Oh. I forgot this little tidbit from the end of my April 12th entry:
Okay. Back from brunchfeast. Had some excellent green curry and possibly the best mango I've ever eaten. It was sliced up and – do you know when you have really good sashimi and it just melts in your mouth? – well, the mango was just like that. Maybe they grow better in the Thai climate.
Yerp. That was pretty good mango.
Note: I just had that mango again. Still delicious.
Bang Si Lee for Songkran, and Don't Go Shopping in Bangkok on a Sunday
On the 15th we went to a festival with muay Thai in Bang Si Lee. Bangsilee's a seaside town, like Pattaya, and after the competitors who wanted to compete (or were coerced to by their parents and trainers) had lined up and weighed in, the people from the gym spent some time lolling on the beach under palm trees. Some whiskey was imbibed and people ate fish and soup while we waited for the bouts to start.
I explored the beach a bit and found parts of it fairly empty of people, enough so that a fisherman was able to do quite well steadily catching small fish despite there being motorboats 20 meters from him.
The fights were under way by 1. There were two false starts due to competitors disappearing during the break, but the first match soon proceeded. Most of the competitors were small boys with few fights. The grown Thai men who'd stepped up were looking to brawl a bit and maybe win some cash. Unfortunately for them, a trainer had brought his gym members, who were in Thailand specifically for fight training, to get a bit of experience at the festival. Three foreigners competed and all won by stoppage in rather uncompetitive matches.
As we were leaving, I saw one fight that seemed to be what the average competitor had in mind Two men around 65 or 70 kilos threw wild punches at each other and the audience roared each time they landed. With their furious pace, a little more technique on either side would have produced a knockout. One of them needed to string together 3 or 4 punches to produce a knockout, but that wasn't happening. By the time we left, it was the third round and both were gassing out fast.
Three kids from the gym competed. The first saw a girl from Sor Klinmee matched against a boy. They both had good technique, with the slight edge going to our fighter. She was slicker than him at range, though he edged out the knees in the clinch. The decision at the end was a draw. Our next fight saw our fighter, a southpaw, in the red corner, against a much less technical opponent in the blue. Our boy's opponent rushed out and clinched him around the waist while throwing looping knees. Our fighter launched long left kicks when he had space and neutralized damage in the clinch to take the decision.
Our last fight was quite dramatic. It was the debut fight for our fighter, who is 8 or 9, I believe. His opponent, in the blue corner, didn't do a ram muay, while our fighter looked like he was going to shit himself during his, stumbling and looking like he was going to cry as he went to the four sides of the ring. He came out furiously, slinging long punches from the waist as well as constant right kicks to push the blue corner back. The referee waved it off in the second or third round when the other boy stopped putting up a fight. Our contingent from the gym had a good laugh during that bout.
A bit of unfortunate news on top of some good news for this Wednesday evening. Nick Papadimitriou from Greece has sadly suffered from a broken jaw and was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Rafal Dudek at It's Showtime: Warsaw. There have been rumors over the past week that Papadimitriou might be injured and have to pull out, and It's Showtime confirmed those rumors today, but came with a very respectable fill-in for Nick in the way of Michal Glogowski.
Michal Glogowski made it into the Final 8 of the K-1 World MAX Championships, facing Yoshihiro Sato in the quarterfinal round, putting up a valiant effort and taking Sato all three rounds before losing a unanimous decision to him. Glogowski impressed none the less, so seeing the 26 year old fighter back in the spotlight will be a good thing. Glogowski is one of the young talents to look out for who could have a bright future.
Of course, he will face a stiff challenge from Rafal Dudek. Rafal Dudek is probably best known for his bout with Chahid Oulad el Hadj last December in It's Showtime. Dudek trains out of Mike's Gym in the Netherlands, which is known to be one of the top destinations for kickboxing training in the world. This will be a good battle between two younger Polish fighters, with the winner having a great springboard to the rest of 2011.
Sor Klinmee 4/12:
Learn from My Mistakes
Wow, it's been 4 days since I've written one of these. I've been a little frustrated by my knee. There's something up with the tendon or cartilage. Either way, it hurts when I walk and run and I don't want it to get any more serious. As of now, kicking and kneeing pads is fine, as is footwork.
