" When Your Fighter Leaves The Ring After Loosing a Bout, Who Do You Blame?"

The Judges?

I think not, their job is to mark down the score of each point made by both fighters based on their skill and technical ability to display the finer points of Muay Thai. That is why you have 3- 4 judges round the square ring each judge sees the fight from his individual visual perspective and tallies the points on his score card alone. All score cards are then handed to one of the Senior Officials who will then add the points from each judge together, deducting any infringements that the referee has made a point of, and then give the final results to the MC to announce.

The Referee?

Everyone blames the referee in the end, for he is the only other person in the ring besides the two fighters He sees the fight from his visual perspective, and being a lot closer to the fighters than the judges, Corner men and audience, he can look into the eyes of a fighter and see from his reaction how far the fight should continue.

He does not need the counseling of the judges or Corner men to determine this, it becomes his decision on either to stop the bout or to allow it to continue. His first and only responsibility is the safety of the fighters. A good Referee is trained to ignore the catcalls and boos of the audience and block out all the background noise and concentrate  just on the fighters. The judges are the second pair of eyes for the referee they will see things that he may not, and can therefore adjust points or inform the referee of any infringement that he may not have noticed.

The Officials of the AMTJRA  are some of the highest trained  officials for the sport of Muay Thai in America today, and they continue to take courses to improve themselves keeping up with the international standard of Muay Thai including Thailand. Senior officials often travel to Thailand to continue in the instructional courses provided by Thailand's IFMA. What many of the audience, promoters, and fighters tend not to realize is that the AMTJRA officials are a lot more experienced in the technical aspects of Muay Thai from a visual point than a fighter, and more often than the audience. This has been proven on many occasions.

The Audience?

In part Yes! Due to their excitement of the bout and in support of a fighter they have come to see, they tend to get carried away in their support and can be made to see things that never happened. Most times this is done by verbal suggestion. As a none biased spectator, it can sometimes be difficult to decide if the audience carried the results of the fight, but a good official is not there for the audience, the promoter or the respective camps. He is there for the fighters.

The Corner men?

Yes! In part again, this is true. In support of their fighter, they tend to be blinded by their own encouragement and often see the referee as the enemy who has joined sides with the opposition against their fighter. (This is often seen and contributes to the aggressive and disgusting behavior displayed at many events towards Judges Referees and even the Promoter), if the result goes against their fighter from the corner men.

The Corner mans show of disgust is usually due to lack of understanding of the rules of Muay Thai or down to pure ignorance of the specific duties and jobs of the officials. Corner men must realize that they have absolutely no say in the matter of the results of a bout, the Referee has the final say. It is the Senior Official who and can determine if the results deserve an inquiry. The Corner men or coach should follow the proper proceedings and state their case in a orderly fashion to the Senior official who will oversee that a video of the event is sent to an independent review board that will determine the final results.

The Fighter?

More times than not, it boils down to the fighter in the end. If a fighter tends to ignore the rules of the sport or acts in such a manner that would warrant a decision against him, it can be one of several things; (a) he accepted the fight knowing that his opponent out weighed him or out classed him, or (b) was known to be a far better fighter, or (c) that he ignored the advice of his coach, and finally (d) he ignored (or was not instructed in) the technical aspects of the sport to gain points. A fighter who tries to out-punch his opponent in the first round will only make this fighter  have "burnout" before the bout is finished, thereby not allowing him to use all the skill he was trained with.

The Trainer?

That depends! The skill one acquires in the gym does not always count for the skill acquired in the ring. This is often confused by many martial artists who train as fighters. Advice for competitive fighters is that they concentrate less on training on the pads or bags and spend a little more time in physical sparring. As the old cliché so nicely brought to the forefront of all martial arts by the late great Bruce Lee, "boards don't hit back" the same can be said about training pads or kick bags. A fighter will often miss out on integral points of competition. Trainers should take notice of this and gear their fighters more to sparring where they can fine tune him on his ability to gain points and strengthen his body, while increasing his stamina. Training his fighter to go for the knockout or to over power their opponent will more than likely backfire.

The Final Conclusion:

Judges are looking for the skill of the fighter not his strength, they are looking for his technical ability, and his display of the 'Fighters spirit, so often seen in Thai fighters from Thailand. In Amateur competitions trainers should forget that there are any differences between Amateur or Professional. There is no difference in the training. The methods should be just the same, including knees, elbows, clinches etc. The only difference at this moment is that in most countries elbows and knees to the head are not yet allowed, at least in the Amateur divisions. But elbow and knee strikes to the body are perfectly legal and points can be gained by use of these weapons. Twisting an opponent out of a clinch is a legal maneuver in Muay Thai and Judges often take note of the fighters skill in executing this technique as with any good punch or spectacular kick.

The End result:

If fighters who enter events spent more time on learning how to survive in the ring based on skill and techniques rather than on egotism or the name of their camp, the results would be seen by all. It is time to treat Muay Thai for what it is rather than for what one thinks it is. In the end, if your a fighter and ' You' step out of the ring and 'You' have lost, who do 'You' blame.. ?


Copyright © 1998 USMTA Inc.   All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.