Sport Is Your Gang Initatives

“Sport Is Your Gang” targets youths from challenging backgrounds, encouraging them to take up Muaythai training and, through their participation in training and dialogue programs, to be inspired for positive self-development and a healthy lifestyle. Rather than belonging to a gang or participating in a violent lifestyle, the spirit of the project is that sport can become a family, a team and a community.

Below are a few case studies of how Sport Is Your Gang is being integrated in our National Federations around the world.

State: Queensland

Programme: Sport Is Your Gang

1 hour session, once per week, which covers all the fundamentals of Muaythai, self-defence, and self-respect.

Community profile:

The youth face issues of Bullying, lack of confidence and / or drug addition.

Since 2011, Urban Fight Gym has teamed up with Arcadia College to create an alternate learning program for their students through the art of Muaythai. They have developed an 8 week program to teach Respect, Discipline, and Perseverance, as well as showing the students that they can use their energy in a positive way through sport rather than falling into anti-social behaviour.

Arcadia College is a co-ed independent secondary school specifically designed for young people who have disengaged from mainstream schooling. Arcadia bases its philosophy on establishing positive and respectful relationships between adults and students to maximise engagement, emotional well-being and academic achievement. The college offers classes with an emphasis on project-based learning, and individualised learning plans for each student.

Urban fight gym is a proud member of Muaythai Australia (MTA) and look forward to continuing this relationship with Arcadia through “Sport is Your Gang”.

Starting Time Frame: 2011

Ages: 13 – 18

Numbers: 12 – 16 youths

Sponsor/partner: Arcadia College

Contacts[email protected]

Currently Confederação Brasileira de Muaythai Tradicional (CBMTT) is running projects in several locations throughout Southeast and Northeast regions where youth are prone to fall under influence of organized crime and drug trafficking.

p5Rio de Janeiro, City Sao Goncalo

Community profile: Participants are from a poor neighbourhood, typically victims of crime, or bullying, one participant has mental disabilities and is often targeted. Many of the youth participating have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, face school failure, and several suffer from social malaise including stuttering and nervous tics.

Programme: Muaythai training 2-3 times a week, for fitness and self-defense. Participant’s individual availability means that not all students attend all the time. The goal of the program is improved self-esteem and social ease. Improvements reported at school and at home include the development of positive attitudes, increased self-confidence, and the ability to focus or concentrate better.

Starting Time Frame: 2013

Ages: 9-74 (Mixed ages, the group is open to anyone interested)

Numbers: 30-35 per session

Sponsor/Partner: Community helpers volunteer their time

Two programs are conducted by the CBMTT in conjunction with Evangelical Church in the City Ilha do Governador and in Paraiba, City Joao Pessoa in conjunction with City Hall Council.

Community profile: Favelas on Ilha do Governandor and of João Pessoal are areas where assaults and violence can be common as most of favelas are controlled by organized crime groups involved into drug trafficking and child prostitution.

Programme: Muaythai training is conducted 3 times per week in a location chosen by the Evangelical Church and City Hall Council. The goal of these programs is to help participants to gain a new outlook on life, and prevent their involvement in organise crime, drug trafficking and prostitution.

Start Date: 2012 and 2013

Ages: 7- 35 years old and 12- 40 years old

Numbers: 15-20 per session

Sponsor/Partner: volunteers from CBMTT supported by the Evangelical Church and City Hall Council

Projects in progress:

Rio Grande do Sul: There are numbers of marginalised communities in Brazil, and it’s not uncommon for children to take the wrong path in life, especially if they are facing challenging situations at home or school. The CBMTT believes that sport can provide a new way for children and teenagers at risk and in conjunction with the State Government of Rio Grande do Sul has developed a program which addresses 2 000 students of state and municipal schools.

More info:

Contacts: Ms. Ingrid Jost- [email protected]


City: Campbell River, British Columbia

Target Community Profile: Youth in Grades 7 through 9

About the Programme: Ignite: Muay Thai for Youth Empowerment is aimed at making the numerous life-changing benefits of traditional martial arts accessible to all youth in our community, bridging financial and social barriers.

Starting Time Frame: October 2021

Target Ages: 13 through 15

Target number of participants: 8 in our pilot program; will be expanding significantly.

Sponsors/Partner Organisations: Insights One Applied Behavioural Science Society Inc. and Heart & Soul Muay Thai Academy (Campbell River, British Columbia). Ignite also gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Rotary Club of Campbell River for the inaugural session and thanks them for their vision and generosity.

