What it’s like to love a fighter with Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

I’m excited to release our first ever interview on the Inner Work podcast. I spoke with Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu. He’s the husband of Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu, and together they run one of my favorite podcasts of all time, the Muay Thai Bones podcast, and the 8 LIMBS US blog.

We talk about Muay Thai, Sylvie’s first fight and how they both felt about it,

  • 9:10 Sylvie’s first fight – Were you afraid or worried leading up to it?
  • 18:50 How Kevin sees his role in the relationship between him and Sylvie
  • 28:30 Sylvie’s internal harshness toward herself and her struggles with self-criticism
  • 32:00 I share how one of his biggest impediments to furthering my martial arts skills was being in my own head too much, and how shadowboxing on LSD helped me level up
  • 33:55 Breakthrough moments for Sylvie that helped her approach fighting with a calmer attitude
  • 37:00 Why Sylvie committed to sparring a lot more in recent months and how to “grow eyes” as a fighter
  • 47:00 Kevin & Sylvie are constantly working on developing Sylvie’s skill set. Do they ever feel overwhelmed, is it ever too much, do they ever take a break?
  • 52:50 How Sylvie became the most documented fighter in the world, while being an incredibly shy and introverted person
  • 53:55 I express admiration for the love and surrender Kevin and Sylvie have for each other, and the work they create

Selected links:


[00:01:13]just maybe to give you a little bit of a context of how well I know you guys, like, I, I think I’ve been consuming your content for at least four years and w and when I, when I get into, um, I have these. Like I’m a passionate person when it comes to storytelling.
[00:01:36] I love fighting. I love fighting. I have a huge passionate interest in it. And I think when I first found Sylvie, it was on YouTube and I think it was the little mini documentary about her. Right. So there’s actually two. But I think though, when you’re talking about is so beautiful, What is it called again?
[00:01:54] It’s under the, is it under the roof under the rope? I think nestled under the rope. Yeah. You know, what’s funny. This is a very common pattern I, you know, in life. And so I think this is probably also very common for you guys, but the first time I, I watched something of Sylvie’s I saw that little documentary and it was kind of a cool thing that I was watching while having breakfast.
[00:02:15] Like I was just looking for someone with high content. It just popped up in a recommendation. And I remember watching it and going, that’s kind of cool. That’s a cool person. And I just went on with my life. Right. I didn’t pay too much attention. And then it probably took half a year until I encountered Sylvia again.
[00:02:34] Uh, uh, the second time again, maybe with a little bit more interest, but still very casual, very like. All right. Whatever. I think it took, it took a year before I finally really got deep into the, a rabbit hole and was where I interest had now been like penetrated enough that it kind of broke open. I was like, all right, now I’m interested.
[00:02:59] I want to know who is this person? What is, I want to watch fights. I want to learn more than I discovered you. I’m like, this is very interesting. This is a very unique couple is a very unique team in fighting. Yeah. Well, we can’t wait, kept me out of the narrative for a very long time, but it got to a point where we were like, let’s include this other voice because it’s an important part of what’s going on.
[00:03:23] And also, uh, I could be more supportive and content. So probably when you jumped in was kind of when I jumped in probably, and. And then I got really deep. Like I, you know, there were a couple of weeks where I consumed hours of content. Like I try to catch up with things and really like, really get on top of things.
[00:03:43] You guys have an amazing podcast. Um, the more we tie bones podcast. Uh, and so I’ve listened to every single episode and it’s the kind of content Kevin, that is such a unique niche of what I love, you know? It’s Oh, that’s good. So, so the two of you talk. Maury Thai, which I love you talk fighting more broadly, which I love, but then much more.
[00:04:15] So you guys talk about philosophy, psychology, mentality, culture, you know, all kinds of things in the middle of this. Always a little bit of like, there’s a beautiful dynamic between the two of you of like sometimes bickering one can give the other what they want and you get into like these little. You know, these little like, Oh, took a left turn with the other person to go right turn and then you have to fight back together.
[00:04:43] But these are, you know, very kind of, in-depth very philosophical. Um, And very deep conversations. And I, you know, this is like, this is a unique order, you know, if I could have created, if I could have ordered somebody to do this podcast, I would have just for my personal pleasure. So I absolutely love, uh, the content you guys create, the storytelling, everything.
[00:05:06] Um, And that’s so good because it comes out of who we are. So you and I, and Sylvie must be good friends without having spent time, because when you’re just driving in a car for three hours, just. What you are comes out. So it’s very, it sounds great to have you connect with so many pieces of that. Yeah. Yes.
[00:05:28] And I, you know, I’m, so I’m a huge fan. Um, we’ve become more friendly. I mean, emotionally, I feel very connected to the two of you and I feel very invested in your journey. Um, we’ve had not had, uh, you know, time together, but I see that in our future there’s projects that we’ve been talking about of tackling together, I’ve been, uh, a small, uh, sponsor of, uh, Sylvie’s for the last one and a half, two years or so.
[00:05:52] Um, I appreciate it. And yeah, so there’s a million questions I have for you, and there’s a bunch of stuff I’d love to like, tackle that I’m curious about. And so I’ll, I’ll take this opportunity as a personal, like, Me intruding the Ty bones podcast, a special episode of it. I can just ask my questions, my curiosities.
[00:06:11] Fantastic. So, um, he here, you know, th there’s. Especially things that I care about are going to be less about, you know, the, this fight or that fight or this performance of that performance or a technique or her skillset, but more, uh, much more curious about the behind the scenes of the journey. And especially when I look at all the conversations that two of you have and all the things, the training sessions that I see in the kind of.
