Sunday, March 25, 2012

Muay Thai

Last time we were in Thailand, Manu and I watched a 4 hour Muay Thai competition. As we arrived very early we had the chance to talk to the owner/MC of the ring. We learned that Muay Thai is referred to as the "Art of Eight Limbs" because it uses eight points of contact: punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes. He explained the meaning of Muay which is to bring together. We asked about the fighters (the one we were going to watch that night) he told us that there were 2 westerners, from England and the US, but both were too drunk to fight. HUM we said!
It was my first Muay Thai session, so I was kind of curious. Violence and blood? or fighting and art? Well a little bit of everything I guess.
Our friend the MC takes the mic. Let the show begin. Two little men, as high as 3 apples jump on the ring, covered in oil. They are 10 years old. An instrumental Thai music is put on, the little fighters greet each other and move around the ring mimicking each other. It's called Wai Kru ram Muay, the ritual dance before the fight, to pay respect to the teacher and bless him a victory before the fight. It's quite interesting, and it shows how flexible they are. I was jealous!
The music starts going on crescendo. The crowd is calling names, cheering, bets are on. Beer in a hand, camera in the other for me, we were on fire. Fight! The first 3 fights were entertaining but not quite the martial art we wanted to see. 10, 12, 15 years old. Already at 15, you could "feel" and "hear" the strength of the punches. The level is rising. The only Westerner of the competition, a young Swedish guy enters the ring. His opponent, a young Thai. It was a massacre! The poor Swedish kid lasted for 1 round and a half. In the middle of the 2 round, he was beaten up really bad. The violence as well. It was time for the "adults" to fight (20 years old). Now every kick was painful for me. We were sitting right under the ring, the VIP seats as they call it. Fascinating. They are in a complete trance. And they don't feel any pain or they do a good job of hiding it.

When we left it was already 1 am, the ring was still packed. The experience was intense. I'll definitely come back. If you love martial arts I think you can only enjoy the show.

We saw the Swedish guy the other morning, the poor guy was seriously bruised.

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