Fight 148 – Sylvie vs Phetwapee Chor. Decha (Nong Bow)
April 16th, 2016 – Hua Hin – full fight video above, video with commentary below
This was my third fight in four days, the last in a little collection of traveling and fighting. I’d fought the night before up above Bangkok in Nakhon Naiyok and then came straight down to Hua Hin, down on the opposite side of the gulf from Pattaya. I’ve fought in Hua Hin a few times and when we arrived we went straight to that stadium because it was the same promoter, but it was completely empty, lights out, and a dude sitting at the front door like a bouncer. We were, in fact, slightly late and I asked him what was up. He said the fights were a few blocks away and pointed us in the right direction. Then, as we were coming down the stairs to walk back to the car a huge Tuk-Tuk type shuttle car pulled up and a woman and man hopped out. The woman was Jessica from the US, who had trained with Master K and contacted me prior to doing that, as well as letting me know she was coming to Thailand. But they’d come to watch me fight! That’s so cool!
Once at the appropriate venue it was a matter of finding the promoter and figuring out my corner. I was told to go with these two fairly young men who were cornering for two young male fighters, so they kind of worked my massage in between getting those other fighters ready. The event was to be broadcast on TV, but my fight was before the airing so it was basically used as a “sound and video check” for the broadcast. However, because it’s a TV slot it meant we were very keyed in to the timing of everything and I sat side-by-side with my opponent for the duration of the 20 minute fight right before ours. She asked me how many fights I have and I pretended not to understand her Thai. It was a weird call to have to make, because I don’t know what the mental benefits or deficits are of revealing who I am to my opponent right before the fight. So I shook my head and looked baffled. Unfortunately, some organizers of the event then came over and had to discuss important things, like the process of getting onto the stage, bowing to the portrait of the King, and telling us to fight hard for all 5 rounds. I understood them completely and when the guy was struggling to pantomime the part about the King’s portrait I verbally added some points of recognition that made it pretty clear I do speak and understand Thai. Whatever. “Let her rest in her unrest a while,” as the quote goes. And it wasn’t until after the fight that I was able to look my opponent up and discover she is very experienced and a WMC ranked local champion to boot. Go figure; she wasn’t offering me that information as we were sitting there.
When it was time to go, I happened to be in the red corner which meant I had to enter the ring first. So, I was the brave soul who had to climb the stairs and bow to the King and do all the ceremonial parts correctly first, rather than just being able to imitate my opponent. But that’s alright; I’ve done this before. I knelt down and wai-ed three times to the portrait, then stood and bowed again (I discovered only recently that the way women bow is more like a curtsy – but now I know). As I turned to the VIP on the stage to wai to them and then walk the catwalk to the ring, I saw that nearly all of them were snapping photos on their phone of this western chick performing ceremonial respects to the King of Thailand. So, that was actually quite cool.
above, full fight video with audio Commentary
I did feel like I was sleep walking through this fight. My energy was very flat, not in a tired way but like I was just drifting. I was able to stay close, which put a lot of pressure on my opponent and she’s a kicker, so that made it hard for her to get her weapons on the table. At the end of the first round I had her in the corner and tried to kick her but landed my foot right on her knee, which made a very loud cracking sound as some small bones in my foot very likely broke. I don’t know for sure, as I never got an X-Ray, but the result of swelling and constant pain is very likely a small fracture – it plagued my training for the next month or more. Anyway, I tried to hide my limp as I went to my corner (this happened literally seconds before the bell sounded at the end of round 1) and the two guys helping me very excitedly told me to stay closer.
In the second round I ended up in that same corner near the end of the round, but this time I couldn’t kick and was struggling to get over her leg blocking my knees. For whatever reason I attempted a spinning back elbow, which did connect, but not enough to do damage – the announcers got excited and I walked back to my corner with a small thought of, “well, that’s new.” I’ve done that in training, mostly messing around with Pi Nu, but never think to do it in fights. Same with the Boran elbow to the leg I did on Faa Chiangrai back in January. What you train, you use… even if you’re fucking around. I think I tried it this time because I was so relaxed; like, too relaxed as I drifted around in this fight.
I was able to put my opponent down a few times in the fight and felt pretty comfortable throughout with my dominance, and I could feel how frustrated she was getting. At the beginning of Round 5 the referee makes you hug and usually Thai women will say, “sorry,” as an attempt to make you believe they’re winning this fight. Phetwapee, however, leaned in and said, “khun cheu arai ka?” (“What is your name?”) Well, I have never been asked that during a fight. It stands out. And indeed the hug is so quick and I had my mouthpiece in that I didn’t answer her at all. What is your name?! I reckon she could check the program after the fight and look me up. That’s how I found out who she is.
After the fight I kind of hobbled around with my foot turned sideways. It was massively painful and there was no running water in the restrooms, so I got to douse myself with a garden hose by a back fence while still wearing my fight clothes before going into the restroom to change into dry clothes. While I hosed myself off, a few men came and went from the bathroom and they all looked at me with shock, then gave enthusiastic thumbs up – I assume for the fight, not because I’m just so damn good at hose showers. I got to hang out with Jessica and her guy friend a bit, as well as two South Africans who came to Lanna Muay Thai in Chiang Mai right before I left and coincidentally were now moving down to Hua Hin. Nick told me when he first arrived at Lanna that he’d moved there with the intention of following my path of fighting “as much as possible,” and indeed he’s fought around 30 times in those two years. His wife Michelle has also had something like 15 fights in that time, which is awesome.
I tried to offer a little bit of a tip to my cornermen for helping me out but they steadfastly refused. It’s possible they won some money on me, but very often these guys who help me – strangers when they first start the process of getting me ready to go into the ring – refuse any offer of money. It’s very nice, I think. It’s a gesture of generosity and it’s a show of face, but it’s also a demonstration of having enjoyed cornering for me, which feels very nice for me. I thanked them both and we headed back to the car to make the 4 hour journey back to Pattaya. Come in, fight, go home. I love it.
Post-Fight Video Update
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