What I Know Through Experience: Information Does Not Equal Knowledge

After my last Kard Chuek fight, I had a decent black eye and some scratches on the left side of my face from the rope wraps. The impact had...

After my last Kard Chuek fight, I had a decent black eye and some scratches on the left side of my face from the rope wraps. The impact had occurred mostly in the first round, while I was tense and my guard was up, but rather porous due to being very stiff. But by the middle of the second round I’d adjusted my guard to be more flexible, so I could see and strike out of it, and after that my opponent was landing most of her attempts straight into my elbows. Adjustment is normal within a fight; it is, in fact, the number one factor brought up by every Legend I’ve ever trained under, as a signal of a fighter being worth anything at all: being able to gae muay, literally “solve” the opponent’s style.

Under Kevin’s suggestion, in response to how media is consumed online, I started making very short clips about technique. We’d just watched Season 2 of “The Bear” and I was inspired by the “Every Second Counts” motif in the show, so that’s what I call the series. I’m not bragging when I saw this, because it’s just a matter of pure fact: I know an incredible amount of technique from my decade long study in Thailand’s Muay Thai, from learning from more than a hundred Legends and Krus for the Muay Thai Library, from training every day, full time, with Krus who have forgotten more Muay Thai than many will every know, and of course from my 278 fights. It doesn’t mean I’m good at everything, but my database is pretty expansive. So, the idea behind the shorts was to just tap into this, because I think about or make self-corrections, or see something in the gym that I can help explain to someone every day. Because I’d had the experience of adjusting my guard in my Kard Chuek fight, I made a short clip about it. I don’t make clips about things I haven’t experienced, and being punched in the face is something I’ve experienced.

Short, bite-sized content isn’t something I’m known for, and the nature of this content is to act like dried dandelion seeds and spread out on the wind of the internet beyond the fields from which they came. Posting a 20 second video on my Instagram gets turned into a reel, and then people who don’t follow me or don’t know who I am at all are exposed to it through algorithm suggestions. This is to say, my video reached people way outside of my community. Not right away, when it was still within my small group of followers, but weeks later when it had reached out farther and wider, I started getting rude comments on it. All of them were variations on the theme, “don’t take advice from someone about blocking who has a black eye.” Some of them were cheeky about it, but others were outright nasty.

Here’s the thing, here’s why I’m writing about this. Who do these people think has the right to Knowledge? Based on their comments, it’s not experiential knowledge that matters, it’s the clandestine type that they believe in. Yes, I could have waited until my face healed before making the video and avoided the problem, but that’s exactly the point: I was presented with a failure in the ring and I made this adjustment. By the ethic of these commenters taking a piss, they want a 20-year-old to offer makeup tips on how to look younger, rather than a 60-year-old. They want someone with neurotypical children to sell them “gentle parenting,” rather than the parent of neurodivergent kids, with whom patience from a parent is that much more important and that much harder. They want a thin, toned fitness influencer who has never been overweight to tell them how to lose weight and keep it off, rather than someone who has altered their body far beyond a 10-20 lbs thin-or-slightly-less-thin window. I’m not saying that any within those pairs are not legitimate – a 20 year old can have amazing makeup tips, parents with gentle children can still offer parenting advice, and folks who work to be fit from any starting off point have valid knowledge on how to be fit. But criticizing someone who is actually doing the thing they’re telling you about is absolutely ridiculous. And I think it comes from this broader misuse of the internet, which is that the currency of online interactions is information, often mistaken for knowledge. I can go on Wikipedia for 20 minutes and then relay tons of information about a film I’ve never seen, going over its concept, release, reception and historical significance. That’s information. But I cannot offer knowledge about a movie I haven’t seen, or tell you about how I received it, or what significance it has to a group of people I don’t identify with.

Often, when I post my short “Every Second Counts” clips, I get requests.

“Can you do one on [ ]?” And my answer is, “no, I don’t make videos about things I haven’t experienced or don’t know about.” But I do make videos on things that I directly experience, personally have struggled with or am struggling with, and that I know what they feel like or how to engage with them toward progress. And I think that should be the norm.

Watch the “Every Second Counts” Flexible Guard Short

Kevin photographing the bun and me
You can support this content: Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu on Patreon
Posted In
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


Sponsors of 8LimbsUs