Additional Information: The pilot session of Ignite is set to begin in October 2021, with further sessions to follow.

ContactsKendra McLeish ([email protected] <> ), Sandra Bastian

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City/Area: Prague

Programme: Public training of Muaythai for children and youth organized by the Czech Muaythai Association.

The programme targets kids from children’s home Duchcov that are unable to be raised and brought up in their own respective families due to serious instability in their lives or households.SIYG Czech 2

The project’s goal is to provide the children opportunities to learn basic abilities in motion, to build new relationships, stay fit and embrace moral principles based on the traditional Asian martial art Muaythai not only for the children from the children’s home, but also to all other boys and girls.

The project hopes to bring many smiles to the children’s face, help them discover and target a better lifestyle, given them a fair start in life and an easier integration into society.
This is only the start in the initiative to helping children whose development is threatened due to unsatisfactory family environment or due to the negative influences in society.
The programme is currently active and running.

Starting Time Frame: February 2015

Ages: 6-17 years

Numbers: 50 participants

Sponsor/Partner: ProFighters


Contact: [email protected] +420 777 172230

SIYG Czech 1

District: Cambridgeshire 

Community profile: The local community is mainly social housing and benefit reliant families, from a fairly remote part of town with little facilities available to local families.

Programme: Just Kick It!

The programme targets youths from families who may have difficulties finding funds for their sessions, and also juniors with little to no awareness of Muaythai.
CS11 Eng03The programme aims to help youths and the juniors become more active by using martial arts to give them a focused area of interest, helping them meet new people and try to achieve a high enough standard for competition or grading.
The ‘Just Kick It!’ programme is currently active and running well with hopes that the future will see some of the juniors taking part at a high level at one of the junior IFMA world championships.

CS11 Eng02Starting Time Frame: April 2014

Ages: 7-17 years

Numbers: 15 participants

Sponsor/Partner: Sportivate – Lottery Funded – Sport England

Contacts: [email protected] – 07734 448803


City/Area: Bavaro 

Community profile: Starting in March 2013, the SIYG initiative in Bavaro was a program called “Galaxy Challenge”. A charitable talk was organized to raise funds to purchase equipment for 30 children between 5 and 19 years so they could practice Muaythai for free. In 2014, upon learning about the SIYG campaign, the Dominican Republic National Federation decided to make Galaxy Challenge a part of it.

The programme not only offers training and discipline but also keeps kids away from the streets, alcohol, violence and drugs. Galaxy Challenge tries to provide them financial support for basic needs like gasoline, transportation to school, medical care, food, clothing and occasionally, a motorcycle to get to work. Since then they have been conducting many other programmes to help the community.

The programme aims to provide whatever help necessary for the community in order to make it a better place for everyone. Although the main focus is keeping youth and children away from alcohol, drugs and violence, they also help animals to live with dignity and peace in the community. They aim to have no children left without a smile on Christmas and in the case of disaster whether caused by nature or man, the programme helps by gathering necessities to reach the affected areas.

Programme location: Galaxy Gym Punta Cana y Flavio Acuña Natural Center

The part of the programme aimed at preventing children and young people are on the streets is temporarily suspended due to financial difficulties in transportation for children. The other programs are currently active.

Starting Time Frame: March 2013

Ages: Depending on the type of program age may vary.

Program to get children and youth from the streets: From 5-19 years.

Gifts for children at Christmas : From 1-12 years.· Food and clothing for the needy : All ages

Humanitarian aid in areas where they have suffered some kind of disaster: All ages.

Numbers: 30 participants

Sponsor/Partner: For now, the programme has no sponsors, all finances come from Galaxy Gym Punta Cana and Flavio Acuña Natural Center and friends

Contact details: [email protected]

Phone: +1 829 619 2304 Office: +1 809 552 6994

In Germany, there are three social projects currently in process.

1. Muaythai Violence Prevention

Since 2011 the gyms of the Muaythai Bund Deutschland (MTBD) have been working in the field of violence prevention with children and youth in the age categories of:

A) 10 until 14 years
B) 15 until 17 years

These violence prevention Muaythai training courses are of 3 months duration, led by a police officer and the President of the MTBD, Detlef Turnau.

All participating children and youth come from poor or underprivileged families, and cannot afford to pay membership fees to sports clubs. The courses are offered free of charge, and the equipment is sponsored by Jefferson Sports.