[00:06:41] Uh, after words, the post-training breakdowns you do, and the, the conversations, how you frame the phases that Sylvie’s in, in her development, in her training and her career. Um, to me, what’s striking is that a lot of it is about what I would call kind of the, the inner game of fighting. Right. It’s. It is a lot about the, the mental side, the emotional side, sometimes the spiritual side, the philosophical side, there’s also physical parts, but I find almost that the two of you, at least when you have conversations, at least on the podcast and other formats, those are the parts that you’re least interested in.
[00:07:21] And even when I see like, W, you know, you guys are on Petrie on, um, there’s a massive library there of Sylvie training with legends of of the sport. You’ve created this incredible library, preserving the legacy of these, um, Incredible fighters that were not active in more time anymore. And where there were fading out of the public eye and all that technique and their knowledge and their stories and all that would have been just gone.
[00:07:48] Oh, the world. Yes. And so, and so you, you traveled through Thailand, right? Thousands of these videos from these incredible people. Even when I see, um, Sylvia in a training session, Right with a legend and or a crew, and you just see her throw punches and kicks and her technique is being corrected or critiqued or there’s technique being added almost always.
[00:08:12] When I watch these sessions. I can tell both you your, your video graphing. Most of it you’re, you’re capturing it on video and taking beautiful pictures of, of Sylvie’s journey, but almost always, there’s also a big mental component. There’s like when something isn’t clicking, there’s a Sylvie might laugh and look at you and go, you know, I’m too tense, or I can’t relax into this, or there’s always like a mental thing in fights when you’re the coroner and you record a live stream, the fights that Sylvie has.
[00:08:40] Yeah. When you shout instructions, sometimes it’s very like just more teams, more teams or what it is, combos, whatever the theme of the days. But there’s also, I can tell them so much mental, uh, analysis going on. You guys are very cognitive, very thoughtful people, right? You’re people that are very deep in thought and take what you do very, very seriously.
[00:09:05] So I want to talk about that side and want to like focus on that side a little bit. Here’s where I want to start. This is maybe a weird question. I don’t know if you’ve talked about this a lot, but I want to talk about Sylvie’s first fight. Yes. And I, no, the, the, the backstory, as far as I know it is, you know, Sylvie watched on back or you guys watched a movie together.
[00:09:30] Sylvie’s interesting with Ty was peaked. There’s master key, I think, right? Like eighties movie, eighties, movie sensei, like a karate kid, also the situation old guy in his garage that happens awesome with Ty trainer that takes her under his wing. She trains for a while. She wants like, this dream pops up of like, maybe we could go to Thailand for a while and have a real fight there.
[00:10:00] Right? Yeah. And then you guys save up money up until that you’re both teachers. What, what were you doing? Help me again. What was your background? Uh, Sylvie was a, uh, bartender. We met in college. I went back to college later in life and she came out of college and became a bartender. Around that time. And I was, um, uh, I can’t remember the exact timetable, but I think I was a social media consultant, uh, right around that time.
[00:10:31] And actually that played into us, putting everything on YouTube and everything because I was new to, uh, to social media consulting back then. And so I just experimented all my ideas on what she was doing and it kind of caught the first part of the social media wave. Uh, she’s I think the most documented fighter in the history of the world in any sport.
[00:10:52] Um, and part of that was because of what I was doing at the time. But, um, yeah. So what did you want him to, uh, drawn to the first fight? Because I’m drawn to the feelings before the first fight. I’ll tell you why this is a personal, a personal history. My, I have two older brothers and both of them, uh, were boxers funny enough, maybe because they were Intuit.
[00:11:18] I never went into martial arts of boxing with anything young in life. I’m really regretting this. I got into fighting, you know, in my mid thirties. Right. Super late. But I remember, um, one of my brothers had trained for a year or two, and then he had signed up to have a real, to have a fight. And I was 13 at the time.
[00:11:39] Right. I didn’t know much about boxing. And I remember, I mean, the amount of anxiety I had. Every single day, the fears I w I remember being bad at night and trying to figure out what can I do to stop this from happening, right? No, no. I was like, how can I. To me emotionally, you know, I could not differentiate between like how safe or difficult is it?
[00:12:10] This is an exciting endeavor. It’s bad. What’s going to happen. There is a fight. This seems threatening. How do I make sure this doesn’t happen? And maybe also my brothers were bouncers in clubs. Oh, when I was like 12, there were a couple of times, like they were especially one of the one that had the fight.
[00:12:29] He would take me with him to clubs when I was really young. And there were one or two times where he got into very dangerous altercation with big groups of people. And where I had real fear for. Right. You know, my brother might get like stabbed right now. There’s people with knives, much more dangerous than a boxing match actually.
[00:12:47] But, but maybe that like imprinted on me. So I was sorry, I’m afraid of that. It was so afraid of that boxing fight. And then I remember he was training really hard and funny enough, you know, in hindsight, he, you know, uh, later he told me. He hated the preparation for the fights so much that, uh, and he peaked too early, pushed himself too early.
[00:13:08] And then it was like exhausted towards the end. And his opponent pulled out five days before the fight. Wow. And they couldn’t find a replacement. And my brother was basically like, all right, well, I’m, I’m, I’m going to revisit this next year. I’m not doing a fight, you know, in the next couple of months he never fought.
