pawn, a bishop a bishop. Each is like a subject of the statement endowed with a relative power, and these relative powers combine in a subject of enunciation, that is, the chess player or the game's form of interiority. Go pieces, in contrast, are pellets, disks, simple arithmetic units, and have only an anonymous, collective, or third-person function: Thus the relations are very different in the two cases. Within their milieu of interiority, chess pieces entertain biunivocal relations with one another, and with the adversary's pieces: their functioning is structural. On the other hand, a Go piece has only a milieu of exteriority, or extrinsic relations with nebulas or constellations, according to which it fulfills functions of insertion or situation, such as bordering, encircling, shattering. All by itself, a Go piece can destroy an entire constellation synchronically; a chess piece cannot (or can do so diachronically only). Chess is indeed a war, but an institutionalized, regulated, coded war, with a front, a rear, battles. But what is proper to Go is war without battle lines, with neither confrontation nor retreat, without battles even: pure strategy, whereas chess is a semiology. Finally, the space is not at all the same: in chess, it is a question of arranging a closed space for oneself, thus of going from one point to another, of occupying the maximum number of squares with the minimum number of pieces. In Go, it is a question of arraying oneself in an open space, of holding space, of maintaining the possibility of springing up at any point: the movement is not from one point to another, but becomes perpetual, without aim or destination, with out departure or arrival. The "smooth" space of Go, as against the "striated" space of chess. The nomos of Go against the State of chess, nomos against polis. The difference is that chess codes and decodes space, whereas Go proceeds altogether differently, territorializing or deterritorializing it (make the outside a territory in space; consolidate that territory by the construction of a second, adjacent territory; deterritorialize the enemy by shattering his territory from within; deterritorialize oneself by renouncing, by going elsewhere . ..). Another justice, another movement, another space-time. Deleuze & Guattari, "1227: TREATISE ON NOMADOLOGY—THE WAR MACHINE", A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia   Becoming and A Warfare of Capture What Deleuze and Guattari are invoking is a conception of warfare which is much more fully potentiated. Not locked into rigid hierarchies and roles of figures of power, it is a much more metaphysical battle that reflects aspects of what I have argued is the spiritual foundation of Thailand's Muay Thai, an animism of powers within the history of the culture that predates the arrival of Buddhism (Toward a Theory of the Spirituality of Thailand's Muay Thai). This logic of an animism of powers contains an essential aspect of captured power, the incorporated power of a captured enemy, founded on what historians of Southeast Asia have called "Soul Stuff", roughly equivalent of Hindu shakti (strength). This can be manifested in captured slave labor, or perhaps even in the prehistoric rites of cannibalism through which one consumed the soul stuff of an enemy. You can find a logic of Soul Stuff here, this graphic below helps represent the animism of contest. A primary source on soul stuff and a fusion of military and spiritual prowess can be found with historian O.W. Walters here. Thus, within the cultural origins of Siamese culture, even that which pre-dates the Indianization of the region, we have essential aspects of a smooth, tactical space in a Deleuze & Guattari sense, which potentially maps quite well into the game of Go, especially as it is contrasted to Chess.   Further in concordance with Deleuze & Guattari's philosophical concept of liberty is the way in which Thailand's Muay Thai can be understood as revolutionary in their terms. Deleuze & Guattari write of becoming-animal, becoming-child, becoming-woman, deterritorializing flights inimitable to human freedom. Thailand's Muay Thai (& broader Thai agonism) de-privileges these categories, along a continuous spectrum of thymotic struggle, which runs thru the social hierarchies of low to high, sewing them together. One could say a smooth thymotic space of trajectories. Thailand known for its (ethically criticized) child fighting, women have fought for 100+ yrs, and beetle fighting embodies much of the Muay Thai gambled form. In many important ways Thailand's Muay Thai avoids the stacked arboreal structure of Western Man (& its contrastive Others), favoring a continuity agonistic spectrum within its (Indianized) hierarchies. It has strongly weighted traditional hierarchies, but within this a thymotic line-of-becoming that runs between