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Fighting for Survival

Thailand's Kickboxing Controversy

Poverty+leads+some+young+boys%2C+like+these+fighters+in+Uttaradit%2C+Thailand%2C+to+participate+in+Muay+Thai%2C+December+23%2C+2006.
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Fighting for Survival

Poverty leads some young boys, like these fighters in Uttaradit, Thailand, to participate in Muay Thai, December 23, 2006.

Poverty leads some young boys, like these fighters in Uttaradit, Thailand, to participate in Muay Thai, December 23, 2006.

Love Krittaya, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Poverty leads some young boys, like these fighters in Uttaradit, Thailand, to participate in Muay Thai, December 23, 2006.

Love Krittaya, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Love Krittaya, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Poverty leads some young boys, like these fighters in Uttaradit, Thailand, to participate in Muay Thai, December 23, 2006.

Gregorio Baez, Contributor

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According to the Upfront Magazine “Fighting For Their Lives” written by Ben C. Solomon, as of 2014, 7.1 million poor people in Thailand were living in rural areas, causing the children to work in factories, on farms, in fisheries, or if they are really desperate, turn to Muay Thai, a fighting style, in order to literally and figuratively fight their way out of poverty. The controversy surrounding this predicament is that people are torn on whether kickboxing for money is just, or if it is child abuse.

 

The main reasons people think it is child abuse is because of the kids’ training schedules and the risk the kids are taking when they step foot into the ring. The children’s training schedule is very straining on their bodies, having to wake up at 4:30 AM to run six miles in the dark. After that they box from 5:30 to 7:00, then go to school until the afternoon, and then have another training session before the sun goes down.

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No one should be living in poverty having to use their kids as an income dispenser. ”

— Gregorio Baez

People are worried about the kids getting seriously hurt, or even killed as it has happened before. Anucha Tasako died of a brain hemorrhage after being knocked out in a Muay Thai fight at the age of 13. There is a very good chance of this happening again because not all of the children are at the same fighting level as everyone else. The two children could be against each other and one could be very experienced, while the other could be new to the sport and get very injured or even killed because they would be oblivious to what is going on while they fight.

Perhaps if they decided to use head guards and gum shields it would increase the safety of the sport ten fold. But at the same time, the times they have to wake up to train and then right after that go to school with no breaks in between is too much.

Should children be allowed to fight as a form of income?

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Fighting is dangerous. “It’s child labor and child abuse”, says Dr. Jiraporn Laothamatas, a neuroradiologist. She also did a study on the effects on a kid’s brain if they participate in Muay Thai at such a young age and found that it can lower their IQ and brain function. Yet, “These kids earn,” Jiroporn said. “They feed their families and their promoters with their winning.” But she added, “We are destroying our children for sport.”

These children are already in poverty, which is hard enough without the added on factor of having to fight and breakdown their bodies just to eat for that day. People look at this and say it is okay and that the children need to do what they need to do to survive. They should not have to do this to survive. No one should be living in poverty having to use their kids as an income dispenser. But I guess that is what poverty does to people’s ethics. It causes them to do whatever it takes to survive. Allowing their children to do this for money is not okay. What do you think?

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1 Comment

One Response to “Fighting for Survival”

  1. Kim M Guiliani on May 1st, 2019 5:12 PM

    This is very disturbing. Children should be out playing and going to school and making friends.

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