Sir Marek—EMC President

Sir Marek—EMC President

Image result for Marek JanecekDon Heatrick with Sir Marek Janecek

By Don Heatrick

During the European Amateur Muay Thai Championships in Vigo City, Spain, I had the pleasure of meeting the President of the European Muay Thai Confederation, Sir Marek Attila Janecek. I had the chance to talk with him, and here is some of what we we discussed.

Kru Don: How did you first get started in Muay Thai?

Sir Marek: I started in 1982. Back then I was in Cambodia—and I was a small guy! My parent s moved to Cambodia, and I was there for three years with them. While there, my brother and I learned Khmer boxing. We tried Thai boxing when we were in Thailand. At that time we spent three years in South East Asia. After this I came back (to the Czech Republic) and finished my university studies and made some business. In 1993 I created the first Professional Muay Thai promotion in the Czech Republic.

Kru Don: Had you done any other martial arts before Thai boxing?

Sir Marek: Yes, Judo from 8-years-old. And when I was in Cambodia I also studied Hapkido. But my teacher was a very patient person! Every other training session there was bloodies!

Kru Don: But you found Muay Thai suited you best?

Sir Marek: Yes. In my home town (in the Czech Republic) it was necessary to do something, because there were many gypsies to fight for lunch… [laughing] … I was kidding! But it was good to do something. My father advised we do something, and by then he was National representative for Judo in Czech. I was born in 1972, and in 1973 my Dad was Czech Judo Champion.

Kru Don: So there’s a family history of fighters?

Sir Marek: Yes, it’s a joke in my family that everybody fights. My Grandfather, his father and his Grandfather were all fighters. My Great Grandfather in the 17th Century was the Chief of Army who punished the Turkish Army in Europe.

Kru Don: There’s a real history then. Did you ever compete?

Sir Marek: In Judo, at one time I competed every month in a different city. It was very nice. When I was in Cambodia there wasn’t much opportunity to compete. Just some friends from the Russian Embassy were there with me. But I could not fight other people, because every time there was diplomatic problems. Many times my Mum would complain to the Prime Minister because the guys from security would train me. It was very funny because every time we trained, we’d do just one technique and we had 1-hour to learn that technique.

Kru Don: When did you become the President of the European Muay Thai Confederation (EMC)?

Sir Marek: In 2004 the EMC was set up in the Czech Republic. In 2005, in Bangkok, I was appointed President of the EMC.

Kru Don: Were the European Championships going ahead before the EMC was formed?

Sir Marek: Yes, the first European Championships were held in Califel, Spain in 2003. Then Pathos (Cyprus) in 2004, Portugal in 2005, Czech Republic in 2006, and Vigo (Spain) in 2007. It was a requirement of the World body (WMF) that every zone had its established unit. For example, Asia has its own body. European and Asian zones formed about the same time in Bangkok. All representatives where examined and elected to their positions via a World Congress.

Kru Don: Do these operating bodies serve to groom fighters in preparation for the World Championships?

Sir Marek: No, the operating bodies control the countries applying for the World Championships through their own zone. For example, let’s say Bosnia wants to join the next championships; they have to go through the EMC because they are part of the European Confederation. They’d be checked to ensure they are not just one club, and that they’re in fact a federation organisation. Once accepted, the EMC they would then nominate them to the World Federation (WMF) as a country that would attend the next World Championships. It’s a structure within a structure, to prevent a country showing up at the championships and it’s just one person from one gym. Each country’s federation has to go to Thailand to obtain the official stamp. Then they can go back to their own country and approach the government, saying I’m an official member of this World Organisation, can I have money!

Kru Don: Do all the organisations use the WMF set of rules?

Sir Marek: They use the same statutes. For the championships they use the WMF rules. But maybe in their own country they have their own set of rules. In England for example, weight categories are different. There’s a junior weight categories from 18kg upward. At the World Championships the minimum weight is 35kg.

Kru Don: As well as amateur Muay Thai, are you involved with professional rules Muay Thai?

Image result for Sir Marek Janecek with Songchai RatanasubanSir Marek Janecek with Songchai Ratanasuban

Sir Marek: Sure, I promote Pro fights every month in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and with Songchai in Thailand as well.

Kru Don: How do you rate the two routes for fighters, both amateur and professional rules. Do you see the progress of novice fighters as comparable?

Sir Marek: I can say there are many differences. In the Czech Republic we strictly separate amateur and professional. There are occasions when a professional fighter will also fight on the amateur circuit. Or mostly amateurs will also fight on the Pro circuit, just for money.

For a professional I use a system A, B and C, to help with the match making, but that’s just for internal records. International records show purely top ranked fighters. What is hard for me is that some fighters have an amateur ranking number and a professional ranking number. In the past I’ve said to everyone, that all can fight in the amateur system, and I accept they can fight in the professional system as well. But, if they hold a belt or professional title I won’t let them continue on the amateur circuit.

But what is funny, when I saw fights here (EMC European Championships, Vigo, Spain) I can say that mostly the fights from this amateur competition are better held than professional fights in other competitions in Europe. Sure I cannot compare to stadium fights or Lumpinee or Rajadamnern. But then we can see the promotion held here is very good.

Kru Don: The 2007 EMC Championships were conducted professionally with some help from the local promoter, despite the absence of the original Portuguese promoter.

Sir Marek: From this we’ve learned not to rely on the promoter. The promoter relies on the Federation.

Kru Don: It was interesting to hear that in one of the EMC meetings that Turkey will possibly host the next European Championships in October 2008.

p_marek3

Sir Marek Attila Janecek von Dudas

  • Czech Muaythai Federation (CMF), President
  • Czech Boxing Sport Committee, Vice Governor
  • European Muaythai Confederation (EMC), President
  • World Muaythai Federation (WMF), General Secretary, Honorary Executive Member, Personal Adviser to the President
  • S1 World Promotion, International Director

Other than your work with the EMC, I know that you are also involved with other projects, you mentioned www.knockout.eu or www.muaymag.com?

Sir Marek: It started when I wanted to collect some information about Muay Thai from Thailand, just for myself. I asked two people in Thailand to collect information and sent it to me every day. And finally I thought I should publish it. So every day there is 2, 3 articles from them in Thailand. Finally I don’t have time for it [laughing].

Kru Don: You said there were some live video feeds on the website as well. Is that fight footage or general Thai TV as well?

Sir Marek: There are different sections. There is a live TV section, I just use live streaming channel from Thai TV and other TV. Another section is the video portal where authorised users can upload their videos.

Kru Don: Thank you for taking the time for this interview Marek, and good luck with all your ventures.