Elbows – The ebbs and flows of poetry

Have you ever watched a “battle,” between singers or dancers, or even intellectuals on a panel? In dance battles, often the “retort” begins with an imitation of the initial...

Have you ever watched a “battle,” between singers or dancers, or even intellectuals on a panel? In dance battles, often the “retort” begins with an imitation of the initial performer’s moves and then expands out to an elaboration and then one-upping. Like, “I see your splits and raise you a flip.” In singing, the words can be the same but the improvisation gets more intense. With intellectuals, you try to make a really brilliant point sound elementary. These exchanges are very exciting, so long as you know what you’re looking at or listening to, can follow along. And often they’re exciting precisely because they’re an interaction, not a negation of one another.

Two clips come to mind for me. First is Yodkhunpon, the “Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches,” in slow motion perfection. Watching him throw his elbows, you can track where his tension is placed and replaced. His hands flutter, almost like leaves in Autumn, tumbling to the Earth; or butterflies in spring, flitting and flirting. He swings in relaxed violence.

the slow motion of Yodkhunpon’s elbows, above

The next is Thailand Pinsinchai, who actually began his talk about elbows by referencing Yodkhunpon. The two were at the same gym for a short time and Thailand actually said to me, “my elbows are the same as Yodkhunpon.” Not at all. But yes, also performed with the effortlessness of a perpetual motion machine. Steady, repeatable, dangerous, absolutely beautiful. Thailand imitated Yodkhunpon’s elbows, without a single flutter, and then launched into his own rendition that is as perfect and mesmerizing as the inner gears of a clock. You could never, in a million years, argue that either of these completely different expressions or performances is “incorrect.” Differing techniques in Muay Thai are not “right” or “wrong” in a binary, but rather are binary, as in the language or code. Some techniques are 0 and some are 1, and you can rearrange them endlessly to map out entire commands, simulations, games, programs, or even poetry.

the slow motion of Kru Thailand’s elbows, above

You can study Kru Thailand style in the Muay Thai Library, including these elbows:

Attacking Shell (62 min) watch it here

The Beauty of Clinch (57 min) watch it here

You can watch how Yodkhupon used his elbows in this watch with me:

You can support this content: Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu on Patreon
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Muay Thai

A 100 lb. (46 kg) female Muay Thai fighter. Originally I trained under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K) and Kaensak sor. Ploenjit in New Jersey. I then moved to Thailand to train and fight full time in April of 2012, devoting myself to fighting 100 Thai fights, as well as blogging full time. Having surpassed 100, and then 200, becoming the westerner with the most fights in Thailand, in history, my new goal is to fight an impossible 471 times, the historical record for the greatest number of documented professional fights (see western boxer Len Wickwar, circa 1940), and along the way to continue documenting the Muay Thai of Thailand in the Muay Thai Library project: see patreon.com/sylviemuay

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