E09 2ITK Podcast – Getting Caught Up | Female Muay Thai in Thailand
Hey Everyone, welcome to episode 9 of Two Ladies in the Kingdom. Emma and I have added a different format in which we do solo-podcasts as well as the conversational type, so we hope you’ve enjoyed those last solo casts. Here we get back together to catch up a bit with each other and what’s going on in female Muay Thai in Thailand. Our podcast is sponsored by Lobloo, which produces the only functional and comfortable female groin guard on the market, so check out their website and use our discount code for 10% off: SAVE2ITK
YouTube of our podcast via Skype below. Emma in Bangkok, me in Pattaya:
Finding a Gym in Bangkok
There’s a lot for Emma and I to cover since we last saw each other. We chat all the time on private messages but actually seeing each other and talking in real time allows us to cover a lot more. While Emma still looks for a gym where she can properly train on a regular basis, she’s been supplementing with half-marathons and Cross-Fit classes. She recently ran a half-marathon that commenced at sunrise, showered and napped before heading off to work, then had a nice weekend of training in the morning at Eminent Air, followed by yet another Cross-Fit session… and likely more work.
We talk a bit about why it’s hard to find a gym in Bangkok when you already live and work there – having to organize around an existing living situation and work schedule – versus moving to the city and orienting yourself around an already chosen gym. Due to her work, Emma can only train in the mornings, which is a lower-key session in most gyms. Lately she’s had some positive experiences at the newly opened Chawan Club Muay Thai near her apartment, and Eminent Air gym, which has been around for a long time.
Promoting Women in Muay Thai
There have been some big female fight cards recently and, in Thailand, the majority of female fight cards are organized by the same group of promoters – in different combinations. The biggest promoters and shows for female fighters are gaining momentum and the purses (fight earnings) and exposure through televised and all-female cards. That’s all great. On the other hand, the ways in which these cards and the female fighters on them are promoted can be pretty frustrating, as they focus a great deal on the fighters’ looks and the sponsored uniforms can be quite… small. We ruminate on how some of the fighters on these cards deserve far more exposure and credit than they get, as well as the “just have to laugh at it” tendency of marrying the strong Thai tradition of beauty pageants with the strong Thai tradition of Muay Thai. I recently fought in a full face of makeup, which I had to arrive 3 hours in advance to receive, so we had a good laugh about that.
Emma references a photo of a young boy in full makeup. I ask whether it was kathoey or lee-kay style, the difference between those two being that the former is a transgender depiction, where as the latter is very similar in how it looks but is a stage makeup for traditional “operas” of sort, in which the male characters were tons of powder, lipstick, eyeliner and blush. These men in lee-kay productions can have massive sex appeal and female fan following – like boy bands. I reckon from looking at the photo (bottom right) it’s lee-kay style, although the boy is so young it’s hard to know which angle he’s referencing; he didn’t do it himself.
Me, thrilled to have this makeup for my fight
Little fighter on bottom right with full makeup, I suspect lee-kay style but not sure.
Emma talks a bit about working for the World Muay Thai Angels promotion and we both discuss the difficulties and benefits of last-minute planning in Thailand and the cultural differences of that approach.
Emma’s Last Podcast and Blog Post on Sexual Assault in Thai Gyms
The last podcast was Emma’s solo cast on her own experiences of sexual assault at a gym in Thailand, and she wrote a blog post to go with it. We talk a bit about the reception of that podcast, as well as the hesitation and discomfort that goes into talking about one’s own experience, even though intellectually we both (and many women) know how important it is. But nobody wants to “go first,” so to speak.
Booking Myself and Chaos of Fights
We talk a bit about my recent fight in Bangkok and how unnerving it was to have my corner show up about 30 minutes before I got into the ring, without me knowing whether he’d be there at all. This shouldn’t be a problem because of how I fight – I usually don’t have a corner and find someone once I’m at the venue – but it can get in your head anyway. And since I book myself for fights, I’m in a position right now where I’m saying “yes” to lots of fights, which has given me a very busy month. So we talk about the challenges to this approach.
And lastly we just shoot the shit about what we’re watching or listening to, and end with Emma’s incredibly funny but jaw-droppingly offensive run in with a masseuse recently. We both agree that there’s a limit to the smiling and being polite in the face of folks who, quite frankly, are being assholes.