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Matthew J. Webster – Writer

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Journalism is pain.

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kickedweb


A cordial kick to the head is nothing compared to what many journalists go through. Still, it is a reminder that my vocation is and always has been one of the worst jobs, especially when done well.

The “bitch dot” below the hairline (pictured above) was kicked into me by trainer and leg sparring partner Ryan White, a pro MMA brutalist with all the tools needed to batter myself and much stronger men into the hospital. If we hadn’t been wearing shin pads, he would have certainly opened me up for a blood offering to the spirit of the ring, which dictates the destiny of all Muay Thai warriors.

Ryan White (L) at Cage Fighting Xtreme 24 in Boston

Ryan White (L) at Cage Fighting Xtreme 24 in Boston


For the ding in question, Ryan used a technique he calls the Western High Question Mark Kick. He stepped 45 degrees to his right and threw a low lead kick that I blocked with my raised right shin, then he pulled back as if he was returning to stance. Then Ryan abruptly wrenched his left hip back toward me, and my forehead sang “SPLAT!” as he drilled it with the top of his foot.

The next time Ryan tries this I will employ the proper defense for a high kick and lean back. If I succeed, maybe I’ll attempt to subsequently pummel him with a right-hand counter. Or maybe not. My strategies are secret.

My Muay Thai activities are what journalism schools call “field work.” If you’re not feeling the pain, you’re probably not training hard enough to empathize with a competitive Muay Thai warrior.

But my focus is on unarmed combat. The best foreign correspondents have to report the more political, less honorable kind. My mentor Anthony Shadid died of an allergic attack while on assignment in Syria two years ago, and he’d also been shot through the shoulder covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was fearless. My sacrifices are a joke compared with his.

Anthony Shadid 1968-2012

Anthony Shadid 1968-2012

Written by webster71

April 25, 2014 at 15:24

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