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One Man’s Fight to Save Traditional Muay Thai Boxing | Short Film Showcase ctm magazine



Wisarut Wat Suksiriwararak is an old Muay Thai fighter from Pai in Northern Thailand. He now runs his own gym in Pai, passing down his knowledge of Thailand’s traditional martial art to both locals and visitors from around the world. Over the past few decades, the authentic practices of Muay Thai have slowly begun to fade away. This historic martial art now centers around financial incentives and entertainment as Thailand’s culture becomes increasingly commercialized. Filmmaker Marko Randelovic shows Suksiriwararak’s fight to preserve the traditional aspects of the sport in his short film Fighter: The Legend of a Muay Thai Boxer.
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The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

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Read more in “One man’s fight to save traditional Muay Thai boxing”
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One Man’s Fight to Save Traditional Muay Thai Boxing | Short Film Showcase

National Geographic
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44 Comments

  • National Geographic on April 22, 2019

    Muay Thai is slowly fading as Thailand's culture becomes more commercialized. What intrigues you the most about this traditional martial art?

  • bastiisalive on May 3, 2019

    <3

  • Jeff Losey on May 3, 2019

    Good to see Traditionalists keeping the Spirit Alive! Sad when it’s taken out of Training as you’re left with so many aspects that just disappear.

  • fredeyeye on May 3, 2019

    7:44 the price is not cheap haha

  • Conor James on May 4, 2019

    OMG he look like average elementary school teacher lots of oils

  • Hayden on May 5, 2019

    Muay Thai isn't really fading at all, if anything it's bigger then ever.

  • Ian Castro on May 8, 2019

    I love & respect the martial art of Muay Thai. But it is a dangerous, deadly combat sport. Any hit can be the last anyone can take. So the fighter should make as much as money as fast as he can. No disrespect, but I'm all in for the commersalization of the Sport

  • iMooWeNipOO on May 10, 2019

    ive been training muay thai since i was nine.. for ten years never had a fight in the ring mostly spars with other students or requested as sparring partners for fighters to prep them for fights, about a year ago i had my real fight not in the ring but out in the streets, i saw three guys fighting this one guy he was keeping them off for the most part and i knew i had to do something i knew with all my experience and training that guy didnt have a chance against us four.

  • Traveler on May 11, 2019

    The subtitle are not the best but at least, Thai have a chance to be recognized

  • CrownlessXKing on May 11, 2019

    beautiful

  • Deku All for one on May 11, 2019

    I hope I can learn muay Thai soon

  • White Ice not nice on May 27, 2019

    Thai stick💯

  • daniel280456 on May 29, 2019

    People can practice the same martial art for different reasons. They choose those reasons. If they want the spiritual part, they'll find it. Maybe the new generation just choose not to look for it. Maybe they only see Muay Thai as a way to escape poverty.

  • Daniel Scimone on June 4, 2019

    Combat sports are on the rise, studies have shown martial arts is the fastest growing sport in north america, there are huge promotions now that you can fight for to make big money.. Its far from the amount you would get for boxing, but its growing.. Fast

  • Sebastian Frank on June 8, 2019

    Awesome documentary!

  • Alejandro Lagos on June 11, 2019

    Straight to the heart. God's protect our art.

  • Shawn Martinez on July 7, 2019

    He can teach it in the US and make a fortune while expanding it's traditional form

  • Amitar Ami on July 14, 2019

    ❤Muay Thai

  • Suraj Shaw on July 29, 2019

    The only disrespectful part of this video that I found is when he compared Muay Thai to Taekwondo and kung fu…

  • Rai 666 on August 4, 2019

    7:05 sound track please

  • truepa pit's on August 13, 2019

    I love muaiy thai ..i learn a little of it

  • Love muay thai I have been training for 22 years now and I don't know where I would be without it.

  • fitofight on September 15, 2019

    Culture and tradition gradually change They evolve so why stop its evolution?. For all we know, the so called traditional muaythai may not be the same as practiced before it is termed “traditional”.

  • Frank Gartrell on October 8, 2019

    Been to Thailand many times. The bars do that for real. Which is BS. The Thai Culture is beautiful. Especially their style of fighting, cooking, eating, and family. My adopted Son is from Thailand. You dont have to think it's TRUE. I know that it's TRUE and he knows that it's TRUE. We have promised each other to never tell and say. That's my Son though.

