This past week at the gym we celebrated Loi Krathong, a Thai festival held in the 12th Lunar Month of the Thai calandar, aimed at both thanking and apologizing to mother water. It is also believed that when one sets their krathong afloat their sins from this past year can be washed away.
For the kids at our gym, this was their first time fighting for the Loi Krathong festival. Festival fights like these are by far the best possible place for our kids to gain experience so we decided to take them to fight on both the 24th and the 25th.
What made this week really special was the support we received from the local community. While the fights in Phimai were too far, many came out to show their support on the 25th in Phutthaisong, a 15km drive from the gym. Boom's village has been devoid of a Muay Thai community for the past 15 years; lack of support and opportunity for the kids caused the network to die out. We are literally starting from scratch. Wednesday marked some monumental progress. Mo and Min's uncle, a once-famous pad holder and my former manager, is now on board. When we first started the gym, he told me that I won't last; the kids won't be responsive, the corruption in the community will tire you out, and the lack of support from the village will inhibit progress. It's been almost a year, and we have only just gained his respect and support. Uncle Nuan, a prominentmerchant, small scale banker and Muay Thai enthuthiast, also came out to watch, joining many other friends and family out to encourage our little fighters. We had a huge cheering section, something new for us.
Lindsey Newhall reported on the event for FIGHTLAND: The Muay Thai Festival Fights of Loi Krathong
Travel expenses to and from the match-ups and fights remain our biggest expense. Thank you to our monthly sponsors for providing the kids with opportunities like these, we could not do it without your support.