[00:13:25] Right. That was it. That was it. I, the amount of relief I had, I was so grateful for the guy pulling out, you know, and that was a very stressful, like, I don’t know what it was like a two month period where it was just stress out of my mind for my brother. And then later I remember talking to a friend once I got into boxing and we tie in and that was like, now I think back.
[00:13:49] And I’m like, Why didn’t have the fight. It would have been so amazing. Now it would have been excited for him. And the difference perspective makes right when you, when you train or when you study and when you get knowledgeable about the sport, you see the art, you see the skill, you can also assess. Yes, it can be dangerous, but you can give a better sense for it.
[00:14:07] Right? It’s not life or death. So when you and I, when we watch fighting, we see beauty, we see art, we see human potential manifests. We see people engaging in something that’s so difficult to do, incredibly difficult. So we have admiration. We see the technical aspect, right. The skill. But when my mom sees fighting or most of the people, I know my friends, all they see is brutality.
[00:14:33] Right violence. Yes. And so I’m curious about that first fight, both from Sylvie’s perspective, was he just excited? How w how were her nerves were their fears, but also from your perspective, you’re a husband, your boyfriend at the time? I don’t know. Like, how were you guys never affected by any kind of fear where you just adventure?
[00:14:53] Yay. Or did you have any kind of never. And then, um, it was, it is weird that you ask this. It actually a first fight was in United States. Sylvia had been training with master K was like a 72 three-year old time man, who was old-fashioned and traditional. So she never was in a class of my time. She just trained with him individually.
[00:15:14] So he never sparred with her and he never clenched with her. So she had all this kind of pod work and like knowledge, but she had no sparring. Knowledge. And we finally like went to New York city and hotter spar, like twice before this fight, which was down in West Virginia in an amateur, uh, tournament.
[00:15:36] That WK is, but honest to God, thinking back to that, driving down. And I was just thinking about it today because Michael Jackson died on our way down. It was very memorable and it was like, uh, It is my memory of it is exactly like all our fights, like nothing has changed at all. The feeling is, is like, um, she’s, under-prepared on one level because she’s trying to reach for a certain excellence, even in her first fight, even in her last fight, which was for 267th fight more than any westerner.
[00:16:18] It ever in Thailand, like by a multiple multitude, he still is reaching and has the same emotional motivations that she had in their very first fight that in that fight, she is going to be reaching for something in her soul, in her heart that she’s trained for. And there’s. There is this weird thing that I just have a faith in her.
[00:16:43] She’s a very stubborn, tough person. And so if her skills can’t protect her, if something happens, she has a reserve that is very deep in her that will preserve her. And, uh, it’s exactly what I felt. In that first fight. And I feel it every single fight, it is unreal that nothing has changed after all these years in all these fights.
[00:17:10] And she’s taken a lot of physical pain and damage. She has had over 200 stitches to her face, which is incredible, uh, broken bones multiple times. Like, but it’s a belief I have in her resilience as a person. That the things that can wound her are not physical. They do not feel physical. So I don’t have that fear of, of, of her being damaged in a weird way.
[00:17:40] It’s more of like, I hope she performs to her expectation close enough that she doesn’t come out of the ring emotionally wounded or psychologically weighed down. And I think most of our. Struggles is more, you say mental it’s very much in the mental world of dealing with expectations and desires and then performance.
[00:18:03] Like the beautiful thing about fighting is you’re put you’re an artist put in, in a situation that not only is the canvas you’re painting on is fear, your own fear, all of the, like things that a human animal. Gets triggered. That’s your canvas. And then you have a will, who is trying to embarrass you or shame you opposite you.
[00:18:26] And that’s your art like what artists does that. It’s so incredible. And so that’s really every single fight. That’s the battle right there. Even to this day. It’s very cool that you asked that question about the first fight, because it was no different. That’s crazy. See this point points me to, I didn’t think that I would get to this question this quickly, but the way, the way you shine for Sylvie, the way you feel and think about like it, I just can’t.
[00:18:57] But address that, you know, like talk up a little bit about that. Listen, you guys are unusual people in an unusual world, right? Like you are standing out. You know, you’re the very interesting relationship from the outside, you know, watching you guys because. Sylvie is the fighter. He’s the center of attention when it comes to at least the journey of your lives for the past couple of years of like her journey to greatness to try to accomplish something that has never been accomplished before.
[00:19:31] Be the fighter with the most recorded fights in history, right? Female or male. That’s such a big mountain to climb that you both are like on this journey together. You as our husband are. Not her trainer. You’re not her coach. No, you’re not her manager, which would be all the available typical options for the husband that is involved in his wife’s fighting career.
[00:20:00] Right. That’s pretty much it, either these things, or you’re not involved at all other than coming to fights and being like, yeah, babe, go. But you. You know, I have a theory, but I’d love to hear your way of explaining it. What would you, how would you, how do you describe your role in that is very interesting.
[00:20:23] That was very interesting
[00:20:28] lately, lately, something we’ve talked about on an, just a very broad analogy is I. Imagine the road and she runs it. And, but what I use to imagine the road is I’m really good at understanding landscapes, whether they’re for her or what is possible. I think a lot about what is possible and I get intuitions about what is possible.
[00:20:56] So very much what I, um, Do is I kind of set the compass heading because taking as much as I can intuitively on what Sylvie wants, like it’s kind of interpreting her desires into actionables and then she just is an unbelievable driving force and we’re always, um, re. Calibrating about what’s possible or what you want or what not, and always temperature shake taking.