divinity and animality. see Beetle Fighting, Muay Thai and the Health of the Culture of Thailand - The Ecology of Fighting more on the division of divinity and animality by wicha here: Muay Thai Seen as a Rite: Sacrifice, Combat Sports, Loser as Sacred Victim Knowing-as-doing, the wicha of technical knowledge of how to do, runs between the axes of divinity and animality in a way that supports a mutuality of any figure's becoming, from the insect up to the heightened champion fighter, in a line of flight shared by others. Most Deleuzian becoming-animal, -child, -woman examples come from the arts (sometimes the bedroom), but instead in Thai, gambled agonism we have the becoming of actual animals, children, women & the projective affects of an equally agonistic audience undergoing its own becoming-as. When I say revolutionary, I say "Thailand's Muay Thai has something to teach the world about the nature of violence and its meaning." Learning From Chess in How to See Thailand's Muay Thai Keep in mind, this isn't an direct one-for-one comparison of the contemporary game of Chess (and Chess Theory) and the ring sport of Muay Thai. It compares the dominant image of thought in the conceptual trend. Some have pointed out that my gross picture of Chess leaves out its post-1920s modern Chess Theory development, which often eschews central forward advancement. What is important in the Chess example isn't how Chess was played in 1960s, say, but rather that Chess over the sweep of its history allows us to see how it expressed the martial logic from which it came, ie, how some battles were fought in the field, with advancing lines, and a central capture of territory focus. Chess I would argue contains a martial logic fingerprint in its organizational structure, just as the real life political powers of Kings, Queens, knights and bishops made their impact on its rules & formation, the increased power of the Queen on the board said to be a fine example of this (see: A Queen in Any Other Language). Even in the Hypermodernism of Chess one might say that the center still holds importance, as there are just other ways of controlling or managing it.  Hypermodernism for instance may have reflected the increased use of cannon & then WW1 artillery. Between the two games of Chess and Go are differing Martial Logics. It doesn't mean that there is zero fighting for the center in Muay Thai (or in Southeast Asian warfare...siege warfare is prominent in Ayutthaya history for instance, though with influence from the Portuguese, etc), or that there is zero edge or flank control in Western European warfare or Chess (flank maneuvers are numerous in European warfare). The contrast is really meant to exposed how we perceive conflict spatially, and that these are things we've culturally inherited. You see these inherited concepts, for instance the centrality of territory capture in common Western scoring criteria like "ring control". Centralized conflict is part of our past and informs how we judge fighting styles, just as edge conflict is part of Southeast Asia's past. And importantly this also informs our ideas of violence, with a European tendency toward "kill" (to control land, ie the center) and a SEA tendency toward "capture"(to control labor, ie the edge).  
    • Hey so im an ammateur fighting in europe mostly at DIY events. The thing is even though every fight I improve I am never able to win and its starting to get to me.  I have 5 fights in total 2 k1 and 3 muay thai and iv never won a muay thai, won 1 k1 cos my cardio was better than the other girl and I just out brawld her.  People say wow your technique is so much better than the fight I saw you in last year etc but it still feels bitter to constantly lose. I know i am improving but feel that I always just get tougher and tougher matches, the last 3 fights I lost have all been very close fights. One I lost cos my opponent got injured and broke her ankle when I bloked with a knee but she was able to hide it, another one I lost cos she was using more clean techniques and I was brawling (this one I agree with 100% cos I was landing but it was sloppy.)  The last one I lost cos my cardio was bad which is also fine. I am fine with losing, its just starting to get to me that I never win. It also kinda annoys me that the only fight I ever won was one that I just outbrawled the other girl. Feels like my improvements havnt really helped me cos I just get matched with tougher and tougher opponents each time.  Im wondering if I should give up on decision fights for a while and just do non decisions to get my condifence back up or whether I will eventually break through and be able to win. I am also kinda old at 32 so even though my technique is improving my strength, reflexes and reactions will begin to fade soon. 
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