Sunday, October 20, 2013 – Loi Khor Stadium –
At my last fight (on Monday, the 14th) the promoter asked if I could fight again on Saturday… before I actually fought that night. I smiled and said he’d have to talk to Den and after the fight Den asked me if I was okay and then we set up for Saturday. I got right back into training on Tuesday and felt pretty good. I had some sore spots on my legs but those generally feel better quickly when I know I’m fighting again. On Friday morning, day before the fight so I generally am not training that day, Den calls me and says the fights are moved to Sunday. So I got back to the gym that afternoon and did some work with Kevin in the ring.
As I stood there sweating and slowing my heart-rate after some 45 second sprint drills with Kevin, I laughed to myself because I was thinking there was only one opponent who I really didn’t want to fight on Sunday. To correct this kind of thinking, I told myself to prepare for that opponent and expect to fight her. The rest of our drills were with her in mind.
When we got to the venue on Sunday I checked the program and saw that my teammate Not was fighting second (he’d forgotten to bring any shorts and had to borrow mine, which were a wee bit tight on him – poor kid) and I was fighting sixth. My opponent was one I’d never fought or heard of before, so I set out scouting the area for any females who might be gearing up to fight.
As I was sitting there the promoter came up and handed me a framed flyer for tonight’s fights. It was a very nice gesture – maybe he’d heard that I like to collect this stuff – and I laughed out loud when I looked at it because in the photographs on the flyer I was set to square off against the exact opponent I’d hoped I wouldn’t and therefore had prepared for. Go figure.
Meeting People From My Page
Sometimes people who are following me on one of my various social media outlets will come to Chiang Mai. Sometimes it’s inspired by my videos or blog and sometimes it’s coincidence, but it has always been a pleasure meeting these people. Sarah reads my blog and gave me a heads up on my Facebook page that she’d be in Chiang Mai and would like to come see me fight, so I posted a map and asked her to please come say hello if she could make it to the fights.
She came over and introduced herself and we sat together talking for a while as the stadium started to fill up. Sarah is great; she’s got a good head on her shoulders and was thoughtful and also curious about her training situation down in Chonburi, where she is also an English teacher. I liked her a lot and it was a little painful to hear about the difficulties she’s facing in her gym – the kind of cultural maze that is very difficult to navigate in a foreign culture – but I did feel that she had good perspective on the situation, which is really the best tool one can have in the face of complicated adversity. And I was very excited to have her enthusiastic support for my fight.
meeting Sarah Chung
Most of the fights ended in KO, so the night moved quickly. There was a female bout before mine that I totally failed to see on the program. I first saw the fighter in the blue corner walking around in her shorts and thought to myself, “Good GOD! She’s big!” She must have been 130+ lbs, but very soft. Turns out she was the other female fight and her opponent was closer to my size. I missed most of the fight because I was getting my hands wrapped and my massage but apparently the decision was contrary to what most people saw and my husband warned me about letting my fight go to the judges.
I didn’t see my actual opponent at all until I had already climbed into the ring. She was also much bigger than I am, although probably not quite so big as the girl I had falsely assumed was my opponent. What was kind of funny was that when Den asked me the day after my last fight if I could fight again on Saturday I’d said it was no problem, then suggested that maybe I not fight someone quite so big as the girl I fought on Monday – just because of the proximity of fights and going in slightly dinged up. He agreed and said he’d talk to the promoter. And then here I am facing an opponent who was bigger than my last opponent, we estimated maybe 55 kg, the biggest girl I’ve fought (I’m 47-48 right now). You never know.
But when opponents get bigger they also get slower – generally. This fight was incredibly frustrating for me. It may not look this way from the audience due to the fact that nobody outside my head knows what I’m trying to do – or at least wanting to do – but I was upset with myself for “staying on the porch” as I call it. That’s basically waiting within striking distance (or just outside of my own striking distance but within my opponent’s because they tend to be bigger than I am, with greater reach) but not actually attacking. So in my head I was just waiting and waiting and it was driving me nuts. When I did get in I did very well and my clinch was working well. She landed an elbow right on the side of my nose but without any power and I was happy afterward that I was able to return and land a few of my own. I love that my elbows are starting to come out.
I could feel her draining from my knees. It may not even be visible but when you’re right up on someone you can feel the fatigue simply by a kind of stillness – a hesitation before they can fire anything back and you know by that sign to accelerate. I feel like my ability to “smell blood” in this fight was higher than usual, or at least my ability to act on it. I was hitting her with knees on her way down when I knocked her down the first time and, though I would have liked to have done something spectacular – like a flying elbow or something – but I did come after her quickly. *I had written that I “ran” after her after the break but that was before I watched the video. I just watched it and am crying with laughter. I did not run… I kind of power walked and look like an absolute idiot. It’s pretty hilarious and demonstrates a) how tense I was and b) how different something can feel from how it looks. Priceless: it’s at about 1:04 of round 3 if you want to laugh with me.
Afterward I was a little bummed out that I didn’t do more of what I wanted to do but the audience was going absolutely crazy. The announcer, too, was very complimentary of me in the ring. He introduced me with glowing praise about my fight frequency, as well as noting my “beautiful knee” knockout from Monday and, my favorite, recognized and informed the crowd that my Ram Muay is “old style.” That’s from Master K! Sometimes the announcers say (usually in Thai) that my Ram Muay is “unusual” but few recognize that it’s an older style. Very cool.
So now I know more of what to work on. I don’t want to be that guy who complains after a win that I “didn’t do enough” or whatever because it feels disrespectful to the opponent. She was good – Den and Pom told me she used to fight at a smaller weight a few years ago and was a top fighter in the area – and I the fight was shaped by both of us. No fighter is in there alone. So I did what I could in the circumstances and I want to take my feelings about it and direct those toward making the things I can do in those circumstances greater. That’s what’s cool about fighting 4 times in 13 days (my fight this Wednesday will make that number), that in that amount of time I can gather a great deal of information about myself through different opponents and use that to adjust my training. I won’t change a great deal between any of these fights, but together they will produce great changes down the road.
I didn’t pick the best location for this post-fight update. I wanted to get better light than last time and needed a little bit of distance from the crowd because it was so loud, but the cement wall is not my favorite. I’ll fix that for the next one, but you can definitely see how I felt after the fight. I misspoke though, I say I fought Friday but it was actually Monday.