Every muaythai athlete young or old learns a Wai Kru dance to carry out before starting each bout in the ring – and today the young athletes learned from some of the best teachers in Thailand as part of a Giant Open Lesson.

Any of the young athletes who were not competing today joined in the actvities which took place in the event hotel.

Led by IFMA president Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan, the young athletes practiced a number of different rituals – learning the history behind each sequence as well as practicing the moves. The sound of laughter increased as the lesson went on, the young athletes enjoying the chance to really practice this move in peace.

Dr Sakchye and his trainers stood on the stage facing the hundreds of children, and clearly demonstrated each move. The aim was that the children would leave the lesson with a new sequence to practice and use in the ring, as well as a deeper understanding of where the Wai Kru ritual comes from.

The meaning at the heart of this ritual is to show gratitude to teachers and instructors, to focus on the special relationship between the athlete and their coaches.

The youth also this morning took part in an awareness session around bullying and how to combat it – run by Julia Govinden from the United Through Sports campaign. A series of fun activities encouraged the young athletes to discuss ways to recognise bullying and prevent it.

And at the end of the session, the youth signed notes on The Wish Tree, laying out some sweet thoughts for the future.

See IFMA Facebook for more photographs of this morning’s activities!