Is Muay Thai Endangered?

Is Muay Thai Endangered

Most countries around the world have returned to normal and most Muay Thai gyms and clubs can train normally again. Also as more and more competitions take place, you can almost speak of a normal state again. But what is the situation in Thailand right now, especially on Koh Samui? The situation is dramatic and many who do not live here do not see how bad it is. There have been almost no fights in all the provinces of Thailand for over one and a half years and many gyms had to close or have temporarily stopped operating. In tourist places like here on Koh Samui, most gyms are still open, but with far fewer customers and hardly any tourists. Most gyms had to part with their fighters and trainers and only work with the most necessary things just to keep their businesses and gyms alive. Before, almost every gym had 3 to 10 trainers plus a few local fighters, whereas today only 2-3 trainers are still in the gym. These trainers and fighters have mostly grown up in the Muay Thai gyms since childhood and don’t know any other place to live. But now they had to find a solution. Luckily they are all fighters and don’t give up so easily, otherwise the situation would be even more dramatic.

Before that, they had a good steady income for Thailand through training, private lessons and fighting. But since April 15, 2020, almost all the stadiums have been closed and thus there was already a lack of income from the fighting. From May 2020 almost all the tourists who train with us have returned to their home countries and thus trainers do not have the income from private lessons. You have to consider that here in Thailand the trainers and fighters are all professionals and usually feed a whole family with this money, including their parents. It hit the Muay Thai trainers and fighters twice because they suddenly had no income and no support from the government. Normally, from the age of 8, they fight almost every month and that is part of their life, like others go to work and have their work goals. You can imagine that many coaches and fighters have been on the streets for 1.5 years without any prospects or hope.

But we as the Muay Thai Gym receive 5-10 inquiries every day as to when you can return to the country and come to training. It’s great that so many people are interested in coming back to Thailand for training. But we think it’s a unfair that so many active fighters have forgotten their role models and training colleagues in Thailand over the past 1.5 years. For 90% of foreign fighters and athletes, Muay Thai is a hobby and leisure activity, and they are not dependent on a monthly income. But here in Thailand it is a job and thousands of trainers and fighters have been unemployed for over 1.5 years without any support. Not only is it hard for the fighters to survive, a lot of talent and knowledge is lost already. From our point of view, over 30% of the active fighters who were in the Muay Thai business 1.5 years ago will not or cannot be able to come back into the ring and Muay Thai business.

Our friend and business partner Bernard Caplin from the famous and largest martial arts magazine Chok! Magazine recognized the problem early on and was the last 1.5 years always in contact with us to find out how they could help the guys and girls. For more than 20 years he has been visiting Koh Samui for several months a year for new storys, search for fighters and make reports for the Muay Thai community. Through this longstanding relationship with Koh Samui, he asked us how is the way to help. Direct help to the trainers and fighters is very difficult, as most of them are no longer on the island or had to switch to another job. But through a conversation with Ralph Beale from Lamai Muay Thai camp we agreed that it was important to open the stadium again after almost 1.5 years to set some revive the grey mood and to symbolize some hope.

Usually we had over 70 Muay Thai fights a month on Koh Samui before. These were mostly possible by the promotion to foreign tourists. With Bernard’s donation campaign, we would try to hold a few events on Koh Samui again and also to pay the fighters and referees a small fee. Unfortunately the island is still very empty, and we think without a large increase in tourists, no fights will be possible this year.
So we hope with this action that Bernard has started to revive the Muay Thai fighters on Koh Samui. It’s not about business, it’s just about us at least those who are still on the island to motivate something again and to give them hope that there will soon be fighting on Koh Samui again.

Therefore we hope for your help and support your role models like sports friends, so that you can soon train with them again on the dream island on Koh Samui and not stand in front of closed gyms and stadiums when you arrive.

With many thanks to the initiator Bernard Caplin and everyone who helps us to revive the Muay Thai sport on Koh Samui.

Link to donate for Koh Samui Muay Thai:

The next step where you can do as a Muay Thai fan. Come back to Koh Samui to train in one of your favorite gyms and book a few private lessons with the trainers. It is a bit cumbersome at the moment to travel, but it is feasible and this is the only way you can sustainably support your friends and your favorite gym.

Here you can find also the entry rules for now and future:

By sharing this blog, you are also helping to bring Muay Thai Koh Samui to life again.

Thanks very much!


Markus Muster

124/666 Moo 3, Maret
Koh Samui
Surat Thani 84310

Translation & Pictures:

Markus Muster

124/666 Moo 3, Maret
Koh Samui
Surat Thani 84310

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