In 2011, I worked at Kommersant as a correspondent for the culture department, I lived in a rented room in a commune, and my salary was barely enough for food, and the need for sports activities became quite obvious when I could not fit into my only winter pants. I went to Thai boxing for several reasons: the gym was next to work, the training was ruthless, all the equipment was given out in the classroom three times a week and it cost about 4 thousand rubles a month. It was especially pleasant that the main instrument was your own body, and you could train anywhere - if you had a sparring partner.
Muay Thai, or Muay Thai, is a form of wrestling that is considered an adaptation of an even deadlier ancient martial art. In Thai boxing, shin strikes are used on three levels (high to the head, middle to the stomach and low to the thigh), as well as punching boxing techniques, elbow and knee strikes, straight foot kick (chib) and, of course, clinch - wrestling without parterre, that is, on the feet, not on the mat. In order to start training, from the equipment, at first, only boxing gloves, bandages and mouthguards are enough, but in the future you will need protection on the shins, a helmet and chest protection. Thai shorts are a special aesthetic pleasure, but not only: you cannot imagine more comfortable for training.
Contrary to popular belief that Muay Thai is a tough martial art "not for girls", there are many girls in this sport, and, other things being equal, they often achieve much more serious results than boys. This is because, firstly, not all girls are such fragile creatures, and secondly, because there is much less competition in this area than men. For example, in the category up to 70 kg, as it was with me at the beginning, in principle it is not easy to find a worthy competitor. Even in the category up to 63.5 kg, the number of female athletes is several times less than that of female athletes, and in a few years, in principle, it is realistic to achieve the title of master of sports.
Even if you do not set yourself the task of participating in competitions, Muay Thai training will definitely help you to believe in yourself, but in order to achieve at least some progress, you need to do at least three times a week. Today, contact martial arts can be considered a type of lifestyle: people visit the gym once every couple of weeks, do without practicing techniques and without heavy exhausting sparring, lightly hammer a pear and then post pretty selfies from the locker room. You can meet girls and boys who have been practicing Thai boxing for several years, and at the same time they have neither hitting technique, nor strength, nor even resistance to pain.
Speaking about why people go to martial arts at all, there is a risk of going too deep into complex combinations of complexes, social attitudes and aesthetic preferences. For me, Muay Thai has become a pathway to emotional health (although it has undermined my physical health a little). Firstly, Muay Thai training fosters the habit of overcoming difficulties: usually a lesson lasts from one and a half to two hours, and about an hour of this time is allotted to a tedious warm-up and cool-down.
Working out is an effective way to get rid of irritation and resentment, and push-ups clear the head much better than caffeine or alcohol
Running, jumping rope, push-ups, jumping out, stretching, working out technique, coordination exercises and exercises on the vestibular apparatus develop the body from various angles. Every good trainer will explain that even if one thing does not work out - for example, my vestibular apparatus is personally very weak - you can develop some other area and focus on it. After six months of training, for the first time in a long time, I believed in myself when I won an easy sparring over a beginner who came from classic boxing - I just used my knees, realizing that “on fists” he is stronger than me.
Secondly, after I started doing Muay Thai, I became much more confident in myself. It was the confidence that I could stand up for myself, even if I had to do it physically. Unfortunately, this method is less accessible to girls than to guys, because from childhood we are taught to negotiate, and not to insist, and to be glad that violence is used against us, and not to repulse it - after all, tugging braids and pinching in the corridor is a manifestation of attention … As soon as I realized that I could fight back, it literally became easier for me to live and cope with stress - from the mere awareness of my security, and not the willingness to get down to business. Plus, doing your best during workout is an effective way to get rid of irritation and resentment, and push-ups clear your head much better than caffeine or alcohol. The punching bag with the face of a boss is a world-famous invention of Japanese clerks who cannot better take out their irritation than beating such a stuffed animal from the heart.
I will not hide, sometimes even the thought of how exactly (in detail!) One can respond to the aggression of others helps to restrain the manifestation of this aggression on their part. True, it is better to be more careful with these thoughts, because in fact, hitting a person is very unpleasant, and a feeling of shame for this act will inevitably come - sooner or later - especially if your opponent is not a thai boxer at all. Recently, a Facebook acquaintance wrote that after the #I'm not afraid to say action, he understood a lot and thought about sending his daughter to knife fighting classes. I told him the following: if you master some deadly skill, it is very difficult not to use it. Now I understand that when I was a neophyte in Muay Thai, my behavior was often unnecessarily aggressive.
As with any fight, Muay Thai is not easy to be a beginner. The prospect of a fight with a real enemy frightens off many from the very beginning - they say, they pile on me, I do not know how, they will beat me. The truth is that the danger usually comes from the beginners themselves, who do not yet know how to calculate their strength and can hit too hard, causing real injury. Girls in Muay Thai often behave in a specific way: many initially apologize a lot when they put a little more force into a blow than to swat a mosquito. “Oh, I'm sorry! Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't want to”, - these absolutely uncontrollable phrases are uttered by every girl in the first few months of class. People who have already been engaged in these several months can react to this in their own way: often it seems to them that the rival is "hypocritical" and does not work at full strength.
Another issue is the attitude in society towards a girl who has learned to stand up for herself. Today, martial arts are no longer considered an aggravating circumstance in the commission of a crime, and nevertheless, in the news about the case of Russian powerlifting champion Tatyana Andreeva, who stabbed a rapist friend and was convicted, she is persistently called an "athlete", as if this type of activity determines the degree of resistance in case of rape. In turn, MMA (mixed martial arts) star Ronda Rousey was even convicted of domestic violence after she described her quarrels with her ex-boyfriend in her autobiography. However, such cases are rather rare: real violence and sports limited "violence" in training are completely different things, and it is quite possible to say that in wrestling classes women and men gain experience of equality and learn respect.
