MASTERING THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE

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Muay Thai, sometimes referred to as Thai boxing, is a combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This discipline is known as the ‘art of eight limbs’, as it is characterised by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. The origin of Muay Thai is in Thailand. It has received full recognition as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and has been registered as the 63rd National sport of Sri Lanka under the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.

Bassam Murthasa, a nine-year-old brought glory to the motherland at the IFMA Muay Thai Youth World Championship 2022, by beating more than 800 contestants participated to the tournament representing 101 countries around the globe. He has won a gold medal and a silver medal, from the two events that he competed in. Bassam, studies in grade four at Good Hope College, Mawanella.

Scribbler reached out to the little hero, Bassam Murthasa to let him share his thoughts with the readers of Scribbler.

Starting at a very early age

This little master of Muay Thai has started his first days of practicing the art of Muay Thai, even before entering to the pre-school, at an age as early as three under his beloved trainer, N.H.M. Fahid, President, Iron Martial Arts Association, Sri Lanka. “I started to learn Muay Thai during my early childhood. It was my father who got me enrolled in the Muay Thai club and took me to practices regularly. Since then, I have been practicing this art,” Bassam shared.

Bassam didn’t take much time to master the art and start demonstrating his astounding skills. At the age of five, he performed a Muay Thai show at the Muay Thai National Championship 2019 and was highly regarded by the Grand Master of Thailand, Dr. Ajarn Chao Wathayotha. Master Wathayotha acknowledged Bassam a souvenir also in appreciation of his great talent and skills. Bassam has performed at numerous national level championships since then and his bright future in Muay Thai has always been so clear.

Making the motherland proud

Not only at national level, but also Bassam has performed at International Muay Thai championships and won medals more than his age! His most recent victory was at the IFMA Muay Thai Youth World Championship 2022 which was held recently in Malaysia. There he competed in the Wai Kru event and won the Gold medal while securing the Silver medal in the Fight-one to one bout event.

“It was a great experience for me to participate in the IFMA Muay Thai World Championship this year. It was held in Malaysia and I went there with my father and my sister. I had chance to practice with many veteran coaches from various countries during that time. I met several champions and we shared our experiences. Above all, I felt so great about winning two medals including a Gold medal. I am really happy” Bassam shared his feelings with us.

“Actually I should thank my coach, N.H.M. Fahid, for training me so well and preparing me for the competitions. He is a great teacher. Also, I want to thank my parents who support me in everything. My father takes me to the practices and helps me a lot. And I want to thank my school teachers and my friends too for their constant support,” he took a chance to thank everybody who supported and encouraged him through the competitions.

Also he represented the Muay Thai UTS Youth Festival in 2020 as the Youth Ambassador which is a significant post given to the best competitors only. In the same year, Bassam won numerous medals at the IFMA Virtual World Championship 2020 as well as in the UTS Virtual World Youth Festival 2020. Below are the events that he participated with the medals he won.

Silver medal in Max fit event, IFMA – Virtual World Championship 2020

Silver medal in Aero fit event, IFMA – Virtual World Championship 2020

Gold medal in Max fit event, UTS Virtual World Youth Festival 2020

Bronze medal in Aero fit event, UTS Virtual World Youth Festival – 2020

In 2021, he won a Gold medal in Max fit event and Silver medal in Muay Mai event at the Virtual World Championship 2021, while securing another Gold medal in max fit event and a Silver medal in the Muay Mai event at UTS Virtual World Youth Festival 2021.

Muay Thai for life

“Muay Thai is for life. It does not interfere with my school work. I have a practice schedule in the morning and the evening and I practice regularly according to them. During the rest of the evening, I study and do school work. So I can balance both my studies and practice,” shared Bassam when asked if he manages to study well while being engaged in Muay Thai practices.

“Actually, I gained a lot of life lessons through Muay Thai. It is not only about winning the competitions. But I gained courage and confident through it. I am ready to face challenges without hesitation. It is all because of the personality development I received through Muay Thai” he further stated. Moreover, he mentioned that his future ambition is to become an astronaut, but as a martial artist his supreme goal is to win a Gold medal in Olympics and bring glory to the country. Scribbler wishes our little hero, Bassam  

By Haritha Induwara