For Inmates, A Chance at a New Life through Muay Thai Kickboxing     

Through the discipline, focus, and sacrifice required to rise to the top of the Muay Thai Kickboxing world, Inmates of a central prison in Bangkok Thailand have a chance to reduce their sentence.

When you mention Muay Thai Kickboxing, rarely does the thought ‘corrections program’ come to mind. In Klong Prem Central Prison, in Bangkok Thailand,  inmates serve up to life and beyond in jail for crimes they’ve committed. In 2013, the prison brought in a new experimental program to the prison in attempts to provide a direction and a way for inmates to reverse their course in life. Held away for unspeakable violent crimes, these inmates did more than just jay walk to land themselves in here. Likely, their life was in shambles at the time of their crimes.

The program…bring in Muay Thai tournaments, dubbed ‘Thai Prison Fight’, to allow inmates to train and fight their way to a reduced sentence. Inmates who participate would be allowed to train and fight within the confines of the prison. The goal? To land a position on the Thai national team to fight for the country.

Pretty intense huh? Now I know this sounds a bit controversial and quite Hollywood. I think there was a movie with Wesley Snipes back in the day which followed a similar concept. My take on this is that while nothing will ever change their behaviors from the past, it’s a sign of hope and trust in humanity on the part of the prison to really try to ‘correct’ their inmates. An endeavor such as Muay Thai takes great amount of discipline, intent, and self-control. It follows rules of engagement and fighters can’t cheat their way to the top…they have to earn it. Before they committed their crimes, this structure in their life, intent, discipline, focus, and self-control, were missing from their life. A possibility at a new life through the discipline of Muay Thai Kickboxing provides them a way to re-direct their life and to gain a life of significance beyond those walls.

The Thai’s know it best – the training, discipline, and sacrifice needed to excel at Muay Thai Kickboxing transforms the human psyche, molding integrity, grit, and a sense of right and wrong.

It’s no wonder that parents will put their children into martial arts programs to instill these habits into them at a young age instead of waiting for society to force it upon them. Muay Thai and martial arts, to truly excel at it, is something a person commits their life to and requires structure, focus, and doing what’s right. Muay Thai Kickboxing, in my opinion, is an analogy to life. With order, focus, and patience, one can create success and achieve their goal. Through our victories and defeats, we learn to trust in ourselves and others and take both the good with the bad.

Again, nothing will change what these people have done. Training Muay Thai Kickboxing and fighting does not erase the past. What it does is change the human soul and psyche and requires each participant to dig deep into their own self to find and use internal resources they never thought they had.  I can say from my own personal life, that beyond a way to stay in peak fitness and conditioning, it has given me a philosophy of life…to keep working hard…to stay humble…and to keep raising the standard for myself until the day I day.  It is through facing challenge that we grow and that is what Muay Thai Kickboxing provides to it’s practitioners. It will be interesting the outcome of this experiment.

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