above: the view from Everest, where mountains look like hills
My Goal of 200 fights in Thailand. Below is my total fight rate since moving to Thailand, projected out to 210 fights by September 2018 (210 because I’ve fought 10 times outside of Thailand). At face value this seems like just such an absurd number, but I will say that as a western female fighter my first goal of 50 also seemed so beyond possibility and imagining. I came to the idea from another woman who had accomplished 50 fights all together (Sylvie Charbonneau), so I knew it was conceivable, but was it possible for me? I worked and fought and found myself flying past 50. It shows you how something that looks crazy from one angle becomes quite achievable from another. I believe it’s important to set Everest style goals, and coming up to 100 fights and now beyond (116), I find myself no longer on western standards at all, but on Thai possibilities.
Before getting on a plane to move to Thailand, when I’d struggled to fight every few months and already was taking weight disadvantages just to be able to get into the ring at all, the 50 fight measure seemed unknowable. But once I was in Thailand and had been adamant enough to convince my trainers that I really did want to fight all the time, the possibilities opened. Three layers what is possible, in stages: what is possible in the west (where I was), what is possible in Thailand (where I found myself), and then what’s indeed possible in the particular conditions I found myself in and then worked to make for myself (the reach). Not all, or most, Thai female fighters have 100 fights, or even 200 fights, but fights in the hundreds in Thailand are the signs of a “worker,” someone who just fights and fights. It’s not necessarily the sign of a champion, but someone fighting with frequency and interest GETS good.
The muay khao clinch style I’m pursuing is not an easy one – it requires learning clinch at a high level, and lots of defensive control of space. Very few female Thai fighters have it (for a variety of reasons), and it’s not for lack of effort that I’m not there yet, but I want to be. It’s a style that takes a lot of work and time to master. If I am so lucky to remain in Thailand long enough to achieve the proficiency I seek, I would measure that it would likely take me about 200 fights in the country. This becomes my Everest: 200 fights in Thailand by September 2018. And I chart it to know how far I am from my goal. Runners put in miles, fighters put in fights.
There are lots of things that may get in the way of this goal. Most pragmatically, money. If I can make 8limbs.Us sustainable, I can find a way to remain in the country and continue fighting every fight I can find, then it’s just a matter of time. The sponsorship of Nak Muay Nation through Sean Muay Thai Guy and Lawrence Lawrence Kenshin Striking Breakdowns, along with that of very generous readers on Patreon is the first real sign that I could possibly do this incredible thing. To remain here and work as a Muay Thai journalist for readers.
You can read about my first sponsorship by Nak Muay Nation here.
There also is the hurdle of consistently finding fights. My reputation has grown in the country and opponents my size are harder and harder to find. Even opponents several kilos larger than me avoid me. I had a harder time then usual finding fights in these last months, and it wasn’t until I had a few losses in a row that offers started coming in more frequently. Without large side bets as financial backing, it may be hard to tempt top fighters to fight me, with regularity. Saying this, I do think the opponent issue will solve itself. I’ll have enough losses fighting bigger opponents, or the occasional slip up, and I’ll just keep facing opponents over my weight class. It will happen.
There is also injury. I’m pretty tough with physical limitation, I’ve been fighting and training through a hand fracture for months, but things like cuts simply take fights off the board. I’ve lost out on maybe 7 fights in 2015 that had to be canceled due to cuts/stitches; fights I would love to have fought. The truth of the matter is, this is both avoidable and unavoidable. As a muay khao clinch fighter I am going to keep putting my face in harm’s way, and as the smaller fighter even a good guard isn’t a guarantee. This is one reason Thai women don’t fight in this style: it risks cuts. You fight like this and it’s going to happen. But I definitely have lots of work to do in my clinch entry techniques. Most of my cuts have not come from beautiful elbows thrown my way, but rather from my own lack of precision in entering clinch. It’s clumsiness and carelessness.
I’m about huge goals. Set an impossible goal. Force yourself to focus on imagining it, and it starts to tune your whole world and make things possible. The worth of the goal is simply this: It’s unimagineable. It changes the world not only for yourself, but for everyone else who witnesses and helps you do it.
For those who think 200 fights in Thailand is absurd, it is. However, Nong Ying is a Thai female fighter in Chiang Mai who fights regularly, and faces many westerners, she is said to have over 300 fights. I’ve met many men who achieved those numbers in their relative youth. It’s nothing special, other than in the doing. These men and this woman have met these impossible numbers over many years of fighting. For me, I don’t have any promise of years in front of me, so there’s an urgency to my task that at times seems mad to some. That I fight through a broken hand or with cuts not fully healed. But this is the thing about Everest: the mountain makes its own weather and the particular obstacles and impossibilities may change within a single climb; the mountain will not accommodate you. When the day presents itself and the weather is good, you climb. It may seem the humane thing to do to rest, but if you stop on that mountain to take a nap it may become your “forever nap.” You may get only one chance and so you fucking hustle. There is no time for “maybe later” or “I’ll get the next one,” on Everest; you don’t hesitate. I don’t hesitate. I climb. We climb.
You set your Everest goal too –
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