Episode 91 – Jeff Dojillo

In this episode of The Striking Corner, we speak with Muay Thai photographer extraordinaire, Jeff Dojillo. If you are a fan of Muay Thai and follow the sport, chances are you have seen Jeff’s work. Jeff is a professional photographer that luckily for the Muay Thai community fell in love with the sport and has used his talent to capture the beauty of Muay Thai and showcase it to the world.

Aside from photography, Jeff is now also the Chief Brand Officer for the USMF and helps them with everything from social media to digital marketing. In addition, Jeff has decided to put together a Muay Thai documentary covering Team USA as they compete in the upcoming IFMA World Muaythai Championships in Bangkok. But he needs the help of the Muay Thai community to raise the funds…and that is where we all have to lend a helping hand! Listen, learn, and if you can donate!

“Hands of Gold” – A Film By Stephane Benini

I am a huge fan of film, photography, and pretty much all sorts of digital media. Whether it’s graphic design, motion graphics, or web design, I am always looking at things from a design perspective. When I am not posting things for The Striking Corner or in the studio getting ready to record another episode of our podcast, I am at my day job working as a Digital Content Manager for a major broadcasting company here in the U.S. Everyday, I see talented videographers, producers, photographers, designers, DJ’s, radio personalities, hone their craft and share it with the world. It is for this reason that I have a soft spot for all of the creative artists that are involved in the sport of Muay Thai and Kickboxing and use their talents to showcase how beautiful the martial arts are. A fight is a masterpiece in motion. To the untrained eye it simply looks like a “fight”. But to the trained eye it is a chess match, a warlike game full of strategy, misdirection, defensive tactics, timing, counter attacks, and full on all out assault when necessary.

The creative minds that are in our sport, and I take this moment to drop names of awesome photographers in the sport like: Jeff Dojillo, Galen Okazaki, Ahren Nuang, Marty Rockatansky, Scott Hirano, Stever Ferdman a.k.a. Bauzen, Arnold “Marz” Marzan, and of course our very own Victor Alvarez; can take what seems like a brutal sport and turn it into a visual symphony.

With that said, I was recently contacted through Twitter by a freelance film director from France named Stephane Benini, who simply sent me a link of his work and told me to check it out. Needless to say I was blown away by it. Just the intro of his film “De l’Or dans les mains” or “Hands of Gold” (roughly translated) captivated me. The entire film is a look behind the scenes into the world of Muay Thai and Kickboxing. Filmed in Luxembourg and Thailand, Stephane captures the life and emotions of the fighters, fans, coaches, promoters, photographers, etc. in the moments leading up to the fight, during the fight, and after the fight. The video beautifully captures all of these emotions without the need for dialogue. It’s a musical documentary and experimental film of sorts in the same line as Ron Fricke’s Koyaanisqatsi, Chronos, and Samsara.

The funny thing is I have never met Stephane Benini or even spoken to him at length. But I just loved watching how he beautifully captured a sport that is so important to me. And I think that if you are truly passionate about Muay Thai and Kickboxing, you will be as inspired by his film as I was.

The Brutal Ballet feat. Simon Marcus

So I get this e-mail yesterday by this guy named Jonny Pottins and he tells me he just made a short documentary video about Muay Thai feat. Simon Marcus and sends me the link. Now, I’m a huge Simon Marcus fan (who isn’t really, the man looks like he was carved from stone and is one of the best Muay Thai fighters on the planet, some would even argue he is the true GLORY Middleweight Champion, but that’s a discussion for another time).

Anyway, once I finished watching this video, I wrote back to Jonny Pottins and told him we would definitely share the video because needless to say it is an absolute work of art. Simple, beautifully shot, and to the point, Simon Marcus perfectly describes in his own words what we at The Striking Corner also love about Muay Thai. The beauty of it’s destructive simplicity. The ballet of two highly skilled opponents going toe to toe in what is truly a deadly and brutal ballet that often ends with one man (or woman) standing and their opponent on unconscious on the canvas. But in the ballet of Muay Thai, neither the victor or the fallen walk away unscathed. The defeated opponent obviously walks bruised and beaten both emotionally and physically but the victor also walks away bruised and battered but with a smile from ear to ear. The feeling of victory no doubt more powerful than the sting of his or her injuries.

This video perfectly describes Muay Thai and everything I love about it. Simon Marcus truly loves Muay Thai the same way I do. The same way all of us at The Striking Corner do. This video is a must watch and I will continue to watch it on repeat for years to come.

Shout out to the director of the video Jonny Pottins and his team which I have listed below because they also deserve to be recognized.

GRIP: Chris Leung
GAFFER: Koadie Preston
EDITORS: Peter Strauss, Matthew Nayman
COLOUR: Alter Ego
AUDIO MIX/EDIT: Toronto Sound

SPECIAL THANKS to Simon Marcus, Ajahn Suchart, Siam No.1