Nak Muay Ying:
The Female Muay Thai Fighter
For many that walk up the steps into a martial arts gym, the goal is to achieve an intense workout. Many reach the limits of hitting pads and gathering rudimentary self defense. However, a small few - and often a special breed of person - will reach past those limits. Little by little they culminate the technique and, most importantly, the courage to step into the cruel and somewhat serene territory of the ring.
This essay documents the women of a New York based Muay Thai gym and their training days leading up to their first exhibition fight. They pursue their passions in the later hours after a long day’s work. The exhaustion often driving them to put in more time and dedication to their craft. Some walk away with the exhibition’s experience as their dreams fulfilled. Others will be left with a hunger for more, carrying them through a career in the competitive amauteur circuit. Either desire not more or less significant, they find beyond fighting that Muay Thai will serve a greater purpose: it will become their community, and a source of family.