Thailand’s national sport, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), is among the most popular sports in the country and is an integral part of modern MMA fighting. Many children who learn Muay Thai in Thailand usually start at a very young age – both boys and girls, and a number of them grow up in a Muay Thai fighter family.
In 2012, the film “Buffalo Girls” was released, documenting the lives of two young girls living in rural Thailand who were determined to become Muay Thai boxing champions. Directed by Todd Kellstein, the film offers a unique and intimate glimpse into the world of Muay Thai boxing and the lives of those living in rural Thailand.
The Girls and Their Dreams
The two girls at the center of the film, Stam and Pet, come from impoverished families and live in the rural province of Uttaradit. They are part of a long tradition of Muay Thai boxing in Thailand, where the sport has been popular for hundreds of years. In recent decades, Muay Thai has gained popularity around the world, but for Stam and Pet, it is not just a sport, it is a way of making ends meet. Many of the people who come to watch the fights place bets on Thai Boxing Fights. Stam and Pet come from families where money is always tight. Their parents work long hours in the fields or at low-paying jobs to make ends meet. Stam and Pet are determined to pursue their dreams of becoming Muay Thai boxing champions to help their families.
At a young age, the girls began training in Muay Thai, often using makeshift equipment and training with male fighters. They quickly develop a passion for the sport and dream of one-day becoming professional fighters. However, their path to success is not always easy. They face constant pressure from their families and communities to give up their dreams and conform to traditional gender roles.
Fighting Against Discrimination
Muay Thai is often seen as a male-dominated sport, and female fighters face unique challenges. They must fight against a system that does not always value their contributions or take them seriously as athletes. In rural areas, women and girls are often expected to prioritize domestic duties over pursuing their own ambitions. But Stam and Pet were determined to overcome these challenges and prove that they could compete on a level playing field.
In the film, we see the two girls facing discrimination in various forms. In one scene, a male trainer tells them that they cannot fight because they are too small and weak. In another scene, they are told that women should not fight in the ring because it is not ladylike. These comments only serve to fuel Stam and Pet’s determination to succeed.
Training and Competing
The film follows Stam and Pet as they train, travel, and compete in Muay Thai matches across Thailand. We see them learning from their trainers, who are themselves former fighters, and testing their skills in the ring against other talented fighters. The film captures the intensity and beauty of Muay Thai, as well as the challenges faced by those who practice the sport.
Throughout the film, Stam and Pet work tirelessly to improve their skills. They train for hours each day, often in the sweltering heat, and push themselves to their limits. We see them honing their techniques and building their strength, preparing for the matches that will determine their futures.
As they compete in matches across the country, Stam and Pet gain recognition and respect for their talent and hard work. They also face fierce competition from other fighters, both male and female. But they refuse to be intimidated and continue to fight with all their heart and soul.
One of the most striking aspects of the film is its depiction of rural life in Thailand. The camera follows Stam and Pet as they navigate the lush forests and fields of their home province, as well as the bustling markets and boxing rings of the cities. We see the poverty and hardship faced by many living in rural areas, but also the resilience and strength of the community.
The film also highlights the importance of Muay Thai in rural communities. For many, Muay Thai is not just a sport, but a way of life and a source of pride for those who practice it. It provides a sense of community and purpose, and for Stam and Pet, it is a means to escape poverty and achieve their dreams.
“Buffalo Girls” is a powerful and inspiring film that tells the story of two young girls who refuse to let poverty, discrimination, and traditional gender roles stand in the way of their dreams. Through their passion for Muay Thai, Stam, and Pet find a sense of purpose and strength that helps them overcome the challenges they face.
The film offers a unique glimpse into the world of Muay Thai and the lives of those living in rural Thailand. It highlights the resilience and strength of those who live in poverty and face discrimination and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams and passions.
“Buffalo Girls” is a must-see for anyone interested in Muay Thai or the lives of those living in rural areas. It is a powerful reminder of the human spirit’s strength and the potential we all have to overcome obstacles and achieve our dreams.