What Muay Thai Means To Me? What People Say

It started as the thought to draw attention to the huge Sylvie Intensive collection that documents the Muay Thai of Karuhat Sor. Supawan. No great fighter ever has been...

It started as the thought to draw attention to the huge Sylvie Intensive collection that documents the Muay Thai of Karuhat Sor. Supawan. No great fighter ever has been so documented, I believe. But, in this time of shutdown, profits of the purchases of the videos, downloads or subscriptions go directly to him, and also Yodkhunpon The Elbow Hunter. It really is amazing material, and now that many of us have much more time to study it seemed like the good time to do a giveaway. Discover great content, help some legends. You can check out the Sylvie Intensive here.

What Muay Thai Means to Me

I did a giveaway, which you can see below, on my Instagram, and on Facebook and on Reddit. Three places you can find me. The very cool thing about it was I just wanted to hear from people how Muay Thai changed their lives, what it meant to them. The contest is over, but the answers are eternal. It’s really beautiful to see all the ways that it touches and changes people’s lives. I sat down and read all of them aloud to Kevin.

View this post on Instagram

Announcing a giveaway of one of my most proud achievements, creating an extremely detailed documentation of one of the greatest fighters who ever fought. But before I go on about it, here's how to enter, it's easy! ENTERING Just in comments write sincerely about how and why Muay Thai has changed your life, and given meaning. On April 6th (in 2 days), Kevin and I will choose the answer we love the most (don't be offended if we don't choose you, I'm sure we'll love a lot of them!) GET one full month unlimited streaming subscription to the Sylvie Study Intensive project. This has over 30 hours of my commentary voiceover with video training with @karuhats Karuhat Sor Supawan. It is the most thorough documentation of a great fighter's style in any discipline, probably ever, going well beyond the level of techniques. And, you also get 6 hours with the Elbow Hunter Yodkhunpon, the greatest elbow fighter in history. See the collection here: vimeo.com/ondemand/sylviestudy This On Demand site has been set up to help support Karuhat and Yodkhunpon over the years, with 55% of the net sales going to them each month. Since the Covid-19 crisis 100% of the net sales goes to support them, so if you would like to just purchase access to the streaming video and downloads you'll be directly supporting these legends at a time that they don't have direct means of income right now. But, as a winner of the giveaway you'll have one month of unlimited streaming of all the video! This is a time to dive right in and study Muay Thai like you never have before. I'm doing this giveaway to draw attention to this great material and a way to support these Legens directly, but also so we can share what Muay Thai means to us at a time when isolation or distance from our gyms can it can feel like it is being taken away.

A post shared by Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu (@sylviemuay) on

the giveaway is over but the answers were awesome

I was going to just pick one winner, but 3 answers really struck me and Kevin. In fact all of them were awesome, but these three stood out. The winners were Gemma, Kaity, and “Contaninomics”.

What Everyone Said



I took up Muay Thai as a physical component to a health regiment consisting of mind, body and spiritual training. I had lots of physical pain, been diagnosed with scoliosis, and had been drinking and partying too much. I meditated and read every day and decided to start training like a fighter to add the “body” element. I built the confidence and basic conditioning to go to a Muay Thai class. I was super intimidated, but had already decided I was gonna pursue it, and I fell in love immediately. Now I’m training towards the goal of having a competition (not full contact) at -67kg, down from 98kg. I feel like trash when I don’t train now, and can hardly drink because I can feel how my body functions at a lower level afterwards and I don’t like it. It’s helped me feel like I am capable of anything now


Muay Thai to me is a way of living. It’s ancient and thoughtful. It heals and tames my thoughts. Muay Thai teaches me to sift through my Emotions and helps me listen to myself. It helps me in all areas of my life, in performing, fitness, meditation and spirituality. I’ve tried lots of different styles but Muay Thai feels like home to me. I’m not lost when I am with Muay Thai. ❤️🙏🏼



I struggle with anxiety and Muay Thai helps me get to know myself in a way nothing else ever has. Muay Thai lets me discover who I am, teaches me so many life lessons, and helps me build an inner confidence and calmness I can’t even explain.

Besides, it’s just so beautiful…


Without a ton of details…muay thai literally saved my life. Not simply phsyically. It started as a way to keep me breathing..the only thing i found that worked..even then i almost didnt make it. I never imagined fighting much like sylvie…it became something that captured me.indid begin figting and it brought this passion to a whole new level. Its been a way to face myself and truly push through many things…helping me on my path of growth. I find muay thai to be truly beautiful and theres something …spiritual that resonates with me within the roots of it.


