Muay Thai is Now Just a Business

Posted by Tom on Mar 18, 2009 in News |

So I was reading the Bangkok Post today and low and behold I see an article about how Muay Thai is losing its ground spirit-wise. It talks about the Muay Thai camps just doing all they can in order to gain customers for their business.

Sure that happens, there’s a lot of camps and money-oriented owners that want to see their places flourish and expand. There’s also a few that are jumping on the MMA scene. Why is it such a big problem if they want to expand their reach?

I realize there are foreign nak muay’s that aren’t very accustomed to the Thai tradition of respecting elders and teachers of various art-forms, or worse, ones that know about it, but don’t bother to show their gratitude. But who are we kidding here? Muay Thai, to me, is based solely on the person that is training. If they want to do it the ‘correct way’ and follow the ancient procedures, then that is something that they can be proud of. If on the other hand, they neglect it but the trainer doesn’t care much, then let it be. It’s mutual.

We all have to earn money to live right? We all want a comfortable life right? Why not greet opportunity when it comes a-knocking?

Oh, talking about ‘commercialization’, if you haven’t seen Fairtex release their interview of Jack Osbourne:

What do you guys think about it?

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Apr 8, 2009 at 7:31 am

I trained at Fairtex for three weeks. I was told all about when Jack trained there. It may have been a set up for him winning. He also spent time in a detox program before he went into Muay Thai, and that helped him with his weight loss. Good for him though.

Apr 8, 2009 at 7:36 am

Haha. Fairtex. They do their best to be associated with as much famous names as possible. Judging from Jack’s fight video… I don’t think anyone can really lose to slow kicks like that.

Apr 8, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I think there’s a difference in talking about Muay Thai as a sport/business, and Muay Thai as an art form/tradition. It’s not necessary to pit one against the other, and like you said, it’s a choice for the guy training.

Apr 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Wong and Lin are basically going to take money and attention wherever they can get it. The MMA factor I don’t think bears much attention until the camps get known for it. At the moment training in a camp in Thailand is notable for their excellence in Muay Thai and not an awesome BJJ skill you can pick up there.

I think to an extent the criticism that Muay Thai is losing some spiritual ground and roots is valid. But as you said people need to pay bills and eat. It’s just a matter of maintaining a balance with your integrity in tact.

Apr 13, 2009 at 6:35 am

I think that people betting on Muay Thai fighters goes way back. Money makes the world go round. Since Muay Thai has gone International, more people want to come to Thailand to learn from the Thai people. At least I did. I never wanted to train to fight in the ring. I did it to learn the techniques and get in shape.

According to the article, that Tom posted in his article, the spiritual side is still being celebrated in Thailand.

Alex Tsui, a Muay Thai master from Hong Kong, said ‘Nai Khanomtom’ (Thai youth who beat the odds with his strong spirit and boxing skill), was a key symbol for everyone, not just Muay Thai fans. Although an underdog, he never gave up on life or fighting. This embodies the universal spirit.



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