[00:21:32] But what it’s led to this weird combination between those is that Sylvia has just gone off the charts of what was possible for a female fighter or almost any fighter. Um, and honestly, at this point I feel like this all has been prelude, but I feel like I’m not answering your question. Almost because it’s too vast, but so maybe if you, like, if you, um, uh, refine it or cut an angle on it, uh, you don’t understand.
[00:22:04] I think that that’s, that’s actually a great, because to, to some degree, here’s how I see it to some degree, the way that it presents itself to me is that, you know, you guys are. An amazing team to a large degree because you’re, she’s very set in a role like she is the fighter. She’s the person try to the record breaker, the person that’s trying to accomplish a certain, very specific, very numeric, like very like specific goal and target.
[00:22:39] You are not fitting into a role right. In my mind. You know, w what I see is in terms of the things you do, just, you know, you take pictures of her, you, so you document the journey. You take pictures, you video her, hide your video, her training sessions, you help document and archive her history and her journey.
[00:23:02] You help manage. Um, you know, the storytelling aspect of blog on YouTube, like the, the kind of projects you guys do together, then you’re somebody that constantly thinks about her and constantly thinks about her fighting and constantly, you know, analyzes about what has just happened. And thinks about what could happen next and what could, what would be possible next?
[00:23:24] So you’re almost a personal philosopher and fighting therapist, you know, and, and brainstorm, buddy it’s weird is that she also is an incredibly reflective intellectual person. She has great depth. And when she does a blog or something and puts it up, I go watch it because I want to learn something like she’s thinking and seeing things that I can’t see.
[00:23:50] I guess when you’re talking to me, I guess an important part, part, two point put out there is that she is, to me heroic. I see her heroism more than she does. She is a grinder and very, very stubborn. She has her dreams, but she’s an incredibly harsh person to herself. Her critical voice is. Absolutely intense.
[00:24:18] So I kind of, what I do is I see her in this shining way. It’s her, I see her heroic possibilities. She’s kind of a pessimist and I’m the balancing optimist. And so I’m constantly trying to, every time she’s like, we’re locked in a room, I can’t get out and I’m like, we can put a window here. We can put a door here.
[00:24:42] And so a lot of what I do is carpentry. It’s just create avenues for which her to get out of her own pessimism. And so we kind of are balanced. Her pessimism also is a conservativeness that also balances my optimism. So we kind of compliment each other. It couldn’t just be like crazy optimism to make this happen.
[00:25:05] She would have to be quite stubborn and closely compressed. And so. Uh, a lot of what I do is that, and then another thing that I do that’s that we don’t really talk about, but sometimes counter to Sylvia.
[00:25:18] Even if they’re good people, they just have investments in life and the world. And in my tie that really are not about. Her benefit or maybe many other people’s benefits. And so a lot of what I do is I have a very good spidey sense about no, let’s not move in that direction, which is very difficult for a female fighter because female fighting is, has far fewer opportunities, especially.
[00:25:46] Uh, and then in Thailand you have a kind of like male. Uh, a gendered coded sense to opportunities. And so female fighter is very often to get aligned with forces that really eliminate, eliminate their opportunities without them even realizing they’re just aligning themselves, that people with people who will help them in the short-term.
[00:26:08] And so a lot of what I do is steering clear of big potholes. And then I just let Sylvia run, you know, Give her like a big field of green and run and it works pretty good. I mean, it’s still very stressful, you know, I’ll,

[00:26:29] I’ll say this, you guys are probably the most beautiful love story in fighting the dead that I’ve ever seen.
[00:26:36] And, and not in a, in the funny thing is not in a romantic kissy kissy thing, but in a. The amount of love and passion and dedication, and believe you have for her is definitely the wind to the big, beautiful Saley sales that she has as her potential. Any, I don’t even know the world does not even know what she has inside of her heart.
[00:27:03] She is a volcano of possibility and she is just. Even after 267 fights, she’s just now peeling off the top layers that have a freedom of expression. That is just, I, I usually not wrong. I have very good intuitions. What’s coming is if we can hold everything together and keep the opportunities right. Is going to be really unreal, like unreal.
[00:27:34] I honestly think she’s going to be the best female fighter. Whoever lived in any sport, if she has the opportunity for the next, uh, maybe eight to 10 years of fighting, I just feel I can see it. I can feel it. It’s a spiritual, the real thing. It’s not about skill talent. It’s just, uh, just this incredible powerhouse within her.
[00:27:58] And then all those, as you mentioned, the knowledge that she has of having trained with legends of the sport, just literally a hundred of them. Like no fighter ever has had that input from history. I just, it’s very exciting stuff. So I, you get me, if you get me on the Sylvie train. Wow. I am so excited by it.
[00:28:19] It is unreal. That’s amazing.

[00:28:22] Okay. So you, you touched on, uh, on something I wanted to explore, which is Sylvie’s internal harshness, right? And this is something. Where I relate to very deeply with Sylvia, you know, sorry to hear that, because that is a heavy burden. That is a heavy burden. It is a incredible gift and, and a, and a big burden, right?
[00:28:48] It is. I find that, I find that, um, a lot of the things that I’ve been able to accomplish in life and the reason why I’m able to be very valuable to a lot of people. Is because I’ve pushed myself so relentlessly my entire life forward. And with that comes a, a strength and an ability to carry responsibility or to burden things that helps the world and helps lots of people for.
