INTERVIEW OF RACHID SANTAKI (Writer Novelist)
BY SERGE TREFEU (2011)
Serge TREFEU: Hello Rachid, at first thank you for having me grant this interview. You are an enthusiast of Thai Boxing, who attracted you in this sport and how you discovered him?
RACHID SANTAKI: Thanks to you! I discovered this sport in 1989, in 17 years, I had made three years of Boxing and this sport attracted me because we spoke about it a lot and I wanted to test. I began in Lumpini Gym in city of Saint Denis
Teenager you were rather a brawler at all?
No, I was always very quiet. I went to the boxing having liked very much the movie Bloodsport with Paco, a nak muay with a red pair of shorts. The way he moves, his style, I liked very much and I said myself I want to make this sport! (Laughter)
You grew in 93, in this region he has many gyms of thai boxing there, in what gym you began the muay thai?
I began the thai boxing in Lumpini gym. I am of the generation of Sora Yara, I knew Dany Bill by means of a buddy. The Thai boxing was very exposed and it was a popular sport. All the young people of popular districts waited for the meetings of Thai boxing…
You remember your first trainings?
Yes, my first training was hardcore. I arrived and the trainer after I warm up sent me to make some clinch with Jean Paul Anastase. He threw me during 45 minutes, I understood nothing, I stopped the training with the feeling have been dragged. At the end of the season, we made knocks for knocks, an excellent atmosphere of competition
In the gym there was what champions, what is that you knew them?
Sora, Latamen, Kasoum… We knew because we were all of city of Saint Denis and at the school together or we had buddies in common
You were in in several gyms?
I made Lumpini gym, that of Stains in 2003 (Nemrod Gym), And I belong at present to the Derek Gym with Léon who gives me a lot of taste…
You put gloves with champions?
I like putting gloves, later I trained from time to time with Gregory Choplin (World Champion), I have already put gloves with Cheick Kongo (UFC Fighter) but they are competitors and they are then sharpened to put gloves with champions does not mean that you can compete. They are friends and the stake of gloves and more a shape of division. I make of the boxing for the pleasure and the competition is not comparable. It is many constraints…
Had you the opportunity to make some competition, to fight on a boxing ring?
I made of the Boxing and fights in educational but I was hurt with the face and I have an unsticking of retina. I cannot thus make of competitions
What brings you the practice of Muay Thai?
Of the pleasure. I also passed on this sport when I was in Lumpini gym counterparts two years old to Saint Denis, it is a little my first experience of management in the sense where you work in a district where the sport is a support which allows you to establish a link and to help certain young people, and for the others to pass on the values of a sport. Today, it is the sport which makes me like very much and brings me of the material for my novels
You know great current champions or of time, what are the ones that you estimate?
I shall say that the first one is good on Danny Bill, because I know him and because he has this gift. There is my friend Gregory Choplin. Later I have no champions in particular, in the gym there are boxers whom I estimate and in fact I do not look at a boxer for his route but for his boxing. The names of time, of course Farid Keniche with the knees, I think and I shall quote you the Dutch as redoubtable Dekkers. I also remember Somsong, and this fight which had made sink some ink into the press, it had opened shins and that spattered on the boxing ring!
Of that think you of the current level in Thai boxing today?
The thai boxing evolved. Today thai gets in Boxing, and French are very technical, they have a very fluid, very technical style. After there is always this debate of the former which went to the coal and the young people who bet on the technique. I think that the boxing evolved and that every time has his thing
You often saw events of Thai boxing on Paris or somewhere else? What fights, that you saw live, have you make the most vibrated?
I saw many fights to Japy, Saint-Ouen, Saint-Denis, Bercy… I have no fight in head, those of Danny were crazy in his peak, at the end of the 90s. He had an insurance and an arrogance!
You were already in Thailand, tells we your stay in the country of the muay thai, you trained over there?
Yes! I liked very much, I left in tourist’s camp, that of Koh Samui the WMC to Lamai. Mohamed Bourkis returned there and I took a flight on a whim, I made that of the boxing during two weeks, I lived of muay thai and of fresh water (laughter)
What is that you had the opportunity to go to see fights in stadium of Bangkok?
I stayed one day in Bangkok, I visited the city in feet, I was not thus able to look of fights
You are a founder member of the urban magazine “5 Styles”, a magazine become a reference in the world hip-hop, this magazine on the urban cultures mixs sport, dance and music, several articles on Muay Thai moreover already went out inside, you can speak to us about this magazine?
