Friday, October 21, 2016

Watch: the beauty of power

Muaythai, BJJ, crossfit, wMMA  - it's all here in this collection of interviews with women training at the ever-expanding Tiger Muaythai Gym in Phuket.

Uploaded and created three years ago by Ryan Jones Films

The Beauty of Power from Ryan Jones on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - battle face

Wordless Wednesday  - battle face before Muaythai at IFMA championships

More Wordless Wednesday bloggers here.           And here on Image-in-ing


Monday, October 17, 2016

Doing a guest post on Muay Eireann about women fighers

I'm over at Muay Eireann this week - writing about the four women boxing on Saturday at the Siam Warriors Super Show in Cork.

You can find the post on this link: Four Female fighters

Muay Eireann is a great source for Irish Muaythai: interviews, rankings and updates all done independently of any organisation. And of course the best Muaythai photographs on the island :)

Great media resource! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Meeting muaythai heroes with Michaela Kelly

Michaela Kelly PIC Muay Eireann

Michaela Kelly (16) fights next weekend on the Siam Warriors Muaythai Supershow in Cork. She talked to me about travelling for fights, her heroes and sharing a fight-card with her uncle.

A few years ago Michaela travelled to England from Dublin to take part in a round-robin tournament. Just a bit of fun, her trainer said, will be good experience, he said.

But none of the other young boxers showed up on the day. Seeing her disappointment another girl offered her services so Michaela could have one fight. That girl was Dakota Ditcheva.

Michaela said: ‘I used to watch videos of girls fighting to learn. Iman Barlow; I love her. And Dakota, when I get tired I put on videos of her fighting, that keeps me going.

‘Then we were over in England, and no-one turned up. She was there, so she jumped in. That was my second fight.’

Laughing, Michaela said she lost the bout but has great memories. Good experience indeed.

Prepping now for her sixth fight against Cork fighter Shauna Nicole, she’s travelled back to England twice more already.

She said: ‘There are hardly any girls fighting here. I’m delighted now about the show in Cork. Shauna looks good, so I’m delighted to have a good fight over here. I’ve fought in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle  - my trainer organises them.’

Michaela with her Muaythai family
Training at Dublin Thaiboxing, Michaela is also under the watchful eye of her uncle Paddy Douglas who fights for the same gym. And not only at the same gym, he’s also fighting on the Supershow  - a real Muaythai family.

Michaela said: ‘My uncles Paddy and Ray were training first, they used to ask me to go down with them. I loved it when I finally went; I was only there a month when I asked him if I could fight. I was watching people sparring, and I just wanted to join in.

‘I’m the only girl there so I spar with the fellas. It was hard at the start, but now they’re like brothers. It’s like a family. ‘

PIC Muay Eireann
A family with a tough attitude. Her mother Ger aka GD Fitness keeps her diet on the straight on narrow, strictly no pizzas allowed. Michaela does strength and conditioning training before school with her uncle, and sprint-training once a week. She says there’s no slacking off and somehow you just believe her.

‘When I had my first fight, I wasn’t sure how it would go. I was real shy then, when I started fighting it made me more confident. When you’re in ring, your personality changes and you just want to win. It’s not about fancy techniques or moves, I just want to win.

‘Then everyone hugs afterwards.’

Michaela trains at Dublin Thaiboxing  More info on Siam Warriors Supershow.   

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sexualised photos of women in sport - where do you stand?

So this is a turnup for the books - some of the world's best sports photographers at Getty Images getting together with Women's Sport Trust to promote a new way of seeing women in sport.

Curious to know what other women in combat sports think of this? It's not clear yet how much impact this will have as it only launched a few days ago but it's fair to say this blog is super-excited about the prospect.

Combat sports for women are particular battlefield in this area - we love our muscles, we feel great when we're strong but there should be line between feeling good and the pressure to fill Instagram feeds with near-naked sexual poses to get viewers and advertisers.

I'm always hesitant to write about this cause so many of my friends are caught up  in this whirlwind and I don't want to critisize them - my criticism is for a system that makes those pics or videos a MUST instead of a choice.

Getty and WSF rolled this out accompanied by a series of powerful action and emotional sports shots - all taken ringside, poolside and so on. And you know it was actually a shocker to see so many pics of women doing sport instead of posed in their heels showing the results of doing sport.

 I don't think it's wrong somehow to dress up in a sparkly dress, heels or pose in a sexy bikini. I do think it's wrong if you are doing that only because your trainer or promoter or some vague cultural feeling is pressing you to do it against your best instincts.

The more inspiring photographs like this one which cross picture-editors' desks, the more choice they have,  hopefully the more often they will go for these images over the obvious honey-shot.

What do you think? Where do you stand on all of this?


Friday, October 7, 2016

Muaythai or dancing, it's all fun for Shauna Nicole

Shaun post-fight with her Dad and the trainer at Patong gym in Thailand.

Shauna Nicole (16) fights in two weeks on the Siam Warriors Muaythai Supershow in Cork Ireland. She talked to me about fighting in Ireland and Thailand, football and dancing with the Montfort school.

Photos on Shuna’s social media profile jump from satin dance outfits to the sober blue of her soccer team via bottles of Thai oil and lots of Muaythai training photos. This is not someone who takes the lazy approach to life.
She started training at 13 with Cobra Thai in Cork, but things really took off when her dad took her on a long holiday to Thailand about two years ago. Away from school, and in an environment where fighting is as natural as playing a game of football Shauna found herself drawn in.
She said: ‘My dad trains, he loves it. I love travelling so I loved it over there. I was nervous fighting, but I was so much more confident after that. I fell in love with the sport. I was so lucky that my dad could bring me over.’
Even fighters love a bit of pink!
Now she trains regularly, getting up at 6am to run with a friend before school – although she admits to feel grumpy at that hour.
Trying to explain why she loves training so much, she says: ‘It’s a great place to go especially if you’re not feeling 100%. If you just stay at home and go to bed, you wake up the next day and nothing changes. If I’m in a bad mood I want to be with my gym family; that what Cobra feels like for me.’

She lists off all her hobbies including ballet and tap dance, saying: ‘A lot of girls look at Muaythai as a boys’ sport. That is ridiculous. I would disagree, I like to get my hair done and all but training is training. There are more boys than girls, but they don’t treat you any different.’
She would like to fight more often, but the numbers of junior female fighters are still quite low in Ireland. Her second fight was against someone about ten years older even though their experience level was similar.
Shauna said: ‘All my friends were there, I was a nervous wreck, people kept telling me how old she was even though it doesn’t matter. Derek my trainer just kept saying concentrate on your ability,that I put in the hard work and that’s all you can do.’
And the work continues. She said: ‘This will be my biggest fight so far. I feel I’m ready to go now. My nan is watching my diet, checking what I’m eating all the time, she’s great.
‘I’m so grateful to Martin, the promoter and my trainer for arranging this; there are only four girls on the whole show. All my friends, my family, everyone will be there. I can’t wait.’

Shauna trains at Cobra Thai gym in Cork city.  More info on Siam Warriors Supershow.  

She is also part of the Muaythai 4 life suicide awareness film project. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2016