“Kids are our future, not just in sport but in life.”
Youth development is a very important part of Muaythai as it is important to build good roads for our children to drive on tomorrow. Children live up to what we believe in which is mixing education, sport and cultural understanding together and that is the essence of Muaythai ideology…..
A number of initiatives have been held and many of you would remember the horrible Tsunami incident, where many kids have lost their loved ones, there belongings as well as their hope in life. It was then that Muaythai started the “Kids To Help Kids” campaign around the world to help create awareness and help their little brothers and sisters in Asia. The results were amazing with over 30 000 care packages donated to children around the world from Muaythai. This is the Spirit of Muaythai.
“Never look down on anybody, only if you are helping them back on their feet”. Giving back is an essential part of Muaythai, for example, with our Muaythai Against Drugs campaign, over 2000 Kids in Thailand alone, took part in this social campaign. Furthermore, we cannot forget events such as the one in Jamaica where celebrities from around the world came to give their support during a beautiful Muaythai event by donating a vast number of computers to the kids in need under the Sport Is Your Gang initiative which is an umbrella programme for all of IFMA’s social responsibilities. The programme was launched in cooperation with Peace & Sport under patronage of HRH Prince Albert II and was gradually implemented in countries around the world. This youth development programme is designed to help the young kids getting back on the right path in life, giving them a sense of belonging by applying our five pillars of Muaythai which are: Respect, Honour, Tradition, Fair Play and Excellency.
Muaythai is not all about the competition. The sport teaches the children important values such as, setting goals, knowing how to take criticism and risks, respecting their friends as much as their opponent, respecting cultural values and understanding, staying healthy, knowing how to deal with stress and most importantly knowing how to make friends.
Children are our most valuable resources and we must listen to the voices of these kids. Every year Muaythai organises a Youth Forum and we believe that we can also learn a lot from them.
Earlier this year, Sport Is Your Gang won the Spirit Of Sport Awards, given to us by SportAccord, honouring the success and the positive changes that this programme has brought to the different communities around the world.
Muaythai Youth World Championships will go on to their 12th year next year and IFMA and WMC would like to celebrate this magic number. So, let us continue to strive for excellence and cultural understanding in a world desperately in need for peace. And if you ever do attend the IFMA Youth world Championships, you will know that thanks to our kids, Muaythai is safe.