Child Fighting In Thailand – (Guest Blogger: Tim Griddine)
Tim Griddine is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate in December of 2019 with a degree in Digital Media Production with a focus in audio. He currently works as an audio/video technician for the University of Central Missouri. He also enjoys recording and engineering music in his free time.
Muay Thai, also known as “the art of eight limbs,” is a several hundred-year-old form of kickboxing that works to utilize the entire body as a weapon. A wide variety of punches, elbow strikes, knees, kicks, and foot thrusts are used in each bout. Many are asking, should children be subjected to the bruises, kicks, and head punches that come with it? Photo by Gareth Harrison on Unsplash
In November of 2018, Anucha Tasako, a 13-year-old boy, steps into a ring to fight another boy for the equivalent of 60 U.S. dollars. In the video, Tasako is seen knocked to the ground multiple times before he is knocked out with a delayed stoppage by the referee. Two days later, Anucha died in a hospital due to a brain hemorrhage. Prior to his death, he had fought 174 bouts since the age of 8. Does this high number of fights sound bizarre? Well it’s actually quite normal. You see in Thailand, young fighters do not make much money, and they often must fight multiple times during a week, or even during a single day. As you can imagine, these numbers can quickly add up.
In Thailand, Muay Thai is the national sport. Children start training as early as 6 years old. according to an article on nytimes.com there are around 200,000 kids in Thailand under the age of 15 who compete regularly. For many, the sport is a ticket out of poverty, for others, it is a ticket to international fame. In Thailand, doctors have been saying for years that Muay Thai is dangerous for kids, but unfortunately people tend to ignore the specifics until something bad happens. Many local politicians and doctors have been pushing for new laws that protect kids from child fighting, yet fans disagree, and change remains slow. What will it take for new laws to be made that protect the young from fighting? What are your thoughts?