The relationship between athletes and athletes in training is a separate difficult issue. Sexist jokes in the gym are not uncommon, as is internal misogyny among female athletes. However, if a girl can be joked about his period, the guy cannot avoid ridicule for the fact that the girl put him down with a hikik.
For many men, being paired with a woman is akin to humiliation, but gradually having learned that a partner has breasts that cannot be hit and a much lighter weight class, a boxer may well get used to sparring with a girl. There are also such athletes who like to "teach" newcomers, especially women, they hit on the move in full force, as if declaring: "If you want to be on an equal footing, get it." In this case, it is very important how the coach behaves. If he encourages such behavior, we must leave this hall, because sport is a sport, and not a platform for self-affirmation and demonstrative flogging.
Like any other combat sport, Muay Thai is traumatic and not very beneficial for physical health
In general, it is easier to get injured in training, even if the partner is careful, the coach is attentive, and you have all the necessary protection. I earned the initial arthrosis of the right knee by accidentally flying it into the wall, and one of my friends paid for her title of master of sports with a whole range of gynecological problems. In one of the fights, my opponent broke her foot on my shin, and during another fight, I earned a rupture of a vessel on my nose - the asterisk is still in place. Needless to say, beginners in Thai boxing always walk with purple-gray legs from bruises, because the first year of training is stuffing - from numerous hematomas the nerve endings on the outer part of the lower leg from the foot to the knee become stale, so that in the future it will not hurt the athlete to beat this place on the enemy. Ultimately, the lower leg should become insensitive, like a piece of wood. It is also necessary to fill the press so that it does not pierce in the stomach, as well as the forearms, hips and feet. In addition, from the constant rise on tiptoe for a series of blows, foot crepitus begins, like in ballet dancers. Of course, chances are good that you get hit in the nose - and break it. Muay Thai, like any other combat sport, is traumatic and not very beneficial for physical health.
You have to come to terms with the fact that you are sure to damage something if you decide to do Muay Thai seriously, and not as unloading once a week. But in reality it is not so scary: adrenaline from training relieves all injuries, in addition, there are many "freezing" sports creams and, in the end, you can always dose the load. From my point of view, it is pointless to engage in martial arts without sparring, but many use such training as intense cardio work. Contrary to various advertising texts, Thai boxing does not contribute to either weight loss or the formation of a "feminine" figure. From unbearable aerobic loads, the muscles of the whole body get stronger, but deflate, and the developed oblique abdominal muscles hide the waist. At the same time, fat can also disappear, but nutrition and metabolism are more important here, and not the type of load.
Rhonda Rousey, Holly Holm or Gina Carano, some of the most famous representatives of combat sports, are by no means skinny. Although in fairness it should be noted that most of them have not played according to the rules of Muay Thai for a long time. It so happened that in recent years, fights according to the rules of MMA are in much greater demand among the mass audience, where wrestling and striking technique are combined. Therefore, today it is not easy to name a Thai boxer who would be known outside of a certain sports community. Even Anastasia Yankova, a Moscow athlete who became famous as an example of a "sexually attractive" female boxer, went to MMA.
The passion for Thai boxing came to the masses from street confrontations between fan groups and conflicts between left-wing radicals and right-wing radicals, but gradually it is becoming a thing of the past along with these phenomena. After three years of training, I lost seven kilograms, became the champion of the Moscow region in Muay Thai, won one master tournament, and attended several amazing competitions. However, when at that very masterful tournament one of the coaches began to tell me that the Holocaust was invented by the Jews, and several guys from my gym once again began to joke about the eastern name of my rival, I realized that all this had nothing to do with sports. that I spend a huge amount of time with people who are completely alien to me.
This is one of the most important problems faced by people who come to the world of martial arts. The regulars of ordinary, not the most expensive halls, where very serious fighters can be trained, are mainly schoolchildren or students, schoolgirls or students, most likely belonging to some ideological group. For example, in one of the halls where I trained, all the members of the Spartak fan firm "School" were engaged, in another club where I went, Evgenia Khasis was trained, convicted of complicity in the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. The last time I tried to go to Thai boxing a year ago at the Institute of Physical Education, at the end of the training I was offered to train cheaper at the expense of a sponsor. In exchange, it was required to go to the rallies and support the point of view of the construction company, known, in particular, for the dispersal of the old edition of the "Russian Planet".
This was the last straw in my hobby for Thai boxing: it became obvious that it is extremely difficult to practice it and stay away from ideology. Today, Muay Thai in Russia is a sport that will require you to rebuild your life and, perhaps, even your interests and views - and the more, the longer you practice it. While you are still interested in learning about the world of youth subcultures, trying yourself in a new role as a boxer, choosing multi-colored bandages and running to training in anticipation of new knowledge, it makes sense to think about what next sport you will do. Unless you are going to become a pro and make money from fights, any sport has a ceiling for development.
In any case, the ability to learn a couple of simple punches and generally become physically stronger is a definite plus. In addition, any girl who has tried herself in single combat at least once expands the possibilities of self-realization for all women. Once at training, a guy asked me: "Why did you go to boxing, because this is not a women's sport?" I asked if his mom drives a car and if his sister walks in jeans. Of course, he answered in the affirmative, because it never entered his head that in many countries of the world these are still "not female" occupations.
Photos: Twins Special, RealBoxing, _jure - stock.adobe.com