Cikgu Kacak: You lineage is impeccable in Muay Thai. Can you tell us a little about your background in Muay Thai?
Somwang Sinuan: In my lifetime I have had 3 important teachers in Muay Thai. My first teacher was Haji Hashim from Sorkhoson Camp. He taught me how to punch because his left punch was very heavy. When we sparred and he hit me it hurt, so I learned how to protect from his punch or any heavy punch. My second teacher was Kru Suwanee of the Starlight Camp. He taught me how to kick. My third teacher was Kru Worawoot from the Pandencho Camp. Kru Worawoot taught me the elbow and knee. My teachers were all good teachers and they never taught bad people. Kru Worawoot taught me to make sure I also teach good people. I now check all of my students before I give them important knowledge.
Cikgu Kacak: Who do you think has the best fighters other than the Thai’s and why?
Somwang Sinuan: In my opinion, no one right now. Now Muay Thai fighting looks like handicapped Muay Thai. I do not think who is the best Muay Thai boxers now. When I compare today to 10 or 20 years ago, the athletes of old are better then than now. Camp owners nowadays do not know as much about the tactics and techniques of Muay Thai like in the old days. The owners of camps now know more about business. When business and gambling came to the forefront, to me real Muay Thai was gone. I feel new promoters do not think about building new good names in Muay Thai or how to make the boxers better. I feel they only think about how to make more money. This is the reason some boxers who have been retired for several years are brought back to fight again because promoters can not find good fighters. I also think right now it is difficult to find good boxers (from Thailand) who weigh more than 60 kilograms.
Cikgu Kacak: Has anything else affected Muay Thai negatively in Thailand?
Somwang Sinuan: A problem is that there is now a new ‘Muay Thai Law’ in my country. The owners of camps now have rules and regulations as to what is needed in each camp. For example in the old days of the ‘real’ camps, a tree with a bag hanging on it was good enough. Nowadays, an owner of a new camp does not allow owners of the camp to teach the athletes. You now must have trainers who have ID cards from the government. Older established camps still have owners who still teach, but this is no longer allowed in new camps. Boxers now make more money but the camp does not make as money as before. For example, with Muay Thai Law, if boxers fight for less than 5,000 Baht, the camp gets nothing from the match. There is a limit that boxers must get paid before the purse is split 50/50. This is no longer fair for the camps.
Cikgu Kacak: Have you seen a loss of tradition in Muay Thai over the years? If so, how do you feel about this?
Somwang Sinuan: I feel bad. I hope they will make it look like Muay Thai from 50 years ago. I want to look at real Muay Thai coming back again before I die.
Cikgu Kacak: How has this affected Muay Thai?
Somwang Sinuan: Now there are many older people (50 years old and up) who know real Muay Thai, but they do not want to join with the Muay Thai society because they think that this is not good. This is because gambling has come to the forefront of the sport and has affected the art. Gambling is controlled by other people (bad people) and this is not good for Muay Thai. I think it has turned many old masters away from the art and sport of Muay Thai.
Cikgu Kacak: Why are you not referred to as a Grand Master?
Somwang Sinuan: I think my teacher was a lot better than I. I can not upgrade my name to look like my teacher. For me I think being a small teacher is better for me. I know how I can teach and change boxers styles for fighting successfully in Muay Thai. I prefer to keep a smaller or low profile. I have never thought that I am better than my teacher.
Cikgu Kacak: As Muay Thai has become more global, there has been an introduction of many new teacher titles. How do you feel about this?
Somwang Sinuan: Normally to become a Grand Master, the title is given to you after you die. If you want to make money, all right, you can put yourself to be a Grand Master. If you think you will sell Muay Thai for a business, than you can call yourself a Grand Master. For me, no.
Cikgu Kacak: What technique or weapon were you known for or what was your favorite technique?
Somwang Sinuan: I liked to use the elbow (which is indicative to southern Thailand boxers).
Cikgu Kacak: What do you hope for the future of Muay Thai?
Somwang Sinuan: I'm not sure how many years it will take but I would like to see Muay Thai competition in the Olympic Games. But before that I would like to see outside countries both practising and understanding Muay Thai, as it was supposed to be practised and understood.
Cikgu Kacak: How do you feel about some promoters bringing back older boxers to fight?
Somwang Sinuan: There are not enough good boxers who are heavier in weight. This is why I believe old boxers are brought back to fight again. I do not think this is a good idea because when these boxers lose, Thailand loses credit.
Cikgu Kacak: Muay Thai goes in cycles, up and down in popularity and skill; where do you think Muay Thai stands as of today in Thailand?
Somwang Sinuan: Most of the good camps have closed now. Before Thailand had Charoenmuang, Ketsongkram, Chua Chaiya, Muangsurin, and Yontarakit Camps. They all had to close because they did not have money to run their camps. The problem is a lot of these camps knew how to teach and train Muay Thai but they did not know enough about business. If you do not have money now, you can not run your camp, only rich men and millionaires can. Many years before Muay Thai did not have as many camps. For example 30 years ago there were only about 30 camps in Bangkok. There were also not a lot of promoters. At that time promoters also had camps too and they promoted other camps too. Nowadays, we have lots of promoters but some only promotes camps under their control. If other camps do not have the back up of promoters, boxers can not go to the ring because nobody promotes them.
Cikgu Kacak: What do you think about all the different sanctioning bodies worldwide? Is there any sanctioning body you favor over the others? And if so, why?
Somwang Sinuan: I do not want to talk about organizations. I think many have their own reasons for having their sanctioning bodies. Muay Thai is important for me and that is all.