In this week's edition of First-Person Shooter, we handed off two cameras to Camille Britton, a New York City-based Muay Thai Fighter who's been competing in the city's amateur circuit since 2013. She trains up to six days a week, twice a day, to regularly kick-ass during her fights on the weekends.
Camille's Friday leading up to her eleventh official amateur fight at The Queen's Theatre at Flushing Meadow Park was extremely busy. She "made weight" at her gym, visited a Buddhist temple to ask for good luck during her fight from the resident monks, and fought someone over eight inches taller than her. She also talked to VICE about how she got introduced to the sport, and how she gets psyched up before a match by taking a nap.
What was your day like?
Camille Britton: Fight days are long days! I woke up at 9 AM thinking, It's fight day! I was nervo-cited (a mix of nervous and excited) because it was the morning and I wasn't fighting until 10 PM that night. I rolled out of bed, ate some breakfast, and headed to a Buddhist temple to pay respect and ask for good luck before heading to the gym for the pre-fight weigh-in. I am a Christian. However, with my gym I go to pay respect to where Muay Thai comes from. The monks are really nice people, and those who we can communicate with always remind us to keep our hands up when we fight. Then, my teammates and I drove over to the Queen's Theatre where I fought my bout. I then ended the night watching Game of Thrones with all my friends.
How long have you been practicing Muay Thai?
I've been practicing Muay Thai for a total of four years and competing for two and a half years now. I initially started kickboxing because I wanted to lose weight and be healthy. I met Justin Troy, who was a kickboxing instructor at the time, and I took private sessions with him for a bit. Then I learned he was a Muay Thai fighter. After Googling what Muay Thai was, I thought it was pretty cool. I followed him to Chok Sabai Gym in May of 2013 and the rest is history.
How do you get psyched up right before a fight?
I'm not sure what you mean by psyched. I don't listen to rap/rock music or anything like that. I actually like to nap, and if I do listen to anything, it's usually Gospel music because I want to feel completely relaxed and calm. There are moments where I will call my brother or my mom and they'll give me some encouraging words. I get the opposite of psyched, I guess.
Can you tell me more about the amateur fight night in Queens?
Weapons 9 Dead Serious Promotions presented The Warriors Cup 26 at the Queen's Theatre at Flushing Meadow Park on April 23. There were 15 fights, 30 fighters, and five title matches. My match was a full-rules title fight, meaning that elbows, knees, kicks, and punches were all included.
How do you "make weight"?
I eat healthy, eat clean. I stay away from fried foods, alcohol, and processed sugars. Making weight for me is never a painful process because at Chok we don't believe in depleting your body. Yes there is a dehydration process, but that's done usually the day before or the day of. My gym doesn't believe in cutting massive amounts of weight before a fight. Some gyms may, and to that I say to each his or her own.
Did you win your bout?
I fought a 5x2 (five rounds, two minutes each) and although I did not win, I couldn't have been happier with my performance! My opponent was eight and a half inches taller than me and had more experience. That being said, I went in there and performed like we were equal in height and experience. I implemented my game plan, and landed some great combinations and strikes. I was very relaxed in the ring, which was a first, and actually enjoyed my time in there. It was quite awesome! Losing always stings, but the outcome doesn't define you; I believe your performance does.
Ever have to use Muay Thai as a form of self defense?
Since learning my art, there has only been one instance where I had to defend myself against a drunk guy. It was over before it started. I struck him twice, and then ran off in the opposite direction. I called my boyfriend once I got home to process what had happened. There was no thinking in my actions; I just reacted. Hopefully he learned his lesson.
What do you like best about the sport?
I practice Muay Thai and I compete because I'm good at it. I love the challenge, and I truly appreciate the art. Muay Thai has become a part of my life and changed it for the better. I thank God daily for introducing me to Justin [Troy], who then introduced me to this awesome Muay Thai community.
Before [getting into Muay Thai], I wasn't in a great place mentally or physically. Now, I'm in the best shape of my life and I do things that inspire people. I met my partner, Joel De Jesus, who not only practices Muay Thai and is an amazing athlete, but also supports me and my goals as well. I know I can't compete forever, but I'll be tied to this until the very end, whether that means teaching or coaching. Muay Thai really is life. I'm blessed!