get up, keep fighting

23Sep06

in training

just imagine it. it’s friday night and every parent and kid in every town has pretty much one thing on their mind – the big game. only instead of the big game, it’s the big fights.

just like how saturday is the big day for college and pro sports in the US, it is the big night for serious fights in thailand. all the big guys fight on saturday night. similarly, just as we have high school sports on friday nights, the thai all go watch young kids duke it out. everyone in the community gathers around at a local stadium for cheap beer and cheap thrills.

last night we pretended to be good thai people and went to watch little middle school kids and some pretty bad ass high school kids duke it out in 3 hours of hard earned victories. 9 fights. 2 knockouts, 1 severely bloody dude. there was betting, beer and plenty of good hitting.

when we got to the stadium and the group i was with saw that the fights were for kids. they were a bit shocked, offended, bewildered. how could a whole community come together to watch kids fight each other? i kept asking “you watch your kids play soccer or baseball, right?” but they refused to believe that it was the same. that this wasn’t pure violence. i think they expected some no holds barred thing. i tried to explain that just like they watch their kids play mini versions of pro sports, that this is what the thai were doing. but they couldn’t understand. until they watched a few fights. then they began to understand, and even get into it.

the way everyone came together, it was amazing, i recorded the fights, but what i really should have taped were the crowds. i thought it was awesome seeing all the people gather together. the tourists bought the “ringside” seats while all around us the thai stood up and shouted. yelling “dee” for every good hit. those i was with and other tourists were into the fights, don’t get me wrong, but we were distinctly outisders. even those of us who knew what we were watching. unlike americans the thai don’t boo or complain when fighters dance around instead of hitting. they just wait patiently. more patiently than i could.

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