Fun Share: Street Boxing in Seoul

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Today’s fun share comes from Bucheon.  It’s a video of a US Military guy street boxing a Korean dude.  It irritates me quite a bit, for reasons I will briefly explain later.  First off, here’s the fight:

Okay, that was fun, right?  Let’s do a quick recap: Basically, for a minute and a half, the US Military guy bombards the Korean dude with punches, missing most of them and landing a few but not doing much damage.  The Korean guy offers little to no offense at all, running away, ducking, and dodging the military guy.  You can almost sense the growing frustration on the part of the military guy as the Korean dude keeps running off.

Then something surprising happens.  The Korean guy taunts his opponent by offering his chin, and follows the taunt with a quick left jab to the military guy’s face, knocking him down.  The fight is over.  The military guy wobbles back onto his feet with help of his friends and the crowd cheers the winner.

So…I don’t know…this victory leaves me cold.  For all intents and purposes, I should really appreciate what the Korean guy has done.  He has won due to his smarts, skills, and patience.  That said, I don’t feel it’s much of a win. It’s less convincing than that guy beating Pacquiao last week.  To run away like a scared little kid and then dupe the guy into falling for a sucker punch…that’s not how I’d want to win a boxing match.  If I ever fought in a boxing match, that is.  I’m kind of skinny and lack muscles. I think I would get myself killed if I tried, unless I fought a teenage girl or the house elf from Harry Potter.

I think I could take this guy.

I’ve heard that this Korean guy is actually some sort of professional fighter and that he street boxes for fun and usually doesn’t hit back because he’s not out to hurt anyone.  I don’t know if that’s true; if it is, then I take everything back.  If you’re a real, trained fighter, than I’m sorry, Korean dude.  Don’t hurt me!

Otherwise, it’s whack.  There are ethics to fighting, and I don’t see them on display here.  No, it’s not about winning pretty, and I understand that simply winning is the most important thing.  Still, the way you win IS important. Maybe the lesson to the youth is that there’s a great sense of satisfaction in earning a victory.  You feel good about yourself by winning the right way, you don’t leave any doubt in people’s minds, and, most importantly, no skinny wimp ends up criticizing you in a blog.

(Quick shout out to Rayner and Shanell for posting the video.)

(Note on Accuracy: I have been made aware, via my girlfriend, that Bucheon is actually not in Seoul, but in Gyeonggi Province, between Seoul and Incheon.  I suppose I should, therefore, change the title to “Street Boxing in Gyeonggi Province…but that’s not too catchy.)

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Men with Vicious Elbows

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Every since I got back from Thailand, I’ve been trying to Muay Thai fight everybody.  In a bar a few weekends ago, I tried to leap off my friend Thanh’s bent knee and then kick her in the face.  Although she’s a girl and I shouldn’t try to kick her, she appreciated the ambition in my move.  Another move I’m fond of involves throwing a jab with the left hand and then following it with a devastating elbow to the back of the head.  This is a good move for me.  I’m skinny and lack muscle; my elbow is a boney bludgeon of death.  This is why I developed a quick affinity for the Muay Thai – it focuses on elbows, knees, and precision.  And it looks cool.

In Koh Samui, trucks drive up and down the main streets advertising the Muay Thai fights.  One Friday night I went to Chewang Stadium with the hopes of seeing some intensely violent action.  The stadium is located down a side street, very close to a little red light district.  Thinking back on Thailand, it seems like almost everything is located within a reasonable distance of a red light district.  Chewang Stadium is not really much of a “stadium,” as it’s about the size of a Bally Total Fitness.  The place was packed with blood-thirsty foreigners, drinking Singha beer in the stands, while the fighters sized each other up, swaying side-to-side to the strange and constant sound of a Pi Java.

Since I only wanted to see someone get knocked out, the third match was by far the best.  Older Thai men sat by the ring placing bets, mostly on the favorite – Sittisak – who I figured must have been good because his picture was on the poster.  The entire experience of seeing two guys fight in a room filled mostly with men, some gambling and others just drinking and shouting, feels rather anachronistic, like being in a movie from the 1940s or something.  For two rounds, Sittisak threw elbows and missed, sulking back to his corner where the gamblers yelled at him in Thai.

I looked around at the crowd, trying to see if there was anyone I could take.  It’s been ages since I’ve been in a fight, and sometimes I wonder if I have it in me to actually throw a punch with real conviction.  Turning my attention back to the ring, I was delighted to see Sittisak land a sweeping kick directly on his opponents jaw.  His opponent stood there for a second, stunned, and then shattered.  His body crumpled and he fell flat on his back.  The crowd was uproarious.  Sittisak looked like a happy little boy.  He did a somersault and then kicked his mouthpiece into the adoring crowd, all while his opponent shook and twitched on the canvas like he’d stuck his finger in a socket.

Sittisak and the crowd were in such great spirits that I started to wonder why people don’t fight more.  If you think about it, it’s amazing how few fights there are in regular life.  Eventually Sittisak’s opponent was helped to his feet, and the crowd politely clapped for him.  Maybe that’s why there aren’t more fights in real life, I thought.  Because in real life, no one claps for the loser.  In reality, there isn’t a corner team there to sweep the loser away and return him to wherever he belongs.  No, in reality the loser is not a pleasant sight.  Not outside the confines of an arena, where fights aren’t for sport, the audience isn’t comprised of strangers, and the elbow blows probably sting a whole lot worse.

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