This is an eye-opening documentary about a young Muay Thai fighter named Nat. The documentary follows Nat as he prepares for an upcoming fight, while also looking at the dark side of child fighting.
(I could not post the video directly in the article because embedding is disabled)
The journalist interviews a doctor who is researching the long-term effects of fighting on the brains of young fighters. Preliminary research showed a difference in the brains of young Thai fighters compared to their non-fighting peers, indicating irreversible head trauma. I recommend you watch the full documentary below:
The Harsh Reality
While I admire the technique and skill displayed by Thai boxers at an early age, I am not a fan of seeing young kids in the ring. Every time I see a young fighter get knocked out or injured, my heart wrenches. I always wondered what the long term effects could be on a growing brain. (This question is answered in the documentary)
The truth is many of these kids are forced to fight to provide financial support for their families. In Thai boxing camps Thai boys are not viewed as kids, they are income producing assets. If they fight and do well for the camp, they can end up fighting in Bangkok and have a chance at making money.
As much as I don’t like seeing child fighters, I know it is a practice that won’t go away for a long time. People in Thailand are used to seeing kids in the ring, so it isn’t something that will change anytime soon.
As long as there is poverty in Thailand, there will always be parents willing to send their kids off to Muay Thai camps. This is the reality of the world we live in.
(Thanks to Hannes for sending me the link)