When the people think about Thailand, they often associate the country with elephants, beaches, and sex shows. Thailand is a complex country that deserves much more than to be boiled down to three things (that are, more often than not, nothing more than tourist traps). The same could be said about Muay Thai. The thought of Muay Thai can bring up pieces of information that people associate with the national sport of Thailand. Often over-generalized, much of this information is either outdated, passed down from one misinformed person to the next, or simply untrue. Let’s bust some common myths people believe about Muay Thai fighters in Thailand.
The face of a fighter comes in many forms, and is something nobody can ever categorize or make pre-judgments about accurately. Yolanda Schmidt, the most recent winner of the Muay Thai Angels tournament, proves just that. “The stereotype that I am not feminine based on the sport I partake in, was once one of my biggest struggles. I constantly had to justify why I enjoyed such a ‘violent’ sport when I am such a happy, smiley and bubbly person,” says the world champion.
Upon a first glance at Iman, the easiest things to notice are her eyes. Her eyes are always wide with a hunger for improving her striking skills, and she takes her training and fighting very seriously. She’s disciplined and does everything she has to. Why? Because she wants to win. And if she doesn’t win, she at least wants to give her very best. Currently 33 years old, she has never backed down from any challenge, and fighting is no exception. She’s fought top names in both Muay Thai and K1 (Chomanee Sor Taehiran, Iman Barlow, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, just to name a few), is a Muay Thai Angels semifinalist, and has titles to boast (2x WMF World Champion and recent WBC European Champion). A native of Malaga, Spain with Moroccan roots, she started training over 10 years ago after walking by a local gym. She used to stare at the people wistfully through the window. “My gut feeling told me I had to go in and ask about the classes and commence training”, Iman reminisced. “Nobody noticed me at all during my first class, because I was very new and had no technique whatsoever.” However, a trainer at the gym named Pedro […]