In hindsight, I should have a) waited for my muscles to recover before attempting the full 15 km run, and b) warmed up thoroughly with Thai oil before running. Learn from my mistakes.
Otherwise, these days have been great. The kids are cool, the food is great, and so is the training. I'm also getting plenty of sleep, which is a prerequisite for my feeling good. I don't know about you people, but I'm kind of delicate about sleeping at the right times and for the proper lengths.
We watched a gym member from Sweden fight yesterday at Fairtex's Theprasit Stadium. He's new to Muay Thai, having trained only three months. He lost his first two bouts, but this one he dominated from the beginning until the second round stoppage by body kicks. He plain outgunned his opponent who turtled to punches and took repeated right kicks to the ribs for it. In an important side note, I think I'm getting the hang of the Thai cheers. Eee-ehhh. Uuu-oooii. Something like that. Best not to think about it. Put your body into it.
Oh yes, I woke up today and one of the dogs had chewed a hole in my Vibrams. This totally blows. The big problem is that the plastic strap loop is broken, so I'll have to superglue it. The fabric can be sewn back together, so I guess it's manageable. If anyone knows anything about the VFFs' warranties, please let me know. I've only worn the things twice. In the future, I will be leaving gear to dry on top of the tables, not on the ground. Again, learn from my mistakes.
[Note: This dog is an asshole. Putting stuff on tables does not help. He's attacked gloves, making one of my Eminent Air bag gloves disappear, and has chewed through some of the supports for the ring ropes (the ring isn't elevated). The dog is an asshole.)
I bought citronella oil to ward off mosquitoes since people suspect DEET, the leading bug spray here, to have toxic effects. It doesn't seem that bad, but if I'm going to be putting that shit on my skin....
Last time I was in Thailand, I got dengue fever. Which is less bad than malaria ... unless you get it twice. Dengue comes in four strains, as far as we know, and catching two different strains gets you Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which involves hemorrhaging lots of blood. It's like. Fatal. Sometimes. Okay. That's mistake #3 for this post. Buy mosquito netting, or DEET, or something. DEET is better than dengue fever. Also, get good travel insurance, people.
It's Showtime marches on as 2011 unfolds, with May 14th being the next big It's Showtime show. In June 11th It's Showtime heads to Warsaw, Poland for yet another great card. With big names like Daniel Ghita and It's Showtime 95kg MAX World Champion Danyo Ilunga set to defend his title against Nenad Pagonis there is a lot to look forward to.
A lot of fighters have had a tough road leading to present day. You'll hear about Jens Pulver and his alcoholic, abusive father and how that led him to being a professional fighter and the man that he is today. You'll hear about Forrest Griffin getting into fighting and not having healthcare so a broken arm just became a part of his life. We all remember Chris Leben breaking down on national television over his daddy issues and then, of course, Josh Koscheck spraying him with a hose for laughs because crippling emotional problems should be funny.
Our good friend Mark Miller makes his return to the ring on May 28th in Moscow, Russia under the banner of Ultimate Glory. Ultimate Glory is the promotional arm of the Golden Glory gym, ran by their trainer Martijn de Jong. This show will be the finals of the GLORY World Series, which ran a Heavyweight kickboxing tournament and a Middleweight MMA tournament. There are a ton of kickboxing names involved in this event and I'm proud to say that Mark Miller is up there with them, where he belongs. In a way, he is the American K-1 fighter that time forgot. He was primed to be K-1's American guy, their champion and a name to help them break into the US scene stronger than before.
Things didn't work out as planned, then they really didn't work out as planned. Mark just started a weekly blog for MMAWeekly discussing his comeback, and the first one revolves around his life-changing 2007.
Next thing I know, I’m booking an appointment for aortic valve surgery. This procedure could have ended my career.
I opted to take the chance on requesting a cadaver valve, one which would need to be replaced in 15-20 years, but would allow me the chance to come back to fight. On the 21st of September, 2007, I went under the knife. I emerged victorious.
