Monday, 18 February 2013

Muay Thai Interclub, London.

If you've been following my blog, or any of my other social sites, you should know by now that I have been doing Muay Thai! It started off for fitness but it is spiraling into all other directions! Click here to read all of my Muay Thai related blog posts.
My sister and I recently attended our first interclub which was held in Kennington, London, which was also the first time we had seen Muay Thai in action, live! We didn't participate as we are nowhere near ready but many of the other people we train with took part, and they were brilliant!!
There was about 5 hours worth of back-to-back fights (although it felt like an hour!) between people of many levels and from different gyms/countries... and it was almost hypnotic... I just couldn't take my eyes off of them!
Here is one of the many recordings I took of a random fight. This one was very good to watch although I felt that it was much rougher than the other fights!
I later learnt that with interclubs, there are lots of rules to keep it safe due to the dominant level of experience between all the fighters... which clarified why I didn't see one person use an elbow attack... because that would cause serious injury! This also explained why when a fight was just getting good, it would get stopped, and the fighters would be asked to 'tone it down'.
This is a very cheesy metaphor but I couldn't think of another way to describe Muay Thai... but, I see it as a never-ending onion...each time I am in contact with it, either at the gym, watching a video, attending a fight, I peel away another layer and it just keeps going, there is SO much for me to learn about it so please bear with me! Hopefully in a couple of years time, I will know much more about it!!
Going back to the interclub. Watching the variety of fighting styles really emphasized everything my trainer teaches us (and my sister agreed). Things we learned in our sessions, suddenly made so much more sense and I felt a lot more aware of it all. One of our bad habits is not keeping our hands up high enough, which we don't even realise we are doing until we are told to hold them higher! Watching the fights at the interclub really stressed how important this was (to block) one hit in the face was enough to send you either crashing down, strip your focus and leave you very vulnerable, and also possibly with a bleeding nose! I think I flinched every time somebody got hit in the face, I could feel the pain! It was also very nice to see a lot of the moves we are taught in class being used... some successful, some not. For example, grabbing your opponent's leg when they try to kick you, and sweeping their other leg to leave them on the floor. This was great to watch, although I remember in one of the fights, this seemed like the only thing one of the fighters could do/think of doing (and not having much luck)...I don't remember him doing much punching or kicking at all.
I also quickly realized what I liked and didn't like. I didn't like it when some of the fighters would taunt their opponent - I didn't really see any point in this for the interclub. I felt that the interclub should be used to gain experience fighting someone you most probably haven't fought before (i.e. someone not from your gym) and putting Muay Thai techniques into practice as there was never a declaration of who the winner of each fight was, or a prize....but at this stage, I don't know enough to confidently assume what interclubs should be used for, or if I am being overly sensitive!
Another thing that hit a nerve was when some fighters entered the ring and had no control whatsoever. It honestly looked like all they wanted was to hit their opponent as many times as possible (whichever way they could and most of the time just plain ol'dirty!) or to get them on their backs. It was as if they were trying to re-enact Street Fighter, and that their opponent had health points that they were desperately trying to slice away so that the fight was over. Although this was still interesting to watch, I didn't really learn anything...apart from definitely not wanting to be like that!
My sister and I could also not help to predict the 'winner' of some of the fights. At the start, we typically assumed that the fittest looking would 'win'...but how wrong we were!! Of course, fitness is so important in Muay Thai, but at the interclub, this wasn't the total truth. I can honestly say that we were very often wrong and many of the fights ended up becoming very unpredictable, which made it even more enjoyable!
In a way, I almost liked how the less-fit-looking opponent seemed to be the better fighter because it reminded me of action films where the protagonist would be confronted by someone who is perceived to be a very skilled fighter, for example, whipping his nunchuks around, pulling out a huge samurai sword or something ridiculous like that...only to be knocked out with one hit. So I guess that the main moral of that story is that yes, you can do your five million sit-ups a day and have Spartan-looking abs, but when it comes to Muay Thai, you are still going to need 100% brain power and amazing reflexes.
I think I've mentioned everything I've wanted to about the interclub now but I will be watching a proper fight soon (with elbows woo!) so look out for that post!
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