Before I did Muay Thai, I felt like my life was in a rut. I was working 2 jobs, 6-7 days a week with really nothing to look forward for. I’m a personal trainer, but working out in a gym didn’t give the same sense of happiness and accomplishment that it once was. I did hapkido before and missed it: the feeling of kicking and punching targets, daily practice and sparring. I missed it all! Then, I started doing Muay Thai in July of last year when my roommates was checking out muay thai gym, and that love for martial arts came back! For 7 years, it felt like something was missing and after doing Muay Thai, I felt like I rediscovered myself! I’ve felt some dope people and felt like I found a family again. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, me and a few teammates were training to compete in a local point kickboxing tournament. I was really looking forward to it because I felt like that was the one thing missing when I was training in hapkido: competition, a way to prove to myself what I had learn and what I need to look on. After the passing of this pandemic, I am looking forward to training again!!!!! (Sorry this is long, but I felt like I should give the whole story!)


Consistently training muay thai helped me be more focused and better manage my time during a time I was struggling at my corporate job. Learning muay thai, particularly my coaches, helped with my self confidence, see how important the little things are that have nothing to do with muay thai technique like showing up to class on time, running and jump rope. Muay thai helped me believe in myself and able to compete in my first boxing tournament earlier this year at 36 years old!


Don’t pick me because I’m already supporting you on patreon, so I don’t need it but I thought; if not now, when would I get to share my story with two of my heroes (that’s the two of you 😅). So sorry, if it gets too personal (to anyone reading this). I grew up with dysfunctional parents, one alcoholic one schizophrenic and the early years in school wasn’t easy bullying and stuff. I found physical activity early and it kinda set me apart from my friends, who all grew up pretty rough. First Capoeira for 8 years, overlapping with parkour for 5 and then dance school and against all odds, got into a very famous dance school at age 20 and became a professional dancer. Was lucky enough to work with good & famous companies/choreographers. Then I got into this famous piece, with big choreographers who were quite abusive. Since we toured all over the world and I got a lot of recognition, I couldn’t make myself stop though we all got verbally abused on a regular basis. One year my dad died and the year after my mom killed herself. I “powered through” for a year and then it hit me like a truck. I lost the ability to do everything. I couldn’t get up in the morning and I couldn’t do any of the things I normally did without physical pain or exhaustion. I couldn’t move and I felt like I would loose everything because I didn’t know who I was without movement. After two years of depression, and the deepest pit I’ve ever been in, a friend told me of Muay Thai. And then I found the two of you. Watching your work made me want to do things again and Muay Thai made me move without pain, which is my feeling of who I am, for the firs time in two years. It has made me a happy person again and for now, I can’t imagine a life without it. So thanks to the two of you and to all people I meet on this path 🙏


Garrett Arnold I started training Muay Thai in 2012. I was 24 at the time and had no real motivation to do anything. Working in restaurants and doing odd side jobs for money.

When I started training Muay Thai it gave me a direction and purpose. For the first time in as long as I can remember I was able to work hard to build a valuable skill set.

About a year and a half into my training I started helping with assisting the coach with the fundamental classes… fast forward to today and I am the Muay Thai instructor for a small gym and team.

The thing I love most about Muay Thai is the camaraderie and atmosphere of the classes. To be able to be a small part of so many amazing peoples journeys has really been an honor for me.

Thank you for everything you do for our sport! 🙏🏻❤️

Clare Tapp This is soooo difficult as Muay Thai has changed my life in so many ways…but here are a few I think encompass many of the ways training has enriched my life experiences…

1. It is something me and my partner started at the same time. We wanted to train, share and learn together. It fills our home and our souls 🙏

2. I am 152cm and weigh 48kg life can be intimidating…Training has given me a space to grow and become stronger. I have braved the male dominated Muay Thai gym and overcome this intimidating environment to meet my amazing patient trainers 🙏

3. It has opened up my life to this wonderful discipline, culture and people who live and breath Muay Thai both in the UK and Thailand. I’m thankful for that 🙌 (plus your Muay Thai bones podcasts get me to sleep so I look less old 😂)!