[00:29:19] Your inner happiness. It is not necessarily like, you know, the, you know, the greatest path. It doesn’t lead to any kind of inner peace of happiness,
[00:29:32] which is part of my respect for her too. And my respect for you, if you carry that harshness of criticism towards yourself, it is, um, it is unending, relentless. And this is part of why. One thing that I do is you’re you talk about how in fighting, we don’t really focus too much on the physical thing. Like keep the hand up or do this thing because for a critical person like her and possibly you, if you concretize something too much, it is going to lock up.
[00:30:06] It is. It is counter productive. And Sylvia learned this herself. She’s spoken of it in fights. If she goes into a fight and she’s like, just do these three things, throw a jab move. I don’t know what the third one V she would do. None of them. And the more she tried to fix some concrete thing, the more she would lock up and it took her over a hundred fights to realize you cannot do that.
[00:30:31] And so, well, I have generally done is long wave. Long wave, uh, achievement. And that’s why we’re like a hundred fights, 200 fights screw trying to when some belts, somewhere that doesn’t really matter to anybody. What let’s try to do these very long wave runs to keep us out of these things that lock up when you get really critical of yourself.
[00:31:01] And we have a phrase that we use, like water over the stone. It just like. Don’t worry about how you performed it’s water over the stone water over the stone. So that’s why I’m like 267 fights. It’s just the beginning, as we are thinking in very long waves, because, but for that reason, because of the harshness of self-critique is just crushing I’ve, I’ve watched, Sylvie’s kind of earlier footage when she was training or fighting and more recently.
[00:31:33] And. In that kind of harsh, uh, back and forth context, you can sense a difference. She is a lot more real. She seems a lot more relaxed. She still seems very self-critical but less so, like there’s a bit of a, a more relaxed, um, energy to it. And in, in fighting and I learned this myself, like I had no, nothing about fighting.
[00:31:54] I’ve been training for a couple of years, but I’ve never. Fought really, but I’ve observed this yet. I’ve observed this myself where one of my biggest, one of the biggest things slowing down my development. Was the way, how much I was in my head and how much criticism was going on during training. Right.
[00:32:17] And also from day one, I can’t help it. I would compare my performance on day one with pro fighters that are like legends. And then I’d be like, well, I am just the worst person to ever do this. And here’s the. 300 things. I can point out that I did wrong. Yeah. And all that, all that that does, is it tenses you up?
[00:32:39] It overwhelms you and it’s close you down, right? 100%. And it took me many, many years, many years actually also took me in LSD experience. To be honest, I had to be on acid once, while watching fights and then get, get into like a flow of shadow boxing. Where I saw my body move freely, you know, without any self-criticism with any slowdown.
[00:33:05] And I was like, wow, I didn’t know that I can do, I can already do much more than I thought I can when I’m not tensing up so much when I’m not holding back so much. And that really changed. There was a before and after when you saw me inspiring before it was very tense herself in my head and afterwards.
[00:33:22] I was, I moved much more freely loosely. You would have the impression that I was comfortable and having fun versus before you’d had the impression that I’m really stressed out about the situation. And when I, when I, um, what I’m curious about is that journey. I mean, you’ve been kind of an influence influence of.
[00:33:43] Taking away, some of the dark clouds, you know, pointing in a very long-term direction, but where there may be inflection points, moments that clicked for Sylvia that you observed, where you saw before and after and said, Oh, this fight of this conversation, or this moment made her relax a little bit more.
[00:34:00] What were the, well, she talks about the biggest stone that just flipped things around where. And if you follow our content, you’ve probably heard her talk about it, but we had just moved to Pattaya after two years. And Chiang Mai Sylvia had already had like 75 or 80 fights, which already was just like an unheard of number.
[00:34:24] So when you fight so much, you should just supposed to be really good. It’s like all this self criticism, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she had just moved to patio with the new gym here and she fought a local star. Uh, Yod Cherry Sityodtong that y’all dong and she got destroyed and it was, um, embarrassing, like silly has great pride actually, which is actually part of some of her most difficult qualities is that pride can holder, um, Very harshly towards herself.
[00:35:00] So she actually, at that point had, I think it was three days later, which is very rare. Another fight scheduled against a Japanese world champions. Saya Ito in Bangkok on the biggest show of the year, and she had never been on such a show and she was basically, there’s nothing I can do physically. To change myself from that horrible, embarrassing fight with my new gym in my corner, the fighting of world champion, who everybody called the phenom on television.
[00:35:37] And she finally embraced mental training. And for the longest time, Eric, she knew mental training was what you needed to do, visualization and everything. And she just said, fuck it. I’m going to. Dive in. And for three days, I don’t think it was the, actually the mental training so much, but rather she let go.
[00:35:59] She was just like, I cannot control my performance. And she got a couple of really good tips, uh, breathing exercises, simple visualizations, and she won that next fight and it was a huge victory. And, um, that was, uh, a turning point was the first time that she felt, I think she would speak for herself, but I think she felt, wow.
[00:36:26] Maybe I am among one of the better fighters at my weight in the world, because she didn’t believe that at all at that point. And, uh, that was a huge point and other inflection points that was some years ago, that was many, many years ago. Maybe six years ago. And I’m trying to think of another inflection point.
[00:36:49] Like,
[00:36:53] I don’t know my mind is blanking on it because there’s so many bites, um, many, uh, uh, another, this is a separate one, but do you follow us? So you would know this, but when COVID hit, we were like, while there Sylvie’s famous for fighting more than anybody, she would fight more than 30 times a year and they weren’t going to be fights.
[00:37:14] And that’s when we made a decision that we’re going to just go to what we call Sylvie 3.0, which is a completely different fighter and take the next year. And maybe we’ll, she won’t fight at all. It’s not even been a year since that happened. And we made a D. A firm commitment to sparring a ton like Soviet always didn’t like spying.
