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Posted: 2006-08-19 03:21:40
To Benares,

The omittion of elbows was born because of the fact that caucasians are prone to the cuts. If you are familiar with boxing, the late Jerry Quarry, one of the top heavyweights in the '60s and '70s, was known for the ability to take hits. Even George Foreman admit he purposely avoided Quarry. But against someone like Muhammad Ali, whose punches were more of quickness rather than sheer KO power, Quarry got cut easily and there were several fights which he could have continued if it were not for the cuts. The darker the skin, the lesser cuts you have. Ali experienced cut only once in his career, against Bob Foster. But it was still a slight cut. Another example is Troy Dorsey, who also was known for absorbing punishment, and experienced rather quick stoppage due to his cut prone skin. The premature stoppage does not sell to the general public. There is another factor that we have yet witnessed the potentiol lethality of the elbows in heavy divisions. The majority of the competitive weight divisions in Thailand are the lightweight and under. In addition to this, the Thais never go for quick KOs. If they have too many KOs, or quick KOs, let's say, like the Mike Tyson in his prime, they could be no longer considered as a gambling property. Payab Pemchai, one of the greatest welterweight of all time, had to fight with handicaps like, use left kicks only, or fight two opponents (fight one in the 1st round, another in the 2nd, etc) because he was so dominant in his division and it was extremely difficult to find opponents.

There is an injury factor as well. The elbows are more responsible for the detached retina. I had a couple of stable mates whose career cut short due to the eye injury. It is understandable that some people want to preserve the Thai tradition. But once something got the internatinal acceptance, in many cases it is no longer like the one in the original culture. Judo is a good example of this and now we see blue gi in competition. In Japan, the officials, fighters, and fans have much respect for muay thai, so they never what they do in Japan muay thai. Eiji Yamada, the non-sense, MA magazine editor and the hard-core muay thai enthusiast, claimed the true muay thai is the one you see in either Radjamnern or Lumpini stadium, and is lightweight and under. Anything other is not true muay thai. I think his view is rather extreme. But this indicates how difficult it is to compromise between the tradition and the mass marketing.

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