Muay Dee Wi Tee Thai มวยดีวิถีไทย – รายการมวยไทย
This afternoon I went to the gym to check my weight and while I was there discovered that there would be a film crew from Thai TV Channel 11 to interview me about my upcoming fight in Isaan.
I was nervous because I wanted to give answers in Thai and also because I’m not crazy about being on camera (I know, coming from someone who puts everything online this sounds ridiculous). But I was happy to have heard about it prior so I could prepare for it mentally and not show up wearing a stupid T-shirt or something.
When I got to the gym the crew was already there, setting up to film an intro perhaps right at the mouth of the driveway. I nodded and wai-ed to the crew as I approached and the interviewer asked me if I spoke Thai. I said I do, a little bit, and he said that was great, that he’d show me what he was going to ask and what answers he wanted from me.
I agreed and went to put my bag down, where I met Andy who looked me up and down and asked me in a straight out manner but with his typical suspicious expression how I felt. “I feel great,” I said, “everything is perfect.” He nodded and said I looked, “not skinny, but very,” and then he made a shrunken gesture with his hands as if packing a ball of snow. I explained that I’d been experimenting with getting close to my fight weight because it had been so long since I’d had to cut weight and I wanted to know a) that I could do it and b) how I would feel. I told him I’d reached 45 kg today and was already rehydrating and eating. He nodded strongly and told me that was a great idea, cutting his arms through the air in an almost marching motion. He then motioned toward the camera crew and asked me if I knew I was going to be filmed today. As if anybody in the gym wasn’t already staring at the whole crew.
After some discussion it was decided I would film a spot in which the interviewer asked me if I was ready for the fight, how I felt about fighting on this card, then showed me a photo of my opponent and asked me to speak to her but into the camera and finally to say that I would win for sure and we’d meet on this date on this channel. I was told to speak directly into the camera, which was weird because I was being asked questions by a real person standing next to me. Then I was stumbling over the Thai, even though it was really not complicated and they’d ask for longer answers so they could edit, but I couldn’t really elaborate on whether I was ready or how excited I was for the fight. So we filmed a bit with me speaking English, which was equally brief because I don’t have a great deal to say to someone I’m going to fight other than, “I’ve been training hard and hope you have too so we can have a great fight.” (I’m sure Dana White would air that!) The picture of my opponent that they showed me is a color photocopy of her standing in front of a poster looking very pretty and very much like a long, limby teenaged girl. She had long black hair pulled into a messy high poneytail and a red “vest” (a box-shaped, sleeveless top) which she looked to be drowning in. We’ll be the same weight, but I absolutely have power on this girl.
The crew borrowed a motorcycle from the camp and filmed me running. Due to the inconvenience of traffic I took them to a route I run that goes through residential neighborhoods and at the base of a hill is the “Garbage Gang,” a rowdy pack of dogs that usually hang out just outside their gated yard and two of them I’ve seen almost daily on my afternoon runs since they were tiny puppies, so they happily run up and greet me from half a block away. The film crew didn’t know I know these dogs and when the pack started to charge after me the men on the motorcycle freaked out, thinking maybe they were going to get footage of me being bit or attacked by dogs. They saw immediately when I reached my hands down and patted some heads and bodies as I ran through and a few of them jumped over each other and onto me that it was a congenial situation, but it was pretty funny.
When we got back to the gym they got some footage of me wrapping my hands, shadowing and going about my routine kneeing the bag. There was some discussion between Taywin and Andy about who should hold pads for me. Taywin said Andy should, I assume out of deference to Andy’s position and Andy in an uncomfortable shift of his shoulders said that a Thai should hold for me, indicating Taywin. I quickly jumped in and insisted Den should do it, since he’s my trainer. Andy’s face lit up and he said, “yes Den!” as if he were shouting “Eureka!” So Den called me into the ring and we began working as the cameraman took shots here and there.
The ring was pretty full. There were three trainers and three women hitting pads, but it must have looked interesting to see the contrast between my padwork and that of absolute beginners, but all of us western females. Taywin began directing me to shout when I kicked, to make a lot of noise, which I tried but lost interest in quickly. I do make sounds when I hit pads, but forcing it and simply doing it have opposite results. Then, a few rounds in, my padwork was stopped so that we could reshoot the interview and TV spots where I give the date of the fight and say that I’ll win for sure. There was a lot of, “no, speak more powerfully” and positioning of my arms and direction on how to say things that made it very uncomfortable and unnatural. Finally Den popped over (irritated that we’d stopped doing rounds for this, with which I agreed) and told me to just speak louder. So I did and there it was: I sounded more forceful and confident and after a few takes the crew was happy and Den and I could resume our padwork, this time with just two of us in the ring and the cameraman jumped in with us to get tight shots. Den held for many flying elbows.
It was a real pleasure meeting the film crew and the interviewer was very nice. I also enjoy the adventure of being on TV and am proud of myself for speaking Thai, even though it had some difficulties. And I am genuinely very excited for this fight, which will come across in the fight itself, even if it’s a little staged for the TV show.