I might have been here almost 5 months…. however I have only JUST seen some Muay Thai boxing, not in a big city in a stadium…. but in the middle of nowhere, in a field, in the pouring rain!!!!
I never really thought it would be something I enjoyed as I find boxing back home SO boring and I had heard that a lot of the fights were for show. So when asked to go to a fight, although I wanted to see it…. it wasn’t something I was hugely excited for.
We were going to go in Chang Mai, however I was talked out of it…. well I say I was ‘talked’ out of it…. it went along the lines of ‘do you want a beer?!”
We set off from Sungmen, a town just along from Phrae city centre and where Andy lives. We were meeting people from his Boxing school as some of them were fighting. We came of the main road and traveled a few kilometers down rural roads right into the middle of nowhere… and I mean the middle of nowhere!!!!!
We got there and you could hear the music (sounds like snake charmer music) and got in for free…. connections and all that! HA!
As I got in you could tell straight away this was the ‘authentic’ Thai experience. Not a white person in site and we were literally standing in a field with a ring in the middle!
They start with the newer, less experienced boxers. Something I am quite glad for as it gave me a chance to get used to the violence of the sport.
For those who don’t know about Muay Thai, it’s a mix between boxing and kickboxing. I.e. you can punch, you can kick, you can use your knees and elbows and punch almost anywhere bar the groin. You are also not allowed to hit/kick any part of the body that is on the ground, for example if someone falls down.
A few fights in and I have to admit I was really getting into it!!!! Between the atmosphere and the tension it made it VERY entertaining!!
At the start of each match the ‘snake charmer’ sounding music begins, each
competitor goes to each corner of the ring and does a wee ritual… I don’t know what exactly but looks they are almost praying to each post, they then have the option to do a ritual dance in the middle of the ring. During all this they have on head bands given to them by their trainers as a mark of respect.
The bell rings, the head band comes off and the fight begins. 5 rounds, each lasting 3 minutes. If they make it though all five rounds its down to points, other wise a knock out equals a win.
There were girls fighting Which I think were more violent than the men! Fatties fighting…. one got winded and KO’d, then there was a great fight between two guys and it was suddenly over after an accidental kick down below… and these guys kick hard!!!!!
As the night went on, the heavens opened and down poured torrential rain! To be honest it only added to the excitement of it all.
Was so dangerous for the boxers as the ring was full of puddles and many of them slipped and fell as they went to kick their opponents. In true Thai health and safety form they decided to try get some water off the ring….. out came a big bit of cardboard used to push the water along and off the ring!
The last fights were from boxers in Andy’s school. The first guy won on points after a long and grueling fight. However the second….. wow.
The fight was going strong and each of the guys was giving it their best…. however the fighter we were cheering on fell to the ground (not sure if he slipped in the water or got pushed down) however his opponent gave a HUGE kick, the kind you see footballers give when they take a penalty….. right into the guys face!!!! You could actually hear a horrible sound when the foot made contact with the face. Right then there was blood… and a lot of it, the trainers of the boxer had to be held back before they thumped the other guy as it was an illegal move. The guy on the floor was out cold and blood pouring from his nose. To say it looked sore is an understatement!!!!! Was an “oh… my….Thai’ moment (see what I did there?!)
Within 5 minutes the place was cleared…. fighting over and time for everyone to go home…. just like that!
So my experience of Muay Thai was more authentic than most… would I go back and see it again???