Fighting

Muay Ties: Palangphon vs Rungnarai – Rajadamnern – May 2015

Timo Ruge of Muay Ties is a great friend of The Striking Corner.  For the past few years Timo has spent countless hours filming and sharing the top fights in Thailand from Muay Thai’s biggest stadiums, such as Rajadamnern and Lumpinee.  We are going to begin sharing many of the best fights from Thailand that Timo recommends to us in an effort to connect people with the incredible Muay Thai scene in Thailand. So with that said, Timo sent us this recent fight from Rajadamnern Stadium which took place on May 13th between Palangphon Petchyindeeacademy and Rungnarai Kiatmoo9.  

This fight was beautiful to watch as both fighters exchanged heavy kicks throughout the fight.  Check it out!

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Glory 21 Results, Artem retains belt amid controversy, Vigney wins tournament.

Glory 21 has come and gone and like many combat sports events these days, it did not end without its fair share of controversy. The Spike TV broadcast began at 11 pm EST/9 pm PT, and many of the fights with the main event being the only exception, were a bit of a mismatch

The heavyweight qualifier tournament was really always going to have a Xavier Vigney vs. Chi Lewis-Parry final. In the semi-finals of the tournament both Lewis-Parry and Vigney dispatched their opponents with ease. Vigney knocked out a seemingly unprepared Maurice Jackson. Jackson came into the fight with a 31-0 record but it looked like he had never taken a leg kick in his entire career as a single leg kick by Vigney already had him looking for the exit signs. A right cross by Vigney was the beginning of the end as the big man folded and a few Vigney uppercuts had him turning his back and trying to avoid more punishment. With Jackson offering no semblance of defense, the referee had no choice but to stop the fight. Vigney wins the bout by KO in Rd. 1

In the other heavyweight tournament semi-final, Demoreo Dennis connected early with a stiff cross that let Chi Lewis-Parry know he was in a fight but eventually Parry found a home for his punches and landed a hard right cross towards the middle of the first round to end the fight for good. Lewis-Parry wins the bout by KO in Rd.1

Before the tournament final and main event, Glory’s “human highlight reel” Raymond Daniels, faced off with an overmatched Justin Baesman, a 16-7 MMA fighter making his kickboxing debut. Baesman had no answer for Daniels’ arsenal of whirlwind like attacks. Daniels spun his way to yet another victory as he caught Baesman with a spinning heel kick to the liver that had the kickboxing debutante grimacing in pain. He tried to answer the count but could not. Daniels wins the bout by KO in Round 1.

In the heavyweight tournament final, Xavier Vigney and “Chopper” Chi Lewis-Parry would finally be able to settle the animosity that had built up after a bit of shoving at the weigh-ins. Both big men came out firing but Vigney had the better head movement and was able to avoid most of Lewis-Parry’s heavier shots. Both fighters were looking for the knockout but it looked as if Vigney was the man with the better gas tank. Lewis-Parry was no doubt looking for yet another first round knockout but when he couldn’t find it early, he began to look frustrated and winded. As both men went to their corners after Round 1, Vigney looked the fresher of the two. In round 2, both fighters were once again looking for the KO but Lewis-Parry was gassed. A big right by Vigney hurt Lewis-Parry, Vigney swarmed and landed a big body shot that ended the fight. Xavier Vigney wins the tournament final by KO in Rd. 2

After a main card full of KO’s and some pretty uneven match ups, it was time for the main event. This was the fight everyone had really come to watch. Canada’s Simon “Bad Boy” Marcus versus Russia’s Artem “The Lion” Levin. Much to everyone’s surprise, the fight played out a lot like their previous encounter under the Lion Fight Productions banner. Levin did a great job of slipping punches and avoiding Marcus’ attack but surprsingly, Levin clinched and held Marcus’ after pretty much every exchange. However, this was not a Muay Thai fight and the referee had to continue to remind Levin of that. Marcus scored well with body kicks, a couple of head kicks, and some big knees throughout the fight, Levin was clearly the better boxer with crisp head movement and accuracy in his punches, but he kept holding. In Round 3, the ref deducted a point for Levin’s propensity to clinch with Marcus.

