How children grow up with Muay Thai in Thailand
Many children who learn the sport Muay Thai in Thailand usually start very young. Many of it grows up in a Muay Thai fighter family. Thus, the toddler (4-5 years old) usually stay several times a week in the gym. So it usually doesn’t take long before she puts on the gloves for the first time and try the first rounds pad work with the father. From the age of six, the most children train daily and from there on, Muay Thai is part of their normal daily routine like playing with other children in the park. At the age of 8, many are already fighting full contact at smaller local events. From the age of 15 they can also take part in official Muay Thai events. It is the goal for every child (and parents) to attend major events as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for children as young as 15 to have over 100 full-contact fights on the combat-account. For many who did not grow up in Thailand, this is hard to imagine and many questions arise as to why the children are allowed to fight in full contact. Muay Thai has a very long (1921) tradition and the development of having children fight with protective gear is slow, but we hope to see such struggles in the next generation.
There are also further points. The children who fight at the local events receive a fee. The money is usually essential for families (gym’s) to survive for normal standard needs. That also sounds very special for non-Thai people. But one must not forget that Thailand is a developing country and there is no support from the Staad. Who has nothing, has nothing and is hungry. The second point, if you start Muay Thai at 15 or have little experience, there is almost no possibility to show off your skills in Bangkok at the Rajadamnern Muay Thai Stadium or Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. Most talents are then discovered and promoted there. Many are very well known even at a young age (16-18 years old) and shortly thereafter belong to the best fighters in Thailand. Those who then fail to make the leap to the elite or stagnate their success will usually only be able to fight at small events. But that is also not so uninteresting, and we will talk about it in a further part.
But how do boys train? Actually, quite simply … just like the adults!
So it is often the case that they are a bit over-trained and that they have enormous stamina at a very young age. We usually train 5 to 6 times a week twice a day for 2-3 hours.
The difficult part of the story is that in Thailand school start from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and there is no compulsory education. The school must be paid. Which is difficult to pay for a lot of Muay Thai families. So a lot of children grow up without school education and only with the Muay Thai. That is the reason that we have founded the «Punch it jung fighter foundation». There we will support young athletes between 15 and 18 years with an internal English school in the gym. The project is scheduled for 2021. In the next part 3 we will take a closer look at the training of the Muay Thai fighters and the daily routine.