[00:37:36] It made her feel bad and built a lot of negative thoughts about herself. Like you said, a lot of self criticism, but my theory was. And still is that the reason why she’s so tense and fighting beside the fact she’s much smaller than almost all of our opponents is she does not have the eyes to see what’s coming.
[00:37:58] And it’s like, if you’re walking in a room that’s dark and there’s furniture, you’re going to be tense. You’re going to bang your shin. Things are going to come where you don’t expect them. So we devoted this entire year. Two growing eyes, being able to see in the dark, under the theory that when you can see the organism is going to relax.
[00:38:20] And that’s what you’re seeing. When you say that there’s a difference and it’s still, we’re just in the beginning stages of that, but it’s made a huge difference because things slow down. The organism can perceive things, moving through space. You’re not being shocked and stunned by what just hit you. And it’s a very, very big part of that was a big turning point.
[00:38:41] That Sylvie just finally was like, I’ll give into this. And so she’s been sparring like an unbelievable amount, such a beautiful thing. I think, you know, and this is probably a metaphor for many areas in life, right. The eyes I can. So let’s say I learn more Thai. Right. I’ll learn to punch, uh, learn to kick.
[00:39:03] Right. Then I learned to block, right. So I can like defend myself and then maybe I learned to move, like, what’s the right way to move. I got these three things sort of, I know how to fight now. Right? I know. Throw kicks and punches and move a block. Something the big component that’s missing though. It’s kind of also a component where I can just do a pet session and now you have great eyes.
[00:39:26] Like now you, you have a set, like it doesn’t work that way is that if I, while you stand in front of me, cannot tell what you’re going to do. What kind of kick or punch you’re going to throw. Knowing how to block something isn’t helping because it makes it worse. It makes it worse because you can’t stop it.
[00:39:48] And also even knowing what to throw is not helping. When I don’t see the openings or don’t know how to create them. And so this is something I love, uh, Israel, as Sonia says, this MMA fighter who always says I don’t. Uh, hope and throw I aim and fire. Right? You see this, even with professional fighters, sometimes you can see the tents up and they throw a combo.
[00:40:13] They’re just like, they already knew what they’re going to do independently of what the opponent does. They’re just going to throw the combo and hope one of the four punches hits. Right. And, and then there’s fighters where you can see, they never do that. They always see the opening or created. And then when they throw them a much higher percentage of hitting or hurting, right.
[00:40:33] Or their, their punches lead to a, a path that they’re building up to. That then ends the fight, a wins them the fight versus I just throw every combo as its own unit. And I hope by the end, this sort of worked out into a victory, but it doesn’t build on top of each other. It doesn’t, and there’s no real path that I’m building that I’m working towards the huge difference between Western with, to be very broad Western concepts of fighting and tie concepts of fighting like, uh, as you.
[00:41:08] Mentioned, you mentioned strike blocked by the da, and then you learn how to move in Thailand. You learn how to move first that there there’s so little correction in Thailand. The reason is I believe is that when you correct somebody, you tense them. So the number one thing, and they learned to fight very early in life, six, eight, 10, 12 years old is movement and relaxation.
[00:41:38] They exact com mechanical proper action is not important. Because there you want to build from a, from a bedrock of relaxation and movement, which event, which actually leads to eyes. So you get your eyes and your balance and your footwork. Relaxed natural first, then you start building strikes and defenses on top in the West, we think very, very differently.
[00:42:08] A lot of it is because martial arts, we extract from other cultures like karate TaeKwonDo, Moya tie. Now not boxing boxing actually understands eyes quite, quite well, but we basically create mechanical things that we correct and correct, and correct. End up producing lots of memorized patterns and we don’t end up building eyes.
[00:42:32] And the one thing that ties have over any fighters that they face almost always is their eyes. They’re fighting. You can see this wins with samurai fighting, not bad fighters on tide fight. Heat, the lights are on for him and the lights are off for the other fighter and the other fighter could be a decent fighter.
[00:42:50] Yeah. I was just about to mention this. I loved the recent breakdown you guys had on the Metabones podcast about Sencha you set the thing, I’ve been thinking this for years, like watching him and thinking this is so cute. He starts off. And then if the opponent is sort of friendly, he gives him kisses and he’s like playing.
[00:43:12] And if they’ll point it pisses him off, he goes and destroys these people. And the main difference. This is a beautiful example for like eyes. Um, Is, I can see what you’re about to do. I can see your tendencies. And so I’m relaxed because I’m fighting in, you are in slow motion. Think about this. If you are in half the speed than a normal Schumann, how relaxed would fighting be.
[00:43:36] Right. I could see everything coming a mile away could get out of the way. And now I think for most people who don’t have eyes. Everything is three times the speed, right? Exactly. It’s not even normal. You’re in the ring and the adrenaline and everything makes everything so overwhelming. So now you’re fighting like a flash Gordon or something.
[00:43:56] So somebody that moves it, superhuman speeds. And all you can do is be a tennis ball and hope this is going to okay for you. Right. Exactly. Very much. So. And with Sanchez, who’s like a legend in with Ty and a very funny and interesting guy, but like somebody that now fights is an older fighter, but now fights kind of younger Western fighters that are not on his level.
[00:44:18] And he’s more like show fights, shorter, route mid three round fights or something like a shorter, shorter thing. You can see there’s nowhere better than that because you see people that are younger, stronger, more muscular and bigger than him. And what you see is you see him so relaxed and them so tense because he can see them move in slow motion.
