Happy Monday Everyone! I had quite a productive weekend. I finally got myself to a Thai Boxing match and I'm so glad that I did. Let's start from the beginning.
As I think I've mentioned before, one of the things that had been stopping me from going to a boxing match was the price. If you are Thai it's not that expensive, only about 200 baht or $7 dollars. If you are a foreigner on the other hand the price goes all the way up to 1,500 baht or about $40. We were thinking since we live and work (and pay taxes) in Thailand we might be able to get in for the Thai price if we could appeal to the mercy of the ticket agents. Of course, I don't know what I was thinking. They just kind of laughed at us and the thought that we might ever be considered Thai so I sucked it up and paid the price for being a foreigner.
The tickets we bought were for the second class seating as opposed to the ringside seating. There were a few reasons for this. A) It was cheaper by 100 baht which is not really much of a reason B) I had watched Thai boxing on TV and had seen how in between the matches they point the camera on the people (mostly foreigners) sitting in the front row which would make me terribly uncomfortable. C) I wanted to be in the back to see all the action of the match, including the gambling and antics of the local Thais. D) I didn't want to be sprayed by sweat and/or blood if the fight got too heated.
All this said, I had no idea what we were in store for when we got to the second class seating. I was dismayed looking at the rickety old bleachers that had the lovely stench of piss and you know what and which looked as if they might collapse at any moment sending you into a pile of vermin. I momentarily regretted my decision but we sucked it up and found a seat where we could lean against the fencing. It probably wasn't too bad of a choice after all because we could get up and move around unlike those at the ringside and you had a more elevated view of the fight instead of having to look up and over someone else's head to see the fight.
I was glad that I had watched the movie Beautiful Boxer before going because I had a sense of the life that they fighters lead at their training camps and some of the history behind the sport. If you are interested in Thai boxing or Thai culture, I would definitely recommend the movie.
Before the fighting begins the fighters go through some sort of ritualistic dance where they pray and pay respects to their coach and the other fighter. Interesting to watch the first couple of times but when you are watching 10 different matches it can get quite tedious to watch.
The fight started with the youngest fighters, probably around 9 or 10 years old. My heart went out to those young boys who were kicking the crap out of each other. They were much feistier and less inhibited than the older fighters, making the fight more lively and exciting to watch but you really couldn't get over the guilt of watching children engage in this sort of activity. The older fighters weren't as quick to make a move, probably because they were more experienced and were planning their attacks more.
The rules are that there are no rules (oh dear, that sounds so cliche now). Well, not as far as I could see. You could kick or hit anywhere but the preferred shots were knee kicks to the kidneys or a roundhouse kick to the face. Ouch! We could hear the smacks of the kicks all the way where we were (it's a fairly small stadium) and it didn't sound pleasant. The first match ended when the one boy fell to the floor and the other boy delivered a knee to the face resulting in a knock out. More than one fight ended with one fighter being carried away on a stretcher. It felt like watching a game of Street Fighter.
I tried to take lots of picture but alas my camera is dying a slow and painful death and doesn't take great pictures anymore. I'll post some of the ones that I took as soon as I can manage the patience to uploading on my slow Internet connection.
In the meantime, have a great week!