One of the first things Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittu learned when she moved to Thailand was taking a long nap after training is probably not a good idea. Too much sleeping means no eating means weight loss. And at 47 kg, that’s not so smart, the American fighter says.
If you follow women’s Muay Thai online, you might have come across one of Von Duuglas-Ittu’s YouTube videos or maybe you follow her on Facebook. Part of a new generation of fighters, Von Duuglas-Ittu says her online work is as much part of her career as what she does in the ring.
‘What I’m doing now is such an opportunity, I wanted to share it with as many people as possible and give to other women in the world,’ she says, speaking from her apartment in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.
Her YouYube channel has been viewed more than one million times and her Facebook page reached 1,000 likes this week. So while many mainstream sports publications are still working out that women fight, the internet is showing the way.
Von Duuglas-Ittu started her adventure in Thailand through her website 8 Limbs Us, gathering sponsorship and attention with the eye-catching design. But what really caught my attention is that she and her husband have moved to Thailand for ‘at least’ a year.
A Year to Fight
Many fighters save up to spend four or maybe six weeks training but the commitment involved in throwing away jobs and homes smacks of something else. Dedication and maybe a little madness.
She says they went on a shorter trip first from their New York base, but just knew they had to go back again. Seven months into the adventure, she has no regrets.
“I lived about 60 miles outside of the city, so I would commute about an hour to get to training. I was training maybe four hours a week instead of seven hours a day,” she says.
Her first trainer at home was Master K, a former Thai fighter who lives in New York. But even with his training, she had a lot to learn when she arrived in Thailand.
“He trains very detailed things that help you learn, no-body can tell you how to do the kick with your hip but he explains how you use your hip for power.
“But he wasn’t making me do heavy repetitions on the bag, he doesn’t hold pads so it was actually incredibly different from Thai training here,’ she says.
Von Duuglas-Ittu’s husband works online and at the moment she focuses just on training, a luxury she says.
“The training out here feels good, it’s not ‘I’m going to go to training now’; it’s a way of life. It’s what you do.”