2. Donations for Social Assistance

This is an initiative planned for November 2013. In this case, MTBD is working in cooperation with Die Tafel, a well known non-profit organisation in Germany, which provides food to the homeless. MTBD is organising a Martial Arts Seminar in November. All seminar fees will go directly to Die Tafel. Participating martial artist at the seminar will come from the disciplines of Muaythai, Hap Ki Do and Kempo Naada.

3. Muaythai Rehabilitation

Since  2011, the MTBD has cooperated with the court which presides over Duesseldorf and Grevenbroich to offer rehabilitation services for young offenders. Youth who are found guilty in juvenile cases are offered the option of going to jail or performing social service in MTBD gyms.

Offenders who choose to do social service are also offered the chance to train Muaythai, and to be exposed to the discipline and values of the martial art.

Sponsors/Partners: Government bodies, social workers, police

More info: and

Contacts: Mr. Detlef Turnau- [email protected]

Honduras is one of the fastest growing countries in muaythai. Their first experience on the highest level began this year at the World Championships in Minsk, and the performance of Honduras team truly inspired kids all around the country to start training muaythai and step on the way of the champions.

Sport Is Your Gang Honduras is one of the ways muaythai can support the youth and establish the reference point for them on the way to success in life. Muaythai has proven to unite people and nations, give athletes identity and solidarity but foremost build friendship and peace.



Programme: Since 70% of Honduran children are homeless or live in orphanages, the Honduras federation of muaythai felt it was their duty to help. This SIYG project has people from orphanages and from schools in the most dangerous communities in Honduras. They are using sport as a means of inspiration and to change lifes in a positive way.

Starting Time Frame: November 2015

Ages: 8-20 years


City: Rho (Milan)

Community profile: Inspired by the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education, University and Research on 4 August 2009, the Institute Mattei for sports promotion is home to the School Sports Center and participates in the Student Sports Games. By virtue of the experience gained in the field of sport, it was decided that the new course in sports specialization would run for the school year 2015-2016. To implement this, the Institute has acted as part of teaching autonomy, planning and organizational accorded to educational institutions by law, in particular by Presidential Decree 275/99 and, for Technicians, by Presidential Decree 88/2010 art. 5.

Programme: High School of Education Technology To Address Sports

The programme targets male and female students in high schools.

The programme aims to expands active experiences of students in many fields; enhancing group activities; undertaking an orientation detecting attitudes and individual vocations. Specifically, sports activities takes place in harmony alongside education so as to promote the habit and appreciation of muaythai practice. Students will work in groups and individually, learning to confront and collaborate with their peers following shared rules to achieve a common goal. The knowledge and awareness of the benefits brought about by the practice of Muaythai, leading to positive attitudes and active and healthy lifestyles.

The project is currently at an experimental stage to be confirmed, at ITCG “E. MATTEI “Rho (Milan)

Starting Time Frame: September 1, 2015 – June 15, 2016

Ages: 16-20 years

Numbers: Approximately 200 students

Sponsor/Partner: Ministry for Education, University and Research

Contacts: Prof. Ruggiero Dascanio – [email protected]


City/Area: Antananarivo

Community profile: The local community is mainly social housing and benefit reliant families, from a fairly remote part of town with little facilities available to local families.

Programme: SOK Competition, GALA , Muay Thai Training Center, Thai Culture and Language, other training.

The programme targets socially vulnerable youths and anyone who is interested in Muaythai.

FMMDAA aims to build trust and a sense of community with one another for the Malagasy young people and anybody who is interested in the MuayThai Discipline . It also values:

  • Respect – Respect one another and oneself. Do not be proud.
  • Honour –Be self-disciplined and gracious; when you are strong, use your power to help others;
  • Fairplay – Be honest, do not cheat.

In brief, it highlights one’s and other’s welfare with Disciplines. They are doing their best to promote MuayThai throughout Madagascar and incite natives to practice the art.

The programmes aim to instill MuayThai disciplines in people’s heart in order to live in a better way and to testify its value. The programmes are ongoing and run with the intention to rise to the occasion and succeed in national or international competitions in the future.

Despite the recent implementation of the Muay Thai National Federation of Madagascar and the lack of equipments, they have been coping well with the situation and hope to achieve their goals sooner or later.  They are open and appreciative towards more contributions and sponsorhips.

