This piece is courtesy of MMA Blogger and good mate AJ MC Petrie:
Having lived in Thailand for almost four years fighting pro-Muay Thai and working as a MMA instructor, it’s fair to say that I arrived at the Dragon Power Gym on Saturday night feeling a little sceptical. I had my reasons though, as during my four years in Thailand I must have attended over three-hundred Muay Thai events and fought in many myself. So I know what real Muay Thai looks like. It’s about more than just fighting; it’s about tradition, respect, heart and the beauty of the art of Muay Thai.
The few Mauy Thai events that I have attended in Cape Town in the past were nothing more than messy kick-boxing events. In Muay Thai a fighter has eight weapons – two feet, two knees, two elbows and two hands – and a good Muay Thai fighter uses all of these weapons. Messy punches and a few badly thrown kicks with absolutely no clinch work is not Muay Thai.
Saturday night at Dragon Power was different though: it surprised and excited me. For the first time in South Africa I saw “Muay Thai” – kicks and punches were thrown and checked, elbows were utilised to good effect and most surprisingly, some decent clinch work was put on display. Fights were won by KO, some by points and there was even one disqualification for punching a fighter while down (something which happens in Thailand relatively often as well). All in all I have to say it was a night of entertaining fights.
As mentioned earlier though, Muay Thai is about more than just the fighting itself. What impressed me about the event on Saturday was that, at some points during the night, it felt like I was back in Thailand watching Muay Thai fights on a Saturday night. The ghostly wining of the Thai-flute in the background, the packed crowd shouting for their fighters, the attention to detail and sincerity with which the fighters performed their Waikru’s (traditional pre-fight dance) – it all felt very authentic and I feel that, in my humble opinion, true Mauy Thai was put on display.
Another big surprise for me was the diverse crowd that the event pulled in. I am not exaggerating when I say I saw members of the family ranging from grandmother to baby brother and everyone in between. Everyone seemed genuinely interested and entertained and I feel that those who took the time out on their Saturday nights and paid for tickets were not at all disappointed. They definitely got their money’s worth.
I feel that a big thank you is in order to Quinton Chong and everyone else who went into making the event on Saturday night a very successful one. As I have said, it left me surprised and excited and I personally feel very hopeful about the future of Mauy Thai and MMA in South Africa. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to watch live Muay Thai in Cape Town. I hope the next event comes quickly!
To end off I would just like to give readers an idea of what this blog is all about (as this is my first post). I won’t bore you with my personal history, let’s just say I’ve been involved in MMA as long as I can remember, I have fought MMA and Muay Thai internationally and above all I absolutely love Martial Arts in all forms.
MMA is now the world’s fastest growing sport. However, having trained and fought overseas as well as watching international MMA events religiously, I feel that, while we have a host of talent here in SA, we are being left behind by the rest of the world in terms of the level of fighting in our country. For this to change, MMA needs to become a recognised professional sport. This entails sponsors and big events but above all fans!
This little blog- call it MyCityByFight if you will – is dedicated to growing the fan-base of MMA in South Africa.
In future we’re thinking of covering more MMA courtesy of the insights of MMA blogger AJ MC Petrie. If you’d like to discussing anything MMA- different styles, training methods, what gyms to look out for, what fighters to follow and obviously what events to attend and how those events went please let us know. Your feedback helps us out!