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Some of the folks from Church Street have suggested that it would be really nice if we could film some rounds with their women sparring so that they can see the action and possibly help in identifying and correcting any deep mistakes. And while this seems like a very interesting idea, there are a few pitfalls or problems to deal with in implimenting it. What we were thinking was that we (Kevin) could film specific rounds – rounds only with those who would like to be filmed – and they could be posted privately on a YouTube account just for the group. YouTube has a setting such that only “friends” can view a video. This way only specific members could see film from that week’s action. We were also thinking that each week we could take down last week’s video so that there is no lasting record of what went on. You (and your trainers if you wish) would pretty much have a week to look at some of what you were doing.

Pros and Cons

Now the pitfalls that occur are that:

1) Although this sparring circle is all about community there is the distinct possibility that someone you are sparring with will one day be someone you will fight in the ring. So if you decided to opt in on the idea of seeing yourself later, there is always the fact that your opponent (or others from that week) are studying you too.

An Answer: Personally I find this worry to be a bit overrated for a variety of reasons. For one, at this stage in training if someone is able to identify my weaknesses and exploit them, all the better, it will only improve me in the long run. We simply are not generally at the level of precise professional fighters (yet) where our weaknesses need to be kept a state secret. Secondly, the idea that other people of the group can study you actually may lead to them offering constructive criticism that you may have missed: Sylvie you keep dropping your left when you kick! Is something I would like to hear. The very synergy of the group I believe safeguards against this worry.

Also, the idea that we could take down each week’s film after one week’s time should work to minimize the fear of other people studying you adversely. Additionally, it could be that any trepidations that trainers have had (or still have) about their girls sparring in other gyms could be allayed a bit, as they could see (and study if they wish) just what is happening. We might even expand the number of women in the group this way.

2) What is really special about the circle is how casual and free flowing it is. This is not a class. And while we may each be working on specific things (I recently realized that this is what makes sparring much more productive), the joy of it all is that we can experiment with things that a close-watching instructor may not allow or inspire. There is something very nice about being able to solve our problems in the situation on the fly, and we don’t want too much of an instructor’s eye limiting that creativity of mistakes. In short, if you want instruction you can take a class.

An answer: This is a difficult one to answer, and it really takes us all deciding together. The truth is that even though we are coming together out of community and the joy of Muay Thai and boxing, we are all also very focused on improving, often upon very specific things. I have a good deal of experience with being filmed as almost my entire year of training with Master K is on YouTube, and it has often allowed both him and me to notice persistent problems.

Also, I don’t know how many of you have ever been filmed doing Muay Thai but it seldom looks like how it felt. Quite often of course it looks much worse than it felt (but in such cases its really good to have a reality check), but also sometimes it actually looks much better than it felt as well. Many times I was surprised by this positive result. And then sometimes when you look at a film you see all the flaws, and then when you go back to it the next day you see other good things. All in all, it is almost never a negative to see yourself in action. You simply learn from it.

So this idea is really up in the air, and it’s important to hear from everyone, especially those that might feel uncomfortable (don’t be shy to speak up). What has to be judged is: Is this something that would really add to the group, making the experience even more unique, even more what brough it together?  Or would it detract from the real pleasure we are having getting together? 

So this is a prospective idea, let us know what you think:

1). Only a few rounds are to be filmed, and only including girls who have decided they would want this.

2). In cases where there are 4 girls in the ring, the other girls would have to either be indifferent or also to have decided its okay to be in the frame.

3. Video rounds from that week will be posted on a YouTube channel that contains only videos set to Private. (Private means that only “friends” can view those videos – to view the video you would have set up a YouTube account which takes about 2 minutes.)  These videos cannot be found through a search.

4. At the end of the week, the last week’s video will be taken down to avoid any extensive exposure.

Please voice whether any of this is interesting to you. I could go either way. My instructor Master K is very excited to see what I have been doing, and he would really like to view it. I know I would learn a lot from his comments. But also I appreciate the free-flowing, easy way we come together, and have learned a lot already from you all just as it is. The important thing is that the spirit of the group stay strong in our community together and our love for the art.

If any of you have thoughts either pro or con, or better ideas on how it could be done, please either comment here on the thread (or over at facebook), or email me at sylvie@earthlink.net

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