Two cultures strengthened my life, the boxing and the hip-hop. I thus developed this magazine with the values of these cultures at the bottom and the shape. I grew with the magazines of boxing, and I wanted to make accessible this sport by advancing him in the magazine. We spoke about Joe Prestia, Danny Bill, Farid Villaume, Nikiema and I forget it. It was great that to pay tribute in this sport. The magazine was distributed free of charge in signs Fnac and Courir, I even put on the cover my friends Gregory Choplin and Cheick Kongo. It was to promote this sport and this magazine is the departure of everything for me. An experience as press boss, journalist and author. 5 Styles is the most enriching experience of my life!
The rap and the boxing are often very compatible, you know rappers who practise Muay Thai or who like this sport?
Yes, Booba he created Cheick in his clip. He also has a practice and pay tribute in this sport with quite a lot of reference to the muay thai. One of his friend Tigiani Biga had a practice in Nanterre at Kouider. There is also Rohff, who is more enticed by the free fight but who already put in the honor this sport which he practised. He knows well Stephane Nikiema and the other boxers. The muay thai is popular at the rapper…
In your first novel ” La Petite Cité Dans la Prairie (The Small City In The Meadow) “, you took slices of life where the muay thai appears, you were inspired of lived real?
Yes, I resumed what I lived. I have him to you say this sport it is more than a practice it is values which I saw completely and which brings you to the blooming…
Speak we of your novel ” Les Anges S’habillent En Caillera (The Angels get dressed Bad Boy) “, a whodunit which takes place in the streets of city of Saint-Denis, again the muay thai is present and you have disgraces magnificently the atmosphere of the world championship in the passage where the boxer “Jeremy” is going to compete for the title, it is also of the fictionalized lived?
Yes, “Jeremy” is inspired by Gregory Choplin. I saw quite a lot of fights, I also saw this sport, I know as well the preparation which the state of mind of a competitor and that interested me to make live a world championship with the references of the muay to my readers. For the anecdote, I had the return of readers who were moved by the passage with the boxer in changing rooms, his victory
In whodunits, the universe of the boxing is often present, you think that the literature and the boxing are bound?
One of the members of 813, a blog and a magazine on the whodunit asked me the question during the show of Montigny. For me the literature it is a competition. When I see an author, I want to make better that him, I want to blow him with knocks of knees, the fluidity. It is the same thing the literature and the muay thai, it is a competition and you have to be in sync with you, concentrate, know to be able to make beautiful things…
We speak about an adaptation to the screen of your novel, it is a beautiful gratitude, what you think of of it?
I have no recession on all this, and of what say the professionals of the edition I am in a bend which will be decisive thus the biggest remains to make. I effectively had more ease to reach certain things, the adaptation in pocket, contacts in the movie but it is as a young champion, most hard it is not to get the belt but to keep it. And I have to remain watchful to think of consequences and to continue to work. You see the boxing and the literature it is the same thing (laughter)
You would see who as actor in the role of the champion of boxing?
For the possible adaptation, I am an author and a director will be in charge of the casting, later I shall intervene can be but I remain in my place that of author. The only thing, it is because on the fight I have an eye because we have to respect this sport and try to retranscribe him in the closest to the reality…
A whodunit in the world of the muay thai, between Bangkok and Saint-Denis city for example, it would inspire you?
I have an idea. A cop who it full camp, exiled to kill his devils would mean settling his accounts by deciding to oppose to a big team of Drug traffickers. I have quite a lot of stories in the drawer and I move forward by stage but the muay thai will remain one of my inspirations, it is one of the reasons for which I continue to train in Derek Boxing Gym!
You have projects, new novel which trots you in the head?
My next novel ” Des Chiffres Et Des litres (Figures And liters) ” planned by February 21st is inspired by Gregory Choplin, it is the continuation of The Angels get dressed Bad Boy with a specificity it is to return the reader in 1998, in full world cup football, at the height of the French rap and the first fights muay thai of Jeremy…
You want to add anything?
I invite all the enthusiasts about Thai boxing in bookshop, in Fnac or at Virgin to discover my novels which perspire the muay thai and I thank you for this invitation! Long life to Siamfightmag.com!
Thank you very much for this interview and good luck for your projects
Rachid Santaki is an enthusiast of Muay Thai, so much that he stages with virtuoso this sport in his novels. This former sports teacher was elected in 2006 Prices ” Hope of the Economy ” by the Chamber of commerce and industry of Paris Seine-Saint-Denis, for the creation of the magazine 5Styles. Rachid is also a founder of “Syndikat”, a structure which he has set up and who aims at promoting the young talents.
His next novel ” Figures And liters ” still promises us of beautiful intrigue, the suspense, the emotion, on the background of music Hip-hop, of bad adventure in suburb, and Muay Thai…