I think it’s great you and Kevin are doing this…whoever you choose I know this will be an invaluable gift 🙏 good luck everyone 🤞

Olivia Nicol i first walked into a muay thai gym in times of great sorrow and personal turmoil, searching for a compelling distraction from myself. today i no longer need that distraction because i became strong enough to endure, but i continue my muay thai journey for the beautiful art it represents and the humans who perpetuate it by passing knowledge down through generations. thank you to my gym, my trainers, my teammates, and the fighting world at large, whose wisdom and efforts have borne me to this point and will continue to bear me. now i can not only fight but also stare unflinchingly with courage at the challenges, difficulties, and failures of life. thank you.

Long Long I started Muay Thai on April 2017, at that time I was working and haven’t been working out since university graduation. I can see myself less active and unhealthy day by day, so I decide to do something about it. I never train martial arts before, but I heard about how effective muay thai is on the JRB, so I make a decision to join a local muay thai gym, to improve my overall fitness and myself more active. It was one of the best decisions of my life, at the gym I meet people who shared the same goals as me and we all become good friends.

Since started muay thai, I notice my overall fitness have improve combined with my sharpness and skills. With the encouragement of my team mates and my trainer I step on the ring for the first time last August, even though I lost the fight it was a great experience.

Muay thai have changed my physical fitness, my mental toughness and also my social skills, I am more confident now then before.

The world is battling the covid-19, not just muay thai gym, most sports facilities are closed, hope we can all fight through and go back to training soon.

Gemma Ralph I started muay thai nearly 2yrs ago. I started it at first to help me with some health issues I have after my two boys, I was left with a few complications.

Before I started I couldn’t do a sit up or a push up. When I started I said to my instructor when we first met, that under no circumstances am I sparring or doing any fights, as I wasn’t a very confident person and had visions of just been a human punch bag for someone.

After 3mths of training I started light sparring, within 7mths I had upped my session from 1 day a week to two and was doing a mixed class and sparring with the guys.

Nearly a year in and i could do sit ups and pushups, I also entered my first interclub fight. And am looking in to possibly doing an amateur fight.

Muay thai has helped my out with some serious issues after my boys, where normal exercises couldn’t help as it was too painful. It has also give me great confidence and peace of mind.

I love muay thai and everything about it.

Kaity May I don’t know if this is quite what you are asking for. But, I couldn’t imagine a better way to express how beautifully Muay Thai has changed/impacted me than by sharing this journal article I wrote in March of 2019. I started journaling after I tore my right acl training for a fight in April of 2018. Rehab took a year. It was the hardest (absolutely no exaggeration) time of my life.

Less than five weeks shy of finishing my rehab (2 days after agreeing on a fight date for August of 2019) I tore my left acl. I can’t begin to tell you how horrible that was. So I won’t try. I am just over 9 months into my second rehab. I teach Muay Thai daily. I train at a high level. And I fight. It is my life. It brought me my fiancé (who also trains with me), my best friends, and my way of being each and everyday. I wake up, I train. I spend my entire day focused on my sport – from nutrition, to sleep, to yoga and conditioning, to the actual training.

I don’t share this to you with the hopes of winning this (as I said I don’t think it’s quite what you want), but more so because I genuinely felt you’d like to read this, Sylvie. You, and all you share, are such an inspiration to me, and for once I feel I have something I can share with you. Thank you for all you do. Be safe and well.

March 20,2019

I call my sport Muay Thai. But the truth is that it is much more than those two words. It is also kickboxing. Boxing. Karate. Capoeira. Tae Kwon doe. It is also none of those things. It is a way of being. A way of moving. It is stance, posture, tradition. But also it is wild, playful, unconventional.

It is art, formed by my body. More spontaneous than any dance. But still fluid and beautiful.

And it is also not.

It is destruction. Scripted. Ugly. Messy. Bloody. Painful.

It is frustration and elation. It is anger and joy. It is companionship and solitude. It is hard work and lazy. It is laughter and it is tears. It is rage and it is patience.

It is a conglomerate of everything I know. Melted together into one square ring where I get the chance to lay out all of my abilities day after day after day.

It is the chance to prove that I am better than someone. But also better than no one. To make someone hurt. And to feel my own pain. To inflict my skill set onto their body in a way that allows me to be dominant and superior. And to crumple against others who reign far supreme to me.

It is punching someone with the perfect shot. It is kicking someone just right. It is landing the most beautiful push kick and seeing the wind fly out of someone.

It is the reason I am whole. It is the reason I am confident. It is the reason I am beautiful.

