At what age should children be taught to fight one another? Many of us would say never, but that’s the not the case if you’re part of the Muay Thai community in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was there on her travels that photographer Sandra Hoyn stumbled upon one of the many tournaments that take place each day in the country itself. For those that don’t know, Muay Thai a full-contact sport, can be lethal.
Fighters are trained and encouraged to use numerous parts of their body to defeat their opponent. Use of the knees, elbows and fists are allowed, this often results in fighters suffering not only broken arms but numerous concussions. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Which is why Hoyn, was so shocked to see children (some as young as 6) taking part in a mini tournament – fighting each other as their partners encouraged them from ringside. In Thailand, it’s not particularly shocking or uncommon to see this kind of scene. Many parents use their children’s fighting skills to help support the family unit through winnings and illegal betting.
Hoyn spent 4 weeks documenting and creating her brilliant series ‘Die Kampfkinder‘ (translation: Fighting Kids), some days she would photograph training sessions, other days real-time fights. Her journey is an eye-opening look into a culture where exploitation of children is a means out of poverty, where safety is given little focus and where violence is not only entertainment, it’s encouraged.