[00:44:41] So there’s no reason why. Their muscles and their strength is irrelevant because they’ll never hit him with anything. That’s very true. Yeah. And you, you see that they’re, uh, uh, better than anywhere else. Like what big of a difference it makes to be able and what our eyes to a big degrees being relaxed enough to be able to focus on perceiving the other person and not being.
[00:45:06] So much in your internal fear, adrenaline that you’re in your own mind. And so you can perceive less, right. Of what’s really going on. It’s not only that it’s the exposure to patterns that allows you to recognize how that pattern is going to unfold before it even unfolds. So we trained with Carra hot, who kind of was Sanchez before Sanchis to me, the most artful fighter ever in Thailand.
[00:45:33] And he started talking to her about like, as soon as you see the weight shift onto the front foot. You already know, half the body is no longer going to act. This is not a calculus. This is just a feeling you’re like, I’m safe on this side. As soon as there’s a shift of weight that comes from just seeing, it’s like when you know a language and someone starts talking in a certain way, you already kind of know what they’re going to say.
[00:45:56] You can almost finish their sentences. So it it’s a familiarity with the body fighting in space also. Um, isn’t. It is, there is nothing more important than that actually, but it’s hard to grow, especially when you start later. Yeah, I think you don’t like as children, obviously we learn much faster, much more intuitively uh, also much more relaxed, right?
[00:46:21] Children are much less inhibited by ego by having an identity by worrying about the future or about the past. They’re much more present in their, the way they experience life. So they’re great learning machines, right? Um, And then later in life, I think there’s not, there’s also not a clear path on how to learn this.
[00:46:40] There’s not a one, two, three step, you know, there’s things you can do, but, um, but you don’t know how long it’s gonna take for you to start getting there, to grow that, that part of it. I want to touch on one more or thing that I’ve been curious about as I’ve been listening in and studying with you guys and watching your journey, which is.
[00:47:02] The thing I love about you guys, the, the most, uh, one of the things that I really love about you is that you’re so self-reflecting, and that you’re so philosophical and that you’re analyzing things. You’re also always experimenting. There’s always something, a new diet and new regimen, a change of camps, a change of routines, uh, you know, a new theme like you guys are constantly like constantly chipping away at this.
[00:47:29] Piece of art of Sylvie’s career. And Sylvia’s a fighter that you like that you’re trying to get to sometimes though, I wonder like th there have been moments, honestly, when I listened to the most high bond, uh, bones podcast, and you’ve been analyzing a training session or a fight or something, and I’ve been thinking, wow, I feel overwhelmed at this point in the sense of, is it ever too much?
[00:47:53] Do you guys ever feel like you have now, like thought your way to too many things and like, is there any, do you guys have any routine to have periods of time where there’s no talk about it or there’s no analysis or there’s no philosophize and it’s just like, we’re going to do a bunch of fights, but for a little while, we’re just going to chill and talk about movies or something else.
[00:48:15] We’re not going to. We’re not going to keep looking at the problem because sometimes this looking away from the problem and taking a break then gives you the fresh eyes at looking at it again. It’s seeing it differently. How do you, is that just an external perception? Sometimes I wonder if, I mean, the podcast is about fighting, so it’s like a hundred percent fight oriented, I guess for me, I can talk about it from my end.
[00:48:45] I’m not thinking about fighting, uh, or Sylvia’s fighting. I am finding, uh, flows to her freedom as a person is if she didn’t value fighting or wanting to be excellent in fighting, then her freedom would flow in a different direction. So I’m actually thinking about this stuff. All the time as a function of my love for her, I keep seeing her getting caught and trapped by either opportunities in the world or her own little trap she sets for herself.
[00:49:19] And so I’m constantly thinking about avenues of freedom for her as a person. But I don’t mention like 99 out of a hundred of them, what I’m also doing is I’m always feeling like where’s her threshold. Like, if you open up a new Avenue, that can be a detriment if there’s too many avenues. So I’m constantly trying to sense when are things too much?
[00:49:48] And the thing is what Sylvia is attempting to do is so hard core that you kind of are riding a line all the time. And it’s really important to keep that line at the right side of it because the other side is really bad. And so she is doing things that are just like unheard of the training. She goes through the self excavation.
[00:50:15] She goes through like, that’s something that we share a little bit of, but you guys really don’t see a lot of what that is. And. So we’re, it’s always a balancing act. It seems like fighting as our lives, but it really isn’t fighting. It’s like, what does fighting express like fighting is expressing something very beautiful, very poetic, very spiritual, really?
[00:50:42] And that just happens to be the pen that she’s holding. But yeah, we are trying to chill down all the time, like watch movies together and, uh, watching movies together is actually what kinda like bonded us originally, but still we’re both very active, fertile minds. So even in a film, we, it goes to an inspiration of some kind of thing, but I, I do not want to understate how hard, like.
[00:51:12] How dangerous it really is to walk this line. This is not a, I don’t know how to say it. Other than that, like we are concern for sure is a concern. It’s always a concern for us, but Sylvia is not the kind of person that she can just go to the Mt. Lives for three weeks. Part of what she does in her fighting in her training is she has a fucking engine of a heart and she has to run it.
[00:51:42] To balance herself, like otherwise that self critical dimension that you talk about it will latch on without there will be no nothing to exhaust her or motivate her. It’ll just turn on her and be incredibly harsh, but we’re still learning this. Like, we’re always trying to find that sweet spot. We’re always trying to find it.
