Back home in New York, Angela Chang fell in love with Muay Thai.
So much so, she left family and friends to spend the last 5 years training and fighting pro in Bangkok, Thailand.
Nothing about this choice was easy. And after the initial honeymoon period, the challenges have come from all directions, and still keep coming!
But armed with an incredible mindset, Angela learns from every failure and success along the way.
And has built considerable experience in the process.
Fighters like Angela are highlighting the impact that female fighters are making on the world Muay Thai scene – including in Thailand, which traditionally and historically hasn’t been encouraging of women in the sport. This is changing.
There’s a rising tide that can positively shift Muay Thai as a whole.
In this episode…
Angela Chang, a New Yorker now living and fighting in Bangkok, WBC ranked 12 super flyweight in the world, a social media manager and writer, and author of the Muay-Ying website which promotes muay thai for everyone – equal pay, spotlight, and opportunities for everybody…
You can follow Angela on Instagram @angelasitan https://www.instagram.com/angelasitan/, and to follow Muay Ying @muay.ying https://www.instagram.com/muay.ying/
And check out the Muay-Ying website https://muay-ying.com/
Each episode revolves around my Four Big Questions…
- What’s Your Story?
- What’s Your Why?
- What Makes A Champion?
- Challenges And Lessons Learned?
Digging into the answers to these questions helps uncover and share both the commonalities, and the differences in the journey to become a champion. And can help inspire and fast-track your journey too.
Summary of topics discussed:
How Angela started Muay Thai
Angela joined a fitness kickboxing gym after Jean Claude Van Damme action movies inspired her. However, her coaches were all Muay Thai fighters, and that’s what she was practicing all along!
Looking to improve by competing, the lack of fighters in her first gym made her move to Sitan Muay Thai gym to prepare for her first bout. In contrast, this gym was full of skilled fighters who made her want to push herself and work harder to improve.
The experience of being a female fighter in a male dominated sport
Angela had to overcome the obstacle of being a female in a sport where women aren’t typically taken too seriously. In Thailand, female fighters don’t make the coaches so much money, so they get ignored in the gym and pushed away when it comes to time investment from the coaches.
For Angela, knowing her first coach at Sitsongpeenong Gym in Thailand beforehand gave her an advantage as he already believed in her as a fighter. However, other females don’t have the same benefits as she had. And the fighting opportunities still remain far below that of the men. That’s why she’s working hard to change the culture of the sport through Muay-Ying.com.
Most of her followers are Men?
Most of Angela’s followers on social media and her website are men, although her content is directed towards women. Does that mean that her efforts are failing to reach the right audience?
For her, she believes that it’s better to communicate how female fighters feel to males. Thus, they are the majority, and they can help change the gym culture to be more respectful towards female fighters. The Muay-Ying platform is also there to showcase the talent on offer from women fighters, providing them an opportunity to gain more recognition in the sport too. Something that Angela herself admitted she lacked awareness of when she first came out to Thailand.
Training Muay Thai
Many Muay Thai fighters experience overtraining, which hurts their power, speed and performance during fights themselves. Angela experienced that first hand when she moved to Thailand, after pushing herself hard six days a week.
The training structure at P.K. Saenchai gym is more flexible than many traditional Muay Thai gyms in Thailand, and affords a more personalised approach to training intensity and volume that can ultimately mean much better fight performances.
Why Muay Thai?
For Angela, Muay Thai is a sport where you get to use everything – kick, punch, use elbows, knees, and even clinch. And this makes it such an incredibly effective sport and fighting system, which is incredibly attractive to Angela. Moreover, the Muay Thai community is fantastic and full of good, respectful, and humble people.
The mental side of being a Muay Thai Fighter during Covid
Fighting is more about being mentally tough and being willing to take yourself to the next level. Being honest with oneself is the only way for someone to grow and improve. During the lockdown, Angela had to face so many demons and grow from only being a Muay Thai fighter to finding other passions, and finding herself.