Regardless of the point deduction, Levin fought roughly the same for the remainder of the bout. It seemed as if Marcus’ had pushed the pace enough to win the fight and the point deduction surely would guarantee Marcus’ the win. It would not be so. A score of 48-46 for Marcus and two scores of 47-47 made the fight a majority draw and Artem Levin would keep his Glory middleweight belt. Simon took to the mic and called the decision “bullshit”, while Artem complained that the referee’s decision robbed him of a win.

The confusion surrounding the decision will most likely set up an electric rematch with a Simon Marcus who will now be pretty angry and determined to beat an Artem Levin that he no doubt already believes he beat twice. Meanwhile, Joe Schilling will be chomping at the bit to get his rubber match with Levin as their current record versus one another stands at 1-1. But Filip Verlinden is surely looking to show the current trident at the top that he might have something to say about who will be the next Glory Middleweight Champion of the world. It will be interesting to see what Glory will do with the middleweight match ups in the near future.

GLORY 21 RESULTS:
Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus, Majority Draw
Heavyweight Final: Xavier Vigney def. Chi Lewis Parry, KO R2 1:50
Raymond Daniels def. Justin Baesman, KO R1 0:51
Heavyweight Semifinal: Chi Lewis Parry def. Demoreo Dennis, KO R1 1:40
Heavyweight Semifinal: Xavier Vigney def. Maurice Jackson, KO R1 1:32

GLORY SUPERFIGHT SERIES RESULTS:
Mike Lemaire def. Casey Greene, UD
Giga Chikadze def. Ken Tran, KO R3 2:19
Maurice Greene def. Ashley Epps, KO R1 2:12
Manny Mancha def. Andre Walker, KO R3
Omari Boyd def. Chris Carradus, Maj. Dec.

VIDEO: Daniel McGowan talks about his training, fights, and goals in Bangkok, Thailand

18 year old Daniel McGowan is the first foreign Muay Thai fighter, fully sponsored by the prestigious “Petchyindee Academy” in Bangkok, Thailand. He and his boss Nuttadaj Vachirarattanawong talk about his training, his first fight, and Daniel’s ultimate career goal, in Rajadamnern or Lumpinee Stadium. Video shot and edited by Timo Ruge of Muay Ties.

Martial Arts and Fighting

By James Gregory –

My amateur Muay Thai record is now 2-7-2, well 2-8-2 after I began this draft and lost another decision this past weekend. While I have had some extremely close ones, from a competitive standpoint, in no way is that a “good” record. While neither is it a good feeling to come up on the losing side of a decision, or to be knocked out three times, I feel that I have gradually become a better fighter, and I am having fun. I enjoy training and fighting Muay Thai. It makes me feel human. 

And over the course of the now almost six years since I first stepped into a gym, my life outside of the gym has also improved dramatically. I have regained my health after ten years of struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse. I’ve become strong enough to have a real relationship with the person I love rather than stringing together superficiality and shying away when it was time to stop pretending there wasn’t a person on the other end. I was diligent enough to stick with a new idea long enough for it to become a successful business despite not beginning with any knowledge or experience in the field. I have, I hope, developed a healthy concept of confidence, a belief in myself, not cockiness, a belief one is better than others. 

That said, I’m sure I’m also trying to justify a jealousy of those more competitively successful than I am. I’ve always heard that “fighting’s not for everyone,” and I’ve always wanted to convince myself—am still trying to convince myself—that I’m one of the select few who it is for. Everyone wants to be one of the cool kids, at some level. 