It is the reason I sob at the end of a hard day. Feeling broken beyond words. It is the reason I feel like the smallest, insignificant creature who knows nothing about this sport. It is the reason I am covered in bruises, cuts and scars.

It is my perfect oxymoron. And for all my linguistic skills I have no way to describe what Muay Thai is to me. Only to say that I love it. It makes me me. It is me. And I am it. We are one. For all the contradictions. This I know for certain. This sport. And I. We are one together.



Muay Thai came to me in a time where I had already started my weight loss journey through bjj. Nonetheless, it has had one of the greatest impacts on my life. I’ve since lost over 100lbs, had three amateur fights, became a Muay Thai and bjj instructor and been a successful bjj competitor (at the hobbyist level). I couldn’t have been happier to have found this art. Side note, loooove your channel!


It is a beautiful expression of who i am. Im a rather stoic person and muay thai has been the only way ive been able to express myself with a variety of people who can appreciate what i do. I joined originally because it i thought it was cool as hell and i thought it would give me confidence in myself but it was much more. The training, the discipline, victory and defeat, the comrades and rivals you make on the never ending road of refining your craft has given me purpose during the darkest time in my life. I can say for a fact I’m a better and stronger person since i walked into my first lesson.


Prior to beginning Muay Thai ~15 years ago, I held a lot of resentment and frustration. Those emotions stemmed from being shoved into traffic by a stranger uttering racist statements when I was a child; even in this century, I would go jogging and be shoulder-checked, pushed, have garbage thrown at me. I started Muay Thai to learn how to defend myself, for fitness, and for a physical knowledge I could carry into my senior years which were quickly creeping up on me since I was in my 30s.

At my first class, I was told to kick the bag; Charlie Brown channeled my spirit as I swung my rear leg; just as Peppermint Patty would pull the football away from Gool ol’ Chuck, I went airborne and landed on my back. Eventually, I started training 5 days a week and something with my presence changed. No one utters anything at me anymore, no one purposely bumps into me, and if someone steps into my path, I smile, say “excuse me” and go around. I’m happier, I’m no longer frustrated at being a victim, but feel sorrow for anyone who hates someone without knowing them. Muay Thai delivered everything I hoped for and so much more—it brought me calmness, joy, friends, community, and an infectious smile.


I’m 46 now, started training when I was 17. When I was a kid, I was a late developer. I was quite short and really skinny, always the smallest of my friends and not interested in physical activity at all. So my body image, if you will, my sense of myself in physical space as it developed in the crucial years from 12-16, was that of a short, skinny kid. Alongside that, I have always been spacey and daydreamy (I was later diagnosed with ADD and is probably on the lighter end of the autism spectrum), spending most of my time hanging out in my own head or reading books, untuned to social activity. I was also very nonconfrontational; physically, because I guess I felt like a small animal, emotionally because that felt alien and scary to me (my parents were kind, but not exactly the kind of people who’d talk about their emotions). I never had any problems with this, though. No bullying, nothing like that. I had some great friends that I played roleplaying games with, and even if my parents worked a lot, I never felt unloved.

I started growing taller when I was about 16 and reached 6’3″ by the time I was 18-19. When I was 17 I went to a thai gym for the first time. I can’t remember the chain of decisions that got me there, but through roleplaying games I had always been fascinated by martial arts. This was around 1990, if anyone remembers what the martial arts community was like back in those days (that’s a whole ‘nother story for another day). I had never done any sports before that, and the gym was a definetely not a family-oriented one, run by an old thai dude and had lots of fighters. But my lack of social awareness helped me, I guess. I just showed up one day, too clueless to be intimidated, and kept going. I never had any fights, that was always a step too far for my nonconfrontational, unfocused self.

Since then, I have been a life long martial artist. I’ve trained boxing, karate and kung fu along the years, and I spent the years from 2001 to 2008 in an MMA gym (one of the very first in my country). I’ve always returned to muay thai, focusing on that for the past 10 years. These day, I teach beginners and intermediate classes in my local gym once or twice a week. Martial arts in general, and muay thai in particular was, I think, a way for a short, skinny, ADD, daydreaming kid to feel himself in space, to get some grounding. A way to just be here, now. To get some bumps and bruises. Some ADD/autism spectrum kids get heavy blankets or weighted vest to help with focus and calmness, martial arts was my blanket, my way of developing the ability to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m a pretty big dude these days, taller and heavier than most people in the gym, but in some ways I also still feel like that kid that just one day started training muay thai and just never stopped.

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