Starting Time Frame: 2014

Ages: 5-55 years

Numbers: 100 participants

Sponsor/Partner: The Ministry of Youth and Sports; Thai Embassy.

Contact: [email protected]

Cities: 26 cities across Mexico

Community profile: Children across Mexico live in urban neighborhoods that lack resources and do not have access to public support institutions. Such conditions leave children at risk of both engaging in and being victims of crime, drug use, and social and mental disabilities.



Programme: Once a week, 3000 children in 220 groups meet in public spaces in cities across Mexico with intructors to learn Muay Thai, grow as a team, and creating a community. Through instruction in Muay Thai children develop social skills, the management of negative emotions, a sense of belonging and teamwork, discipline, and healthy lifestyles with the aim of creating positive change in their social environments. Together and in conjunction with community mentors, sponsors, and volunteers, these children also develop strong support networks.

Starting Time Frame: 2014

Ages: 6-17

Numbers: 20 per group (number not static)

Sponsor/partner: Federación Mexicana de Muaythai (FEMEM), private donations, community volunteers.

More info:

Contacts: [email protected]



City: Lima

Programme: Proyecto Alto Peru “Taller de Muaythai” (Muaythai Workshop)

Community profile: “Alto Peru” is a lower-class neighborhood, one of the toughest in the district of Chorillos. Youth are exposed to crime, violence and gangs.

In cooperation with Proyecto Alto Peru (a social initiative to provide sporting and cultural opportunities to the disadvantaged in Alto Peru), a team from the Peruvian Muaythai Federation went to a community courtyard in Alto Peru, cleaned it and began training. Neighbourhood kids came to watch and were offered the chance to try Muaythai. The next week the team came back, cleaned the neighbourhood and offered Muaythai training again. Before the third week, they told the kids that the courtyard had to be clean when they arrived, or they would not offer training. When they arrived, it was spotless.

The team offered Muaythai training every Saturday during the summer. Participants were given their own uniforms and some equipment to take care of, and showed up clean and ready for training, taking the program to heart.images

Starting Time Frame: 2013

Ages: 10-16

Numbers: 30-40, per session (Mostly male)

Sponsor/Partner: Everlast donated Muaythai equipment and Proyecto Alto Peru was the community partner (


Contacts: Mr. Rodrigo Jorquera- [email protected]

City: Lisbon

Community profile: Participants come from rough neighbourhoods around Lisbon. Often they are young men without much education or any vocational training.

Programme: Portugal’s National Muaythai Coach offers discounted evening Muaythai training classes. A minimal fee is charged so that participants feel invested and respect the training and equipment. Participants have the opportunity to compete nationally, and internationally if their training is successful.

Starting Time Frame: 2008

Ages: 16-20

Numbers: Several hundred

Contacts: Ms. Maria Mourinha- [email protected]

Sponsor/Partner: None

Noted challenge: The NF notes that these participants show promise and potential in C and B class. However, making the transition to A class is more difficult for those who have a limited educational background. As the sport becomes more psychological, mental discipline and perseverance become key skills. Only a handful of the participants are able to make the transition to elite level competition.

Remarks: In this case, the NF could focus on values education and providing other career service training to those participants who are interested and know they do not have a future in competitive Muaythai. As the NF has already built these relationships, it can broaden them.

pernillaCity: Stockholm

Community profile: Stockholm is a city with common urban problems: juvenile delinquency, immigrant integration challenges, and crime. The Frysbox project work with all types of youth: victims of crime, socially vulnerable youth, newly arrived immigrants who don’t speak the language yet, but also any youth without social problems who simply want to participate in the Frysbox project.

The project targets youth living outside or on the fringes of society, in order to give them a place to connect. Some come from broken homes, or have no family at all.  Frysbox provides a place with a mixed group of young people, coming from different backgrounds. Frysbox tries to provide a safe place for youth to grow and develop in the right direction.

Starting Time Frame: 2007

Ages: 13-20

Numbers: The current project works with 5 groups, 20 youth per group. During the school year, Frysbox also works with students, increasing its reach. In 2012, around 500 kids tried Muaythai through Frysbox in their schools.

Programme: Frysbox7704_542891489121275_1207404911_n

Frysbox is a social project working through Muaythai martial arts training as an opener to engage in dialogue. Training together creates cohesion and teambuilding, allowing youth to dispel their energy through physicalactivity. After training, they sit down and dialogue to work through different exercises, with a trained facilitator acting as moderator.  The goal they are working toward is to have self-esteem, self- confidence, values and the courage to stand up for their own opinions.