And to be honest, I am frustrated. I’ve learned from some of the very best teachers; I feel like I do my work, actively work to absorb new techniques and get better, take the matches that are given to me—some against better fighters, some on short notice—and I would like to think I fight with heart. I’m developing a complex of sorts. I wonder why everyone else is able to win and not me; what is wrong with me; what do all the “winners” have that I’m missing. Where is the line between pushing yourself and being kind to yourself, between working to become better and self-abuse, between a healthy desire to win and an obsession to be better than others. A lot of the time, I just don’t feel like I have the qualities it takes to be a fighter, and it’s a heartbreaking feeling, especially when contrasted with how much I love Muay Thai. 

And then I step back and take the long view: realizing everything Muay Thai has done for my health, happiness and sobriety, the positive human relationships it’s allowed me to form, the challenges its helped me face outside of the ring, the possibility of teaching others later in life, and again, the simple fact that I enjoy doing it. Every day of my life, it’s where I most want to be. It’s a constantly deeper descent, or ascent, into profound self-reflection which is simultaneously terrifying and gratifying. 

When you step onto the mats of a Muay Thai camp, even as a first-time student taking an intro class, you are immediately placed into a situation of confrontation. You find yourself surrounded by other people, being asked to do something very difficult with your body in front of those people and have your efforts critiqued. You will need to do things incorrectly, to fail, hundreds and thousands of times to have a taste of proficiency and the feeling of having learned, and earned, something. And for that process to continue, it must remain unchanging. You must simply be open to failing at higher and higher levels, and be open to critique in more and more minute detail, being put in a brighter and brighter, and in the case of fighting, a literal spotlight.

This is where martial arts become a microcosm of life, and where the pixelated mysticism surrounding the “magic” of the martial artist resolves itself into clearer focus. If you repeatedly place yourself into situations where you must perform; are repeatedly willing to fail and to see your failures only as opportunities for improvement, and come to view the process not as a “30 Day Challenge,” but as an essential and eternal philosophical state of being that applies not only to your art, but to your entire life, on top of the physical benefit of fun, regular exercise, it is near impossible not to see holistic improvement throughout your whole being.

I believe this process is very much possible whether or not you fight. While the scale of intensity may be magnified, fighting is still a similar process to martial arts practice. Both require the same type of vulnerability and humility, if at different levels. What level you pick is relative to yourself, to your goals, and to your own happiness.

But what is the essential difference between the act of fighting and martial arts? I think one oversimplified answer is to say that if you’re not fighting, you’re not “really” doing martial arts. After all, it’s not a mit punching, bag kicking or board breaking art, it’s a martial art, right? People will point to arts and practitioners that don’t spar, or don’t get into the ring, and say they aren’t doing what it’s “really” all about.

I can see both sides of this. If you never fight, never even spar with contact, but are confident in your ability to fight based solely on theoretical study, I suppose my question would be, “How do you know?”

At the same time, it’s also a very strange idea to me that the “practicality” of martial arts is defined solely in their value as a form of hand-to-hand combat. In the six years I’ve studied Muay Thai, outside of the twelve match fights and five smokers I’ve competed in, I’ve never once been forced to test its “practicality” in a street fight. So, if I judge the practicality of something I’ve put thousands of hours into by the yardstick of something I’ve had to do zero times in the “real world,” how much sense does that definition make?

Even those who fight for a living, or for their family’s living, and even those who are unfortunately forced to do so, ultimately fight under a somewhat contrived premise. Instead of using force for sheer survival such as the defense of their country, or homes, or family, or their own person, it is for others’ entertainment, spectating, and even wagering. It’s called a “show” for a reason, because it’s spectacle. And the added irony is that I don’t believe anyone who fights does so at all for the people watching. It’s much too difficult a thing to do for reasons as extrinsic as people you’ve never met looking for a place to drink beers on a Friday night. Be it the desire for personal challenge, or economic need in the form of the “prize” that the prizefighter fights for to put food on his or her table, I don’t believe any of the reasons the folks who step into the ring do so really have to do with the crowd.

