Two Ladies in the Kingdom E11 2ITK – Going Home and Finding Home
above, listen to our podcast
above, full podcast on YouTube
Emma and I haven’t podcasted in a while, so there’s quite a bit to catch up on before we launch into some updates about recent female Muay Thai events. Some of the things we cover:
- After a year of searching, Emma has finally landed at a wonderful gym that she feels at home with (Attachai Muaythai Gym in Bangkok), and is back to fighting. She is about to have her second fight for the gym at the start of September.
- Emma also took a trip home to England for a few weeks, which I ask her about because I’ve never gone home and I imagine it’s quite an experience that changes over time (she’s been in Thailand over 6 years). This year Emma has found herself missing home a bit more, but we also talk about how who you surround yourself with shapes how you think or what you (think you) desire at any given time.
- We chat a bit about what makes a good gym for us, what we look for in training and how you find “home” in a gym. It’s a feeling, hard to describe, and I absolutely have it with Petchrungruang but I give some insight into the dissatisfaction and difficulties that might be included in a place you love and are happy with – same as a relationship. I do make my experience sound a little harsh in this segment, which isn’t intentional. I’m being honest about my struggles, including a recent incident with health issues at the gym due to a visiting group of westerners, so it is worth pointing out that I’m not encompassing all of my feeling and experiences with the gym in the moment of launching this complaint. It’s a somewhat isolated incident with the health issues and non-isolated but absolutely worthwhile issues with the training difficulties.
- Emma is back to fighting and I’ve started fighting Kard Chuek (no gloves, just ropes), which I love.
- I’ve been sick for a few weeks due to progressive immune problems: cold – shingles – Staph, all of which are due to a group of westerners in the gym not knowing how to keep their own ailments in check. It’s not entirely their fault, they likely didn’t recognize what their infections were and came to training to make the most out of their time in Thailand, but it has resulted in a few of the kids from my gym having to be out from the gym to recover and I’ve had to take time away from training, cancelled a fight, and have been on a string of medications to recover. Not fun.
- I’m also taking part in a 12-week mental training group with Sports Motivation Podcast host and mental coach Niyi Sobo. (I was interviewed by him for his episode #177, which was awesome.) The program is intense and the work load is a lot, assuming you really dedicate yourself to learning and applying the skills he’s teaching. It’s caused me a great deal of stress – because I’m changing my life here – which was part of what led to my shingles, I think, but I’m super grateful and excited to be part of this group and think that the intensity of difficulty implies the amplitude of change.
- There were some big-name female fighters on a recent fight card for Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday (August 12th, the card was on the 11th) in Bangkok, including a WPMF 112 lbs title between Thanonchanok Kaewsamrit vs Nongbiew Sityodsian (Poptheeratham). Thanonchanok is a 5x opponent of mine and has been world champion for about 4+ years, as well as winning Female Fighter of the Year in 2016. Nongbiew is gaining attention as she’s backed by the famed yodmuay Samart Payakaroon and is on a winning streak. Also on the card was Faaseetong vs Mesa for a 147 lbs WPMF title (neither of them weigh that, they’re smaller) with Faaseetong as a late replacement for Claire Baxter (Aus) who was sick and couldn’t make the fight. I was rooting for Mesa, who I really like, and it was an exciting fight. Also on that card was Nong Stamp Fairtex, who some might know from the documentary film Buffalo Girls, she’s the first Thai woman to be fully sponsored by Fairtex and will be fighting in America in September, which is the first I’ve heard of a Thai female fighter going to the US on a big show (Lion Fight). Fairtex is also trying to put together a female MMA team, which is new, Stamp has trained BJJ at least once, and my nemesis Loma Lookboonmee is currently training at Tiger Muay Thai on Phuket in order to have MMA fights. At 105 lbs it’s going to be interesting to see how far she goes in that, but it’s very new to have female Thai fighters transitioning to MMA. In September there’s a big female fight card on Samui with top names like Teresa Wintermyr vs Chommanee, Sawsing Sor. Sophit, and Phetjee Jaa is facing Hongkaw with a 2-3 kg weight difference (Jee Jaa will win that easily).