Two of the principal trainers in Frysbox are former Muaythai World Champions. Thanks to the its success, a summer Frysbox program has also been introduced. There are plans for expansion to other Swedish cities.

Sponsor/Partner: The program is a cooperation between Fryshuset and TiP Muay Thai IF, a Swedish Muaythai gym.

More info:

Contacts: Ms. Pernilla Johansson- [email protected]


City: Bangkok

Community profile: Bangkok and its surrounding areas comprise a population of around 14 million people, with a wide array of socio-economic situations. Bangkok has several slum communities, one of the best known being Klong Toey. Local mafia, drug dealers and gangs are a part of these urban landscapes. Boredom and alienation affect many youth, leading them down paths which are destructive.

Programme: Growing out of the “Muaythai Against Drugs: Find the Right Path” campaign established by General Pichitr Kullavanijaya, Privy Councillor to HM the King of Thailand, there are numerous Muaythai social projects in Bangkok. In the form of Muaythai fitness programs,  they take place every Saturday in underprivileged communities, providing food, uniforms and equipment. Youth are trained in the cultural arts of Muaythai, engaging in fitness activity. Those who excel gain the opportunity to travel to international events, index1demonstrating ritualised performance styles such as Muay Boran. These projects aim to provide a wider perspective and encouragement that there are positive opportunities in life which can be reached through education and self-discipline.

Starting Time Frame: 1999

Ages: 6-18

Numbers: 10,000

Sponsor/Partner: Amateur Muaythai Association of Thailand

Contacts: Mr. Pichit Rommaneepuchaneeya- [email protected]

Community profile: The local community is one of low income, limited to no recreational facilities and with a moderate crime rate.

Programme: Women, youth, and underprivileged programme

The programme targets high risk and underprivileged youths with idle time on their hands that may be directed towards destructive behaviour and associations. The programme aims to gauge these youths and help change their direction. The programme will grade them in MuayThai so they will see themselves in a positive light and raise them up to a stage where they themselves will be able to teach Muaythai and spread the art.

The National Muay Thai Council of Trinidad and Tobago has instituted this programme through the initiative of the President Mr. Brendon Burke who put through a proposal to the Ministry of Sports who are the major financiers of the programme.

The Women, youth, and underprivileged programme is ongoing.

Starting Time Frame: January to December 2015

Ages: 4-17

Numbers: 60 participants

Sponsor/Partner: Family Mart, Miscellaneous Marketing, & Ministry of Sport

Contacts: Brendon Burke, President NMCTT, Rep for IFMA & [email protected]

City: Odessa

Community profile: In Odessa, there are high numbers of homeless youth who live rough, many inhabiting the city’s sewer tunnels. There are also a number of orphanages, where children may lack a sense of community.

Programme: The National Federation offers food and shelter to homeless youth, accompanied by Muaythai training. The training provides the youth with a framework, discipline, and an ethos, to counteract the often lawless reality of the streets, where violence and drug addiction are insidious. Youth can make a decision to continue with their training and stay off the streets.

The National Federation also has a partnership with the city’s Orphanage No. 5, providing the orphans health and fitness activities through Muaythai.

Starting Time Frame: 2007

Ages: 10-18

Numbers: 2,000

Sponsor/Partner: Odessa Orphanage No. 5, City of Odessa

Contacts[email protected]

City: Nationwide

Community profile: Launched in 2011, Sportivate is a nationwide campaign in the UK, legacy project related to the London 2012 Games. Its initial aim was to provide teenagers and young adults (aged 14-25) with opportunities to receive coaching in their sport of choice, with the end goal of guiding them toward regular participation within their community.

Sportivate provides youth who many not be inclined to do sport access to 6-8 weeks of free/subsidised coaching in a range of sports. After this period, they will be supported to continue playing sport.

Originally planned as a four-year programme, due to its success, additional funding of £10m per year was invested to allow Sportivate to run until March 2017. Sportivate has also extended its age group to include 11-13 year-olds. Sportivate was planned as a programme for social inclusion, targeting people who have a disability and people from black and minority groups.

Programme: UKMF Sportivate New Junior Participation

The UKMF has planned to make the most of Sportivate to improve and expand its Junior Muaythai League. As Sportivate is intended