IFMA’s latest campaign, in conjunction with the Peace and Sport Organisation, is called “Sport Is Your Gang.”
“Sport Is Your Gang” targets youths from challenging backgrounds, encouraging them to take up Muaythai training and, through their participation in training and dialogue programs, to be inspired for positive self-development and a healthy lifestyle. Rather than belonging to a gang or participating in a violent lifestyle, the spirit of the project is that sport can become a family, a team and a community.
Within communities facing economic hardship, high unemployment rates, with large new immigrant populations, or in very urban environments, youth can find themselves feeling lonely, alienated, victims of crime or bullying, and simply bored. Without obvious opportunities for self-advancement, they may also be drawn into gangs or behaviour which is damaging to themselves and their local communities.
IFMA believes in the potential of sport, and Muaythai, in providing an alternative focus, and therefore a path away from such destructive activities. Training together gives youth the opportunity to build a healthy lifestyle, learn skills and self-defense techniques, gain self-respect and self-esteem, and importantly find a safe and trustworthy environment, building links with their peers and belonging to a community.
IFMA recognises that the youth generation is society’s most important asset for the future. The National Federations can use their best assets: their Muaythai champions, to speak and reach out to youth who find themselves on the wrong path in life.
There is an important role for the current and upcoming champions, trainers and general participants of Muaythai in helping to make our world a better place.
IFMA would like to highlight Sweden’s Frysbox project, founded in 2007 by two Swedish Muaythai champions, which successfully uses a Muaythai training and dialogue program in cooperation with the Fryshuset organisation, and which has agreed to be a guide for National Federations seeking practical help in building their own local “Sport Is Your Gang” projects.
This project has the support of sporting, social and political representatives, such as the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr Karim K Massimov, also the President of the Federation of Asian Muaythai Amateur (FAMA); General Chetta Thanajaro, President of the World Muaythai Council, His Excellency General Pichitr Kullavanijaya, Privy Counsellor to His Majesty the King of Thailand and Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan, President of both IFMA and the Amateur Muaythai Association of Thailand (AMTAT), under Royal Patronage.
**Download the Guide to starting a Sport Is Your Gang programme here**