Bangkok, Thailand -- Muay Thai child warriors are forced to fight each other by their parents, who spend their last money by making bets. Children as small as six are forced to fight for money before an excited audience.
The practice is a form of local entertainment.
Children are subjected to enormous pressure from their parents, because all they need is a win. Lots of people lose all their savings in just one night.
In Thai culture, boys and girls learn Muay Thai from a very young age. Many parents send their children from rural regions to Bangkok and other major cities' training camps, hoping they would become successful fighters, and aid them financially.
Muay Thai is a national sport in Thailand, and leagues and fighters are being given celebrities' statuses. Televised fights are the most popular shows on television and the streets empty when big fights are being held, in villages all over the country people cluster around any available television.
The popular sport is deeply entwined with the country’s history and was developed centuries ago as a way for Thai men to a way to defend themselves without using weapons. Never-ending invasions from neighbouring countries in the early days of the Kingdom saw the people of Thailand rely on hand-to-hand combat to defend their land.