Meet Aphiwat Sit BoonSport. There is nothing unusual about this athletic looking young man, except for the fact that he has just had his first ever MuayThai fight, aged 13-years old.
Generally speaking, young Thai boys who grow up within the MuayThai community will have had upwards of 60+ fights under their belt by the time they hit the tender age of 13-years old.
Aside from the fact that Aphiwats family own a very successful MuayThai equipment brand his involvement in the athletic side of the sport has been very limited until recent times.
That’s where the community spirit comes into play: the young man who lives in Nakhon Nayok, (a short drive from Bangkok) stumbled upon a local gym a few months ago — and that was the beginning of his wondrous adventure which would cumulate with him having his first fight in the squared circle.
Speaking to Aphiwat’s uncle, he stated that in all his years of involvement in the MuayThai industry he has rarely witnessed more of a kindred community spirit within Aphiwat’s local gym: “It has a fantastic energy about the place, proper old school and everyone gets involved in its day-to-day running, the parents, the young and the old alike,” sounds like the epitome of real community spirit.
In the build up to his inaugural fight, young Wat (nickname) moved out of the comfort of the homestead and moved into the close-quarter confinement of the gym, accompanied only by his beloved guitar.
The icing on the cake, there is zero wifi at the gym, so young Aphiwat had his mind free of all that comes with that malarkey in the build-up to the bout.
Fight day arrived: The young man stepped into the ring, thanked his teachers, neighbors, friends and family and set about doing what many, many a young boy has done before him here in the Kingdom of Thailand — fight and come out the other end of that fight with his hand raised high in victory.
The greatest part of this journey for young Aphiwat was not the fact that he had his hand raised in glorious victory, but the life lessons he has garnered along the way — the entire experience showed him that he possessed tremendous desire and commitment and these traits were within him in abundance, the context here is that before this venture — he never saw those positive attributes within himself.
Moreover, his uncle told him during the arduous training sessions in the build up to the fight: “If you take this attitude you have shown towards this fight with you as your life continues, then it will help you achieve all of your goals for the rest of your life.”
One of the most interesting narratives here is sharing your journey with those closest to you, be that with family, friends or neighbors, just being together is what makes everything worthwhile.
I for one am inspired by what young Wat achieved in such a short period of time: the dedication, the perseverance and the drive to strive for something makes who we are.
Take a bow young Aphiwat, we salute you!