Thai Muay when directly translated to the English language becomes Thai Boxing. Also known as Muay Thai,
Thai Muay is a way of life for many young kids and teenagers in Thailand and is a way out of poverty for the fighter himself as well as his family. A Thai boxer will leave the home at an early age often due to the parents lack of money to take care of him.
For the next ten years a Thai Muay will fend for himself in view of hundreds of spectators, fighting for money, fighting for his life! The national sport in Thailand, Thai fighting has been around for many generations and is practiced by males and sometimes females too.
For thousands of Thai children, Thai Muay fighting continues to be the most common path out of the ghetto's and poor rural areas of Thailand.
A full contact fighting sport, this martial art will consume most of a Nak Muay's life. Fighting will be his life. Training is his life. A typical Thai fighter will spend 25hours a week or more perfecting his technique and doing several hundred sit ups a day in addition to running. If the young fighter is not in school it is likely he will spend 35 or more hours a week at the training camp. Often his first fight will be after only a few weeks into his new life as a fighter. He will need to toughen himself up quickly and Thai Muay trainers at the camp will make sure of it.
A professional Thai Muay camp has to get a young fighter settled as a boxer as soon as possible. It is important for the training camp to find out what the kid is made and he will be tested.
His first fights will be against other Thai Muay fighters similar in age with similar experience. However, in a short time the young pugilist will have to fight other boxers well beyond his level. At this point he will win fights or weed himself out of the camp. His fighting in the ring as well as training in the gym will determine if he is good for the stable. His fight purse will provide for him and a win means money for his family back home. If the young fighter does not have what it takes to be a skilled Nak Muay he will not be able to stay.
A Thai Muay camp depends on their stable of fighters like a race track depends on the horses.
From an American point of view, a parent who sends a child to an environment of full contact fighting would be charged with child abuse and perhaps convicted. Although many Thai fighters do not choose this life as their first choice, it is often the only choice available. As fighter, a child will be surrounded by Thai Muay brothers and other fighters at the camp that will help him adjust to his new home. The training camp is where he will live, eat, sleep and play. The young Nak Muay will be taken care of. Fighting will provide him an opportunity to attend school and perhaps become a world champion fighter or a trainer to the new generation of boxers.