My heart healed perfectly. I was released to begin my training 15 weeks following. The day I went into the gym I received a phone call: Office of Latrobe Medical Examiner.
My father, Harry “Moose” Miller, had fallen sick. My father wasn’t a young man. He was almost 84 years old. He had played in the very first NBA game.
He had instilled in me my love for sports. I could never have pictured him, as old as he was, ever being so sick. April 18th, my father died.
What's ridiculous about that is, there is more to read. So go on and read the rest and continue following Mark's amazing comeback story.
A quick plug to throw out there: make sure you swing over to visit our friends at BloodyElbow.com to read the latest entry in their excellent Judo Chop series. Judo Chop breaks down the techniques used in MMA fights, and is always a good read. The latest takes a look at the great kicking arsenal used by John Makdessi at UFC 124, and features some quest commentray from yours truly. A quick sample:
"One of the chief techniques Makdessi employs is the side kick. You see this kick used from time to time, but it's rare in MMA that you see anyone use it as effectively as Makdessi does here. The side kick is typically thrown from the lead leg, turning your body so that you are perpendicular to your opponent's body. Often it's used almost like a jab, or a front kick, as a way to keep your opponent back. Makdessi uses it in the much more aggressive style. The key to his technique is in his rear leg. Note the way Makdessi jumps forward with his rear leg before throwing the kick. He brings that back leg all the way up to where his front leg was, while at the same time throwing that front leg as the kick. This gives him the momentum to kick through Audinwood, so that the point of impact on his kick is far past Audinwood's body."
For the full analysis, plus an army of gifs to help illustrate the points, read the full article. Would love to hear your comments!
Photo by Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
This weekend saw three fights take place that should be of interest to kickboxing fans, and as it turns out, all 3 are already available online. As always, we'll have a weekend recap posted tomorrow, but before that goes up, here is footage of the weekend's fights. If you don't yet know the results, and want to watch before being spoiled, this is the place to do it. Tomorrow we will post an article with the results and news from the weekend (though we'll keep the headline spoiler-free). For now, watch, and enjoy!
NATHAN CORBETT (red) vs. PIOTR LEPICH (blue), Domination 6
KHEM SITSONGPEENONG (red) vs. PRAKYSIANG SIT OR (blue), Isuzu Thai Fight qualifying tournament semi-final
SERGEI KHARITONOV vs. FILIP HRGOVIS (Boxing)
Yet another of the kickboxing/muay thai world is dipping his toes into the water of the MMA world, this time in the way of Cosmo Alexandre. As we've seen with Cosmo, he is immensely talented, hits hard and has incredible skill. If he learned how to sprawl and escape submissions he could be a force to be reckoned with in MMA, but of course, that takes years of preparation.
If you've been following Cosmo's exploits online, you've seen the mentions of him training for MMA, but here is the photographic proof of him training with some of the best (or at least posing with them). [source]
|Cosmo with Jon Jones||Cosmo with GSP|
The next big European fight card is only a few short weeks away, taking place on May 1st in Budapest, Hungary. The card will be promoted by dynamo fight promotion Fight Code, who much like It's Showtime and Ultimate GLORY have stepped up in 2011 as serious contenders in the realm of high-end kickboxing.
This is a continuation of Fight Code's "Dragon Series." The Dragon Series is Fight Code's 72.5kg tournament (primarily 70kg/MAX fighters), where we've seen such fighters as Yoshihiro Sato, Armen Petrosyan, Dzabar Askerov, Giorgio Petrosyan and Cosmo Alexandre participate.
Fight Code released the card for the event earlier in the week, and it is shaping up to look like a strong event.
Dragon Tournament Bouts
Halim Issaoui [Maroc] vs Simon Chu [United Kingdom]
Luka Tomic [Croatia] vs Norbert Balogh [Hungary]
Juri Bessmertny [Belarus] vs Selmedin Didic [Switzerland]
Vitaly Akhramenko [Belarus] vs Gyorgy Mihalik [Hungary]
Mladen Brestovac [Croatia] vs Tihamer Brunner [Hungary]
Corneliu "Coco" Rus [Romania] vs Freddy Kemayo [France]