Watch this video of a very tiny Thai girl fighting an incredible round against a Thai boy.
Let's leave aside any personal feelings you may have about child fighting, child safety, etc. And Let's leave out the arguments about gender. There is something unreal in this video, something kind of incredible. This little girl, who probably has had very few fights, and very few sparring sessions, as an acute sense of distance. In her miniature approximations you see essential Thai, as in Thailand, Muay Thai fighting characteristics. The retreat is just out of range, but not only just out of range, it's done with emotional equanimity, not out of fear, just a little step back. And, then her snapbacks with punches, closing the distance again. The counter rhythm is repeated over and over again. This is core femeu control of space, something even western fighters literally with decades of experience cannot, or do not care to manage. The retreating, scoring fighter. Where does this come from? How does this get communicated in such a basic, beautiful way to a little girl? What is the method of transference?
This Sense of (Defensive) Space, I suspect, is buried deeply in Thai culture, perhaps in it's Buddhist roots. One of the earliest accounts of Muay Thai, and the first account of a Farang vs Thai match up (Thai Fight 1788!), resulted in the westerner becoming infuriated at the retreat of the King's champion, Mun Phlan, selected to face a Frenchmen who challenged the court:
Now of course there are forward fighting styles in Thailand's Muay Thai, many of them, and renowned fighters who owned them. But there a thin golden thread that seems to stretch from the late 18th century all the way to this little girl who preternaturally has absorbed the art of space.