Photos by Lindsey Newhall
Rungkiat Eminent Air was the first Thai boxer I’d heard directly criticize world-famous fighter Saenchai’s cartwheel kick. “The way Saenchai does it is dangerous,” he said. The problem was that Saenchai puts his hand on the floor when he cartwheels his leg onto an opponent’s head.
I raised my eyebrows. How else can you cartwheel kick someone without putting your hands on the canvas?
“When I did something like that,” Rungkiat said, “I waited until the guy had a hold of my kick. Then I flung my other leg over to kick him in the head.” No hands involved.
It took me a minute to imagine what that would look like in a fight. I almost didn’t believe him. It sounded too video game to be real.
But it is real and he was serious and that’s why Rungkiat Eminent Air is a badass.
More specifically, Rungkiat is what you’d call a technique specialist in the art of maemai Muay Thai, classic techniques. Flying knees, which he learned from legendary fighter Jomhod Kiatadisak, are his calling card. It was his exquisitely timed flying knee that bagged him SMM-TV Muaythai Daily’s Knockout of the Year in 2013.
Rungkiat developed his style gradually, having started ….View original article