  • commercialize correctly like the western boxing would be good. many of the bookies and many promoters are the ones controlling the muay thai industry. And the rule of fighting not set clear and right. So is the scoring systems as sometimes it is vague… Clinching is the main part of fight nowsday which requires much more raw body(paterior[spelling] chain power especially and arms and neck power). Techniques are there also. Yes you can sweep or anti-clinch, but i think it also kills lots of technical and beautiful techniques of fighting since the golden age muay thai era…. lerdsila and seanchai are good examples of thinking of the box and will raise muay thai quality and status. And if muay thai can incorporate more western boxing techniques than what most fighers are doing and chinese martial arts(like wing chun, ba ji quan, pi gua zhang, tong bei quan, spearing principles) would be super powerful, besides karate and tkd and jujitsu.

  • Jerry2112 on February 15, 2020

    Muay thai was created for sport and to be a sport. It derived from the traditional art of muay boran, kinda like sanda deriving from kung fu. Muay thai was also influenced by judo and western boxing so it's pretty modern. One could argue, there's nothing spiritual about elbowing someone in the face to win money or a belt. Still, this trainer makes a point. Meditation is useful in everything.

  • Baibhab Saha on February 23, 2020

    This is not traditional mauy thai

  • ĐẤT VIỆT VÙNG CAO on February 28, 2020

    Võ thuật siêu hay tuyệt đỉnh .cũng muốn được học võ như các thầy ha 👍🔔

  • Quinn Laya on March 19, 2020

    You can say whatever you want. Sport muay thai defeats traditional muay thai.

  • Attilama on May 1, 2020

    Isn't traditional Muay Thai more the Boran and Chiaya?
    With competition the ego comes out, and that brings the money, fame etc with it.
    The old traditional karate kumite, judo or kendo gatherings were only about improving onself and gaining experiences. Once it was a sport the spirit of budo was fading.
    But this also goes to Buddhism. Traditions just like in Europe with Christianity are becoming more empty.
    even idf people are participating in rituals is only a custom now, and there is no daily practice.
    Or with all that superstitions in SEA they rather pay a sorcerer to bring them happiness or health or whatever, or by buying amulets.
    Just go to an amulet market in Thailand. there is a price on spirituality too.

  • Vlad Dracula on May 18, 2020

    Can anyone suggest some cheap location, gyms to get quality training in Muay Thai??

  • Frederic Schulte on July 25, 2020

    Some facts about Kru Muay Association The Kru Muay Association originated from the separation of the amateur Muay Thai from the professional Muay Thai. This division pursued the goal to have Muay Thai recognized as an Olympic discipline by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A project that has not been successful until today. The officials of professional Muay Thai would like to have nothing to do with Kru Muay. For them this club is only a necessary evil. If you take a closer look, you will notice that all the so-called traditional teachers of the Kru Muay Thai Association have simply appointed each other as teachers and are now worshipped by wealthy foreigners once a year. The whole association is very political, but has less fighting competence than an average boxer in Rajadamnern Stadium or a Buakauw (who is a Cambodian and not a Thai by the way). Despite comprehensive state support, the Kru Muay Association still has no coherent teaching concept for traditional Muay Boran and Muay Thai is still not Olympic. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • Jesper Lange on July 26, 2020

    Some facts about Kru Muay Association The Kru Muay Association originated from the separation of the amateur Muay Thai from the professional Muay Thai. This division pursued the goal to have Muay Thai recognized as an Olympic discipline by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A project that has not been successful until today. The officials of professional Muay Thai would like to have nothing to do with Kru Muay. For them this club is only a necessary evil. If you take a closer look, you will notice that all the so-called traditional teachers of the Kru Muay Thai Association have simply appointed each other as teachers and are now worshipped by wealthy foreigners once a year. The whole association is very political, but has less fighting competence than an average boxer in Rajadamnern Stadium or a Buakauw (who is a Cambodian and not a Thai by the way). Despite comprehensive state support, the Kru Muay Association still has no coherent teaching concept for traditional Muay Boran and Muay Thai is still not Olympic. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • Seraphine Roth on July 27, 2020

    Some facts about Muay Lopburi The Muay from the city of Lopburi is just normal Muay Veti (Muay Thai) that tries to ride the Muay Boran wave. It has no special technical features and is definitely not Ling Lom. Muay Lopburi became known by the film "Ong Bak“. The naming of the techniques is strongly based on the Rammakian saga. The Rammakian is a stage-play that was translated into Thai language under the reign of King Rama II. (1809-1824) and thus became widespread. As a result, many of the so-called „ancient techniques" of Muay Lopburi cannot be older than 200 years. Members of the Muay Lopburi have not yet been able to answer the question of what their techniques were called before. that time. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • Felix Scholz on August 3, 2020

