Monday, June 6, 2016

Women of amateur muaythai on their ambitions and passion for fighting

Apologies for the long silence. If you've been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you'll know it's down to Muaythai and the IFMA amateur world championships. No, not out of retirement (by a long shot ever!) but volunteering and getting inspired.

Inspired by the women in this post ... 

It's been a long road since I first heard of IFMA - a couple of us women fighting in Thailand about 16 years ago were asked to do professional fights as a lead-in to the main set of amateur finals. I fought Daoprask, the first of a few battles between us. And that was it for women then, but now there's a full roster of amateur women's fights including junior girls. 

One of the things I did was run a "Humans of IFMA" project on their amateur muaythai facebook page (Hat-tip to Humans of New York of course). These are some of the women who spoke to me: 

Fatima Pinto, Norway former IFMA fighter and now President of the Norwegian Muaythai Federation.

"In Norway we have something that is different about doing Muaythai. The government doesn't allow knock-outs by law. This is a situation that is changing but it takes time. Professional boxing are also affected, they are not able to have knock-outs. Norway is one of three countries in the world which has this law.

So of course you don't want to encourage KOs but sometimes it could happen. We have competitions but there are limits. The rules allow blows to the head, but not full contact so it must be with limited force. You can hit the body with full force.

One of my aims is to have our athletes be able to practice their sport to their full ability in Norway." 

Australia: Yolanda Schmidt 57kgs fighter , bronze medallist

Fighting people from so many different countries is a really good experience, everyone has a different style. I took on Turkey, Belarus and Russia and I can see the way the European countries train must be different to what we do in Australia.

From what I saw in the ring, Europeans focus on short, sweet combinations. They do 1,2 and kick or 1,2 and knee. It's short and precise. In Australia we learn more Thai-style, in my gym anyway so you wait and pick your shots. But in this tournament you have to switch on and just go.

It's about being busy, and dominating the ring. If you stop, you're out. I'm annoyed I didn't make the final, but I'm proud of what we achieved.

One thing I've got is a lot of heart, I've got heart and I'll never give up no matter what. 

Dakota Ditcheva, England fighting in 57kg Jnr category, gold  medallist

When I'm at the side of the ring, my nerves go. That is the point where I don't feel nervous anymore, I see myself winning and that is it. No rituals, just positive thinking. 

I'm not an aggressive person, but in the ring or in training I am quite aggressive. I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I get quite a buzz from fighting. I think you either love it or hate it." 

More stories like this on the IFMA Muaythai Facebook page

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