An interesting article about the lives and motivations of Thai boxers. When you get right down to it, a lot of it is the same motivation that drives inner city youths into boxing gym. The dream of being famous. The desire to escape a life of poverty. A belief that the ring is the only way out.
It's a very, very, far cry from the mindset that brings most Americans into a Muay Thai gym. These kids aren't in the gym because they wanted "a fun way to lose weight", or "a challenge". Not that those motivations are bad, but they just create a different mindset. There is a knowledge that you can quit. An ability to walk away that isn't present for many of these young fighters. Even the most passionate American student usually has another option. Another job they could be doing. Another workout they could be trying.
For these kids, there really is nothing else.
I remember Kru Eric telling me a story, years ago, about how a young fighter at Sitydotong in Thailand asked him why he was at the camp. Eric explained that he was there to learn, because he loved Muay Thai so much. The kid apparently looked back in shock and said "Really? I hate Muay Thai...I'd quit if I could."
Many Americans (myself included) are impressed and often astounded by how hard these fighters can push themselves, but we rarely stop to think about why they push themselves that way. How hard would you fight, if you knew that your livelihood depended on it? What would you endure to keep food on your plate? On your families plate? If you knew that there was no other way out but success in fighting, how would you train?
I'm not suggesting that everyone can or should train that way, but it's worth thinking about.