[00:52:11] Dude, Kevin, this is so beautiful. I actually thought, um, in this conversation today, like I did not know what I expected, but like, in some way I expected, I think mental stimulation, but you know what it’s been from the beginning till the end, it’s been like hard stimulation, just like, like I have felt. Your love for her so intensely in every minute of this conversation, because it’s such a fucking beautiful thing.
[00:52:42] So intense, like incredible, like your love for her shine. So bright. I mean, I wish see the one thing that we can’t really share because it’s impossible to share other than the sum of our life and everything is. The weight she carries is very heavy. Like, like for instance, she’s an incredibly shy person who has become the most documented fighter in the history of the world.
[00:53:10] Flogging talking, writing. This is a person that is shy every time she turns that camera in on herself. It is there’s a price paid, honestly, that she has to then. Um, payback in some way to herself. And she had her doing all this. I get to see, I know there’s a price paid other people turn on the camera, the YouTube.
[00:53:36] And they’re like, Oh, what an interesting, intelligent, sweet girl fighter. Like, but the price she pays is quite high. And so that’s part of my passion and my love for her is I see her paying that price. I love it. You know, the, the, I think it’s easy to listen to you. Talk about your wife, talk about Sylvie.
[00:54:02] Um, watch you be a supporter in her life and get away with a feeling that kids are, uh, feeling. I had a thought that bubbled up why you were speaking in this conversation, which was. I wish I can find somebody who will love me this much, but then, then my next thought, I thought, if, if fighters watch this video, they’re all going to go.
[00:54:26] Where could I get myself a Kevin? Like, why did, why is my partner? No, not this, you know, this surrendered in their love for me. But then, then my next question, which is, you know, a more challenging question, but a more beautiful one maybe was the, well, wait a second. How could I love somebody this way? Right?
[00:54:49] How could I like C and I, and Sylvie is a unique person, right? He’s an, she’s an exceptional person, but I think my, what I suspend. So are you, and I think. Part of why Sylvie and you get to live, you know, or get to manifest a lot of the ways that your lives. Can be, or could be exceptional is because of the seeing in each other, the potential and believing in it and helping and pushing and living it through and making it happen versus, you know, being with somebody that might not see it, you know, could have crafted a totally different path.
[00:55:39] Right. Um, and. Yeah. I mean, Kevin it’s. So like, this is a very inspiring in very, in a very different way, but very beautiful way inspiring Jesus. Um, I don’t know what it is about her that, uh, I had other relationships before in my life, which always had a good component of self-interest, which feels healthy and human.
[00:56:04] And for some reason there’s something about her. The quality of the person or whatever it was that might sell. And the timing of my life, the self-interest that was normally healthily, they’re just kind of melted away in a weird way. It was just like, it’s strange because I had, no, it was no choice. I made, it was more the effect she had on me.
[00:56:31] And it’s just kind of like, it’s honestly kind of reminds me a little bit of like what people, when they get older in life after fighting for so many things, they are just like, none of those things matter. The thing that matters is whatever this is. It’s like, we’re all going to be impermanent. And there’s this, that feeling here is that somehow.
[00:56:58] She, she, my self-interest just kind of melted in a very weird way, um, in a very satisfying way though. Amazing. Amazing. I’m telling you this is, I don’t know how it, I mean, I, you can tell, you know, that you can suspect what it means to you guys, but from an external perspective, this, um, This is not, this is something quite rare, I think.
[00:57:27] Um, and so could be, yeah, I mean, I, all I feel is like, I wish I wish somebody was talking maybe podcast her because she’ll flush it out much better than me, but I’m very happy for the opportunity to like, give my share because then I’m more tied bones. I can’t really say it this way because I’m in, I’m in an interaction with her.
[00:57:51] But you pick up pieces of it. So that’s actually very cool. I’m so happy with this conversation. I was so happy for like create giving oxygen to. This passion that you have for, and showing that, I mean, it always shines through, this is not like a total surprise. You don’t come across differently in other formats.
[00:58:11] But, um, I dunno, like, I think I’ve never felt this as intense and I’ve never been as inspired and I’m like, I’m inspired about the love. That’s all it has the fertile ground that it has. And able to grow for so many things to grow because of it. That’s so fucking amazing and inspiring. It’s incredible.
[00:58:31] That makes me very happy. That’s kind of what it’s all about. So, um, that’s what the fighting is about in a weirdest way. It’s just, yeah. Thank you, Sally. Thank you, Kevin dude, this is a, this was so good. As I said, not, I didn’t know what would come out of it. I’m my heart is so full with love now. Like I’m so beaming from this conversation.
[00:58:55] It’s really, really awesome. So beautiful to see that, you know, see both of you, but also, you know, I wanted to talk to you first. Um, Because, you know, you are playing more in the shadows of, of Sylvie. Um, but you have, uh, you know, you have such incredible depth and we’ve also established a relationship more, uh, by emailing and brainstorming ideas and doing things.
[00:59:22] So it felt like, um, it’d be, I was just. Interested in talking to you more. Um, I’m interested in talking to Sylvia as well and talking to both of you, but, uh, but I did not know, uh, why and what would come out of the first conversation. I’m very happy. I’m very happy. What we captured.
[00:59:40]Kevin is always, it’s been an honor and a pleasure, as I said, much love to you and Sylvie and I’ll reach out and we’ll have a conversation hopefully soon until then over the guys stay safe and happy and healthy and, uh, keep training, learning.
[00:59:56] Okay. We’ll talk soon.

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