December 24, 2016 – Loi Kroh, Chiang Mai – full fight with audio commentary above
This was one night after my loss to Thanonchanok Kaewsamrit, when I had pretty bad food poisoning. So, I was feeling awesome in the sense that I was no longer suffering from the poisoning, but still a little tired from the stress to my body over that ordeal. This was my 3rd fight in 4 days. Nothing extra remarkable, just notable. This opponent was, incidentally, a teammate from the sport school that Thanonchanok is from. I’d never seen or fought her before, Namwan, so there was a healthy degree of, “I have no idea what to expect,” that I really like with new opponents.
She was probably about 51 kg, which is a good few kilos lighter than Thanonchanok and a good few heavier than I am, so it was kind of right in the middle. I do like fighting back-to-back because you can kind of roll the fights off one another, so if you win you’re feeling great and if you lose you’re feeling ready to right yourself, so it’s all pretty good. Sometimes it can feel shitty after a loss, because my confidence might be limping along, but in the “zero fucks tour of 2016,” this felt just right.
I noted pretty quickly that Namwan is Southpaw and, without it being typical among tomboy fighters at large, it is only tomboy fighters and usually left-handed ones as well who play this kind of fight where you can stand close and touch gloves in rhythm. Thai men fight this way but it’s hard to find women who will do it. I love it because it has this “fuck you, Imma stand in your space” kind of feel to it. Namwan seemed mostly to like staying away from me, which is typical across the board with my opponents. But she does it with a degree of swagger that I liked. She’s still bigger than I am but after having wrestled against Thanonchanok the night before and generally facing pretty weighty opponents, when I went to turn and throw Namwan I was pretty surprised by how much she moved. It’s like when Peter Parker becomes Spiderman and rips the handle off the bathroom door because he doesn’t understand his strength yet. Or, more accurately, throwing all your weight into pushing a shopping cart because you’re used to trying to push your dad’s car out of the snowbank it got stuck in.
You can see me smiling in this fight, which is an effect of the “zero fucks” approach. I did enjoy myself and I definitely felt way more relaxed, which I think is why I had access to more weapons than I do in fights where I’m under a lot of pressure, due to greater size disparity, super skilled opponents, or just being in my own head. In round 2, after learning what it meant for me to catch her and throw her around, Namwan made the very good decision to start cutting angles, which made it look like she was controlling my movement rather than me moving her around the ring. It’s a brilliant adjustment. Nothing has changed in my movement, but due to her movement the interpretation of that very same movement changes. Muay Thai is awesome. Between rounds Kevin had told me to pull her off the ropes, which became even better advice in round 2, when she was just stalling. But Daeng seemed to approve of my attempts to keep striking even when stuck against her “Wall of China.” Kevin’s advice is better though. Pull off the ropes. Round 3 normally would have been very frustrating for me, the way she kept moving from corner to corner and just locking me out. But my headspace was good so I was more or less perfectly content to keep doing the same thing over and over until a slight variation of that same thing started to work. Not the most technical game plan, but it works when you’re just trying shit. So this was kind of a “slow motion” win on points, but a dominant one. It felt relaxed, the way so many of my opponents have seemed to barely break a sweat while kicking my ass – I got to feel that from the other side of the exchange, to kind of lazily win a fight. And Namwan was a cool opponent, just as someone to share the ring with. I liked her a lot.
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