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RAISED IN THE RING is a documentary that bares witness to the strength, beauty and history of Muay Thai (Thai boxing) as an important component to the traditions of Thailand.
Muay Thai is part of a cultural practice steeped in history and religious reverence. More importantly, to the rural poor, it is a career and a way to improve their livelihood.
RAISED IN THE RING allows us to witness life in the Muay Thai training camps in the Chiang Mai and Surin regions where children are raised in "the ring" in the hopes of offering them a better life through education and training. Many of these children come from very poor farming families.
In Thailand boys starting at age 14 are often expected to help provide for the family. At an early age their training allows them to engage in Thai boxing fights for candy or small gifts, then they soon become old enough to fight for 300 baht ($10) in the small, regional rings. If they are talented and skilled enough, they will be given the opportunities to fight in the large Bangkok arenas
for up to 10,500 baht ($350) per match.
Matt Marek's eloquent and fascinating documentary reveals the lives of five aspiring young Thai Boxers, from children aged twelve and fifteen to a university student vying for a professional career in Bangkok. As we follow them in their daily routines and their rigorous training regimens, we come to understand the respect and dignity with which this form of fighting is regarded in this Buddhist society.
RAISED IN THE RING is an interesting reflection of Muay Thai through a grassroots glance of the sport as part of everyday Thai life as we witness the life of young fighters and the hardships that most face. Juxtaposing this with the spirit and beauty of the Thai culture and surroundings, RAISED IN THE RING takes a surreal and reflective approach at studying this fascinating physical art and way of life.