    Some facts about Muay Lopburi The Muay from the city of Lopburi is just normal Muay Veti (Muay Thai) that tries to ride the Muay Boran wave. It has no special technical features and is definitely not Ling Lom. Muay Lopburi became known by the film "Ong Bak“. The naming of the techniques is strongly based on the Rammakian saga. The Rammakian is a stage-play that was translated into Thai language under the reign of King Rama II. (1809-1824) and thus became widespread. As a result, many of the so-called „ancient techniques" of Muay Lopburi cannot be older than 200 years. Members of the Muay Lopburi have not yet been able to answer the question of what their techniques were called before. that time. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • Julius Koenig on August 9, 2020

    Some facts about Kru Muay Association The Kru Muay Association originated from the separation of the amateur Muay Thai from the professional Muay Thai. This division pursued the goal to have Muay Thai recognized as an Olympic discipline by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A project that has not been successful until today. The officials of professional Muay Thai would like to have nothing to do with Kru Muay. For them this club is only a necessary evil. If you take a closer look, you will notice that all the so-called traditional teachers of the Kru Muay Thai Association have simply appointed each other as teachers and are now worshipped by wealthy foreigners once a year. The whole association is very political, but has less fighting competence than an average boxer in Rajadamnern Stadium or a Buakauw (who is a Cambodian and not a Thai by the way). Despite comprehensive state support, the Kru Muay Association still has no coherent teaching concept for traditional Muay Boran and Muay Thai is still not Olympic. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • steven richardson on August 13, 2020

    A lot of commentors here have missed the point of the video ENTIRELY.
    The authentic and TRADITIONAL art of Muay Thai IS being lost as business takes over and "tourist muay thai" becomes the big thing for gyms to push for the bigger $$$$$.

    I was head coach at this gym (Wisarut) for 6 months in 2017 to develop their skills training programme and though I am "farang" (westerner) I have trained with Pote (the head coach/owner's nick name) and developed a training process that differs greatly from "tourist based" training which I now teach at my own place here in Thailand.

    It is VERY different to what is being taught in the other gyms on the island, not better or worse, just different, more traditional in it's approach.

    I would highly recommend Potes gym in Pai, it may not be like Tiger etc in terms of facilities etc but the passion and authenticity you will find nowhere else.

    I aim to make a video of it myself this year once the covid situation has been sorted and travel is easier.

  • Jacob Martinez on August 16, 2020

    Its pointless saying muay thai is better than everything else as every art is only as useful or affective as its practitioner.

  • I'm A Warr;or on August 26, 2020

    I think that what they mean by this is the “softening” of muay thai due to points system and showmanship which they call “entertainment l” but i still think that its pretty authentic and real in many gyms there. What do you guys think?

  • Jeremias Sauer on September 1, 2020

    Some facts about Muay Lopburi The Muay from the city of Lopburi is just normal Muay Veti (Muay Thai) that tries to ride the Muay Boran wave. It has no special technical features and is definitely not Ling Lom. Muay Lopburi became known by the film "Ong Bak“. The naming of the techniques is strongly based on the Rammakian saga. The Rammakian is a stage-play that was translated into Thai language under the reign of King Rama II. (1809-1824) and thus became widespread. As a result, many of the so-called „ancient techniques" of Muay Lopburi cannot be older than 200 years. Members of the Muay Lopburi have not yet been able to answer the question of what their techniques were called before. that time. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • Tommy Berger on September 22, 2020

    Some facts about Muay Lopburi The Muay from the city of Lopburi is just normal Muay Veti (Muay Thai) that tries to ride the Muay Boran wave. It has no special technical features and is definitely not Ling Lom. Muay Lopburi became known by the film "Ong Bak“. The naming of the techniques is strongly based on the Rammakian saga. The Rammakian is a stage-play that was translated into Thai language under the reign of King Rama II. (1809-1824) and thus became widespread. As a result, many of the so-called „ancient techniques" of Muay Lopburi cannot be older than 200 years. Members of the Muay Lopburi have not yet been able to answer the question of what their techniques were called before. that time. Source: Pantip. com (dig deep and you’ll find what they don’t want you to know! 🤫)

  • Barbie fox on October 13, 2020

    This was moving😔

  • bastien LeCorvellec on October 28, 2020

    Wisarut best trainer ever I miss you so much you tak and peth 🙏

  • Arun Satheesan on May 1, 2021

    Women made to fight in bikinis? That's disgusting! Where?

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