I in no way mean to trivialize the fact that many do make their living, and many a very meager living, by fighting—only to say that they are not fighting their opponent directly for their next meal, but rather to receive payment from a promoter, and ultimately from the spectators who come for fun. Everything is one step removed from itself. This is also why in many martial arts circles, particularly in my experience in Muay Thai, there is little animosity between fighters, rather a highly refined craftsmanlike sense of mutual artistry and respect. How else could you fight your friends?

But to return to the question of the difference between martial arts and fighting, I think the real answer is most likely “same same, but different.” I believe the goal of martial arts in our age is for many is the betterment of self. One may never be a great fighter, but if they are able to take the sharp extremity of fighting and direct it toward other areas of their personality or life to better them, the fight is very much practical, and very much beneficial to them. It is the highest level of practice leveraged toward the highest level of life.

One can be a great fighter yet never see that greatness wash through the rest of their life. You can have a great fight career and then end up a broken person because that’s all you allow  your greatness to become, and without it, you have nothing left to hold onto when your body can’t fight another round.

At the same time, I’ve seen people start Muay Thai much later in life, come to class diligently, and grow and become happier as a person, family member, and businessperson, without ever stepping into the ring. A person just like this, who I draw continual inspiration from at the gym, told me, “I don’t see myself ever actually fighting, but I do Muay Thai because during class and learning sparring everything is completely real. I want to learn how to be right there and give everything I can—mind, body and heart. I think the practice has already changed me quite a lot for the better—especially as a parent.”

The truly legendary people, those for whom the arts are their entire lives, and a big part of the lives of others, are those who have the talent and dedication to become accomplished fighters, but who also channel their greatness toward teaching others, building and maintaining gyms, and positively impacting their students and the people around them—the greatness they have developed in the gym and the ring transforms into a greatness that shines throughout their entire lives. Or perhaps better put, the two have always been the same.

Even after fighting for three years, I feel extremely conflicted, and often entirely clueless, about what I’m fighting for. I don’t believe I have many of the qualities it takes to be great: youth, natural talent, a certain selfishness that puts one’s own training always first, and perhaps most ironically, I have no desire to hurt people or even really to win. Simultaneously, I know that if I want to help people by passing on the ring and life knowledge Muay Thai has given me, I want that knowledge to be as authentic as it can be.

Despite, or perhaps because of this internal conflict, I still feel that the way out is through. And I can at least take peace in the fact that I challenged myself and had an honest experience, albeit a difficult and humble one. I think a lot of this thing is a figuring out as you go along, the meaning becomes apparent only through the process.

I also must remind myself that, by most measures, three years is an incredibly short amount of time. I was speaking to a good friend and fellow fighter with a similar amount of experience who told me, “I feel like I am only beginning to understand Muay Thai.” You look at the standout folks that go from amateur to pro quickly in the US and it can be quite humbling, but for most, I believe myself included, the road is long, and you have to trust and enjoy the process. I’m only just beginning, and there’s no real carrot at the end of the stick. You have to just take every day and every fight and take joy in the process and the learning.

“People say that what we’re all seeking a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”—Joseph Campbell

Muay Thai is a Mountain

—James Gregory is the author of Paleo for FightersHeart of 8: What Is Muay Thai?Primal Deliverance: How Paleo Saved My Life from Addiction, and Japan: Stories from the Inside

I didn’t fight my first Muay Thai fight until I was 31. I didn’t even wrap my hands, lace up a glove, or crack a Thai pad until I was 29. I’ll be 34 next month as I’m writing this, and I have a tiny fraction of the fights fighters in Thailand have when they retire—when they’re nine years younger than I am.

Conventional wisdom says eight fights at 33 doesn’t leave too many years for a pro career. Fighting Muay Thai is also not the only thing in my life. I could just as easily spend it on my writing, or my business, or traveling, or any number of other things. But how at all am I benefiting myself by limiting myself, by being realistic? As it’s tough to go wrong quoting Bruce Lee when writing about martial arts: “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

I’ve decided not to limit myself, and I’m planning on fighting again in a few months, and probably more after that. And, I know plenty of active fighters older than myself who have chosen similarly.

