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Young Intrepid Fighter Photos

The Portraits of 'Fighting Kids' Shows the Gritty Side of Muay Thai

— October 14, 2013 — World
For some children in Thailand, muay thai boxing is the only way for their parents to earn some money, who bet on their performances in the ring -- something photographer Sandra Hoyn witnessed firsthand in her 'Fighting Kids' photograph series.

Hoyn captures the raw and gritty side of the full-contact traditional martial art of Thailand that incorporates using your fists, elbows, knees and elbows to fight. Pictured in Bangkok, her 'Die Kampfkinder,' or 'Fighting Kids' photos -- which feature some children as young as six -- are poignant in these monochromatic photos, with some of the children exuding emboldened and toughened expressions that belie their young age.

According to Hoyn, who told Slate, "They are the instrument for the parents to earn money, and they have to win the fight because the parents bet a lot of money on them." Although money bets are illegal in Thailand, these pictures show to what extent some are willing to go to earn their living.
Trend Themes
1. Child Fighters - The rise of child fighters in muay thai boxing presents opportunities for organizations to address child labor and exploitation issues in combat sports.
2. Gritty Portraiture - The popularity of gritty and raw portraiture in martial arts photography opens up avenues for photographers to capture the emotional intensity and cultural aspects of combat sports.
3. Ethical Betting Practices - The illegal money betting surrounding child fighters in muay thai boxing calls for the development of ethical betting platforms that uphold the well-being and rights of young athletes.
Industry Implications
1. Child Welfare - The rise of child fighters emphasizes the need for child welfare organizations to intervene and protect young athletes from exploitation in combat sports.
2. Sports Photography - The demand for capturing raw and gritty moments in combat sports photography creates opportunities for sports photographers to specialize in martial arts and documentary-style portraiture.
3. Gambling and Betting - The illegal nature of betting in muay thai boxing highlights the potential for the gambling industry to explore ethical and regulated betting platforms that ensure fair treatment and protection of underage fighters.
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