The Journey to Bangkok Continues…
Maha But temple was Master Toddy’s playground; he would often go to the temple in the hope that he’d be picked to fight. The temple itself has a great uniqueness, much like how Muay Thai Bangkok was described in part 1.
The story goes that the Mae Nak Shrine was built inside the temple to honour the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong. It’s a somber tale of love lost and eternal devotion, but Thai people flock to this shrine to pray for good luck.
Fights in temple fairgrounds were well known, so there would already be an audience waiting to watch. Maha But temple was particularly popular, with people coming from all over Bangkok to witness the fights unfold. Within the audience was a ‘match-maker’ ready to pair up fighters.
Many times, these match makers would say things like, ‘hey they’re better than you, but they’re fat. In the long run you will beat him, will you fight him?!’ or ‘he hasn’t trained long, but he wants to fight you,’ any reason to make the fight happen. If you end up winning, they would tell you that you could go to Bangkok to become a professional Muay Thai fighter. Muay Thai Bangkok is the name of the game!
There were three main things that would make these temple fairground fights so enthralling:
1. It’s an underground fight– there was no boxing ring so the audience stood together to form a square by holding hands, usually 5/6 people. If you don’t fight well or you run around too much, the audience would kick you!
2. No gloves- if you were lucky, you had hand wraps. Otherwise it was bare knuckle fighting. You literally to beat the opponent up, until someone was declared the winner. There was no time limit, so the fight would be over when someone from the audience said it was enough
3. No referee- the audience was the referee, collectively. If you ended up on the floor and a fighter hadn’t been declared the winner, the audience would kick you
Those who were from a more privileged background or fought in a more upper class area, would have more ‘official’ fights, whereby there was an actual ring and a referee to arbitrate. Still no gloves though! There would be scouts at these fights to send prospects to fight in Bangkok.
For those who were scouted, the next stage was particularly exciting…