In life, and in Muay Thai, we have to craft our own meaning. I may not end up with 200 fights and know what it’s like to give my entire life to fighting. And that’s ok. I’m also not satisfied going to class a couple times a week and then ending up never having known the feeling of stepping into a ring—not that there’s a single thing wrong with that—it’s just not me.

What I get from Muay Thai first is my sobriety. It’s the finger that scratches the itch I almost scratched to death with cocaine and alcohol in the past . I’ve trained four to six days a week since I started four years ago with the exception of rest weeks every few months and a broken collarbone and dislocated shoulder, and I was still present at camp even when I was injured. I don’t say that to brag, because it’s not a chore. It’s what keeps me sane; what allows me to challenge things in my life outside of camp, to be a good person and to feel healthy and strong. As a writer and online business owner, it’s also what gets me out from in front of a computer screen and into “real life” every day. It’s what makes me happy.

Fighting is a lesson about myself. I battle with anxiety and the inability to step out of my head and into the present moment on a daily basis. If there is any place on this earth where you must overcome these things to be successful, it is in a fist fight.

It is also a lesson in perseverance and focus—you have to finish strong and with grace and skill in the very eight minutes after you have just completed an arduous training camp.

And, it’s a test of emotional control—for me, a test of whether I can turn on the tough-guy switch within me when it comes time. You can train hard, be fit, take care of your body and know technique, but when you step into the ring, as the saying goes, it’s a fight. You have to be ready to really want to hurt another human being—something that, for me at least, doesn’t come naturally.

There is the idea of the “path” in martial arts. I think you could liken one art to one mountain. I and most everyone reading this are on the Muay Thai mountain. Like an actual mountain, there are different paths to the top. My path is laden with anxiety, over-thinking and gentleness. Those mental obstacles are the streams, boulders and fallen trees I must cross, climb and hurdle on my way to the top of the mountain.

Maybe your goal is to get in shape and know how to handle yourself if you were faced with a fight. Then, fitness, courage and technique would be parts of your path. Maybe you found Muay Thai much later in life, and you want to have something new to learn. Your path involves maintaining an open mind. Maybe you came to Muay Thai young, are naturally tough and athletic, work hard, and are blessed with talent. Your path involves sticking with it until you find yourself fighting for a belt in a stadium on the television.

We can all meet at the top, but only if we understand and decide to walk our own path. You may be in competition with the person you are stepping into the ring with, and you and your camp mates may push each other to work harder and be better, but you are never in a race along the path, because each path is unique to the one walking it. Yet we all climb the same mountain.

Why am I doing this? How will it make me a better person? How does it make me happy? What do I want to look back on and take joy in? It’s perfectly fine not to know the answer to all of these—that search for answers, and even for the right questions, is part of the process. But, the one thing you must realize is that the path leads only inward.

The Art Of Crazy

Why you need to be some kind of crazy to be a successful fighter

Wait. There’s an art to being crazy?

Hell yea there is!

Crazy goes a long way!

Crazy goes a long way!

If you are a muay thai fighter, you have to admit. You are kind of insane.

You have a little section in your brain that most normal people don’t have. Most normal people wouldn’t want to push themselves to the physical and mental extremes that you do. Normal people wouldn’t make it through one of your training camps. Normal people definitely would not be able to fight a 5 round war in front of hundreds of blood thirsty fans.

In order to truly be successful, you need a healthy dose of ‘crazy’ as a part of your every day diet. Think about it, most successful painters and musicians were/are crazy, so why not you?

You are an artist too. You dedicate your life to a physical martial art that pushes you past your normal limitations and fears. Just like any painter, you start with a blank canvas when you enter the ring and it’s your job to make a masterpiece out of it.

That being said, it’s important not to overdose on crazy, otherwise you might do some really crazy stuff. I mean, one dude even cut his own ear off to prove his devotion to his lover… I’m guessing you probably don’t want to do that. Then again, he was a pretty damn good painter so he must’ve been doing something right.

The 4 Steps To Being Crazy

1. Be obsessive

You need to be insanely focused and determined in order to be a successful fighter. One of the most common characteristics I see from badass fighters is that they are completely obsessed about being the best.

That means everyday you need to be improving as a fighter in one way or another. Each day you wake up, you need to have an obsessive drive to improve your technique, diet or conditioning. You have to want it BAD. Keep reminding yourself that each day you slack off or eat like crap, your opponent is doing 100 rounds of pad work and eating an organic chicken salad.

Wanting it badly is key to not only training hard, but fighting hard too. If you are as focused and determined to win the fight as you should be, you will be more likely to fight through injuries, show off all your potential and do what you do best… win!

“Obsessed is the word lazy people use to describe dedicated”

 

2. Don’t believe the hype

No matter how good you are, you always have to strive for perfection.

You will have your fans, commentators and other fighters praising your technique, heart and skill, but you have to be your own worst critic. You have to never believe the hype people build around you.

If you get comfortable with where you are and start thinking you’re too cool to train hard, you will fail miserably.

Once you start believing in your own hype, you’ll start to slack off at the gym and take your opponent lightly. You’ll think that you don’t need to train hard because you already have all the skill set and talent to win.

Don’t be stupid. 

Never be satisfied with where you are. It does not matter how many people think you are sexy as hell, or that you are the next muay thai prodigy. If anything, you should be training as hard as ever to prove to your fans that you are that sexy muay thai champion they envision. You need to be so critical of yourself that people think you are crazy for not thinking you are absolutely awesome.

 

3. Feed off the haters

Haters are EVERYWHERE. The good thing is, if you have haters, you are doing something right.

It’s great to get to the point where you have a good amount of passionate fans, but you truly aren’t at the level you want to be at until you have those blood sucking keyboard warriors. Once you have people going out of their way to try to mess with you, you know you’ve made it.

No matter how awesome and badass you are, there will always be miserable people trying to take you down. These people are sad, pessimistic, miserable and have nothing better to do with their time than to criticize the people who are doing what they love to do. Meanwhile, most of them live a hopelessly meaningless life, so if anything, you should almost feel bad for them.

It sucks that people have to suck, fortunately, you can turn all of their negative energy into motivation. Haters should fuel your fire when you are training for a fight because, if you slack off at training, you’re supplying the haters with plenty of ammunition.

It might sound a little crazy to embrace the haters and use them for motivation, but that’s because, it kinda is.

 

"Do what you do best… WIN!"

“Do what you do best… WIN!”

4. Have complete confidence in yourself

Believing in yourself and your dreams is one of the most important things you can do to become successful in any area of your life. Most people who have dreams to become world champions or a successful fighter, often get their dreams laughed at because of how unrealistic and unusual they are.

You know what though? Screw those people.

The people who criticize others dreams most likely live in their own sad world where they never look to push the envelope or step outside of their comfort zone. Chances are they live a sedentary life, watch too much TV and live their dreams through others who are actually doing something with their lives.

The good thing is, the only dreams you have to believe in are your own. Once you truly believe that you will accomplish your goals is when you will start to focus, work hard and persevere through paralyzing difficulties where most other people would just end up quitting.

You might be crazy, but you are not a quitter.

If you set your mind to something and truly put in the effort to make it happen, then chances are much more likely that those dreams will come true. And even if they don’t, you will still have accomplished more than if you didn’t try at all. Plus, have you ever heard the corny quote – “life is a journey, not a destination”?

Well it’s corny, but just like most corny quotes, it’s true.

Yes, it will feel amazing when you reach your goal, but that ultimately isn’t going to benefit you as much as the time, effort and sacrifice you put into getting there. The journey to your goals will help you learn a ton about yourself and grow as an individual.

It might sound crazy to want to do some of the things you want to do, but I think it’s INSANE to live a boring life and not take risks to do things the things you love.

What do you think? Do you think it’s good to have a little bit of ‘crazy’ in your personality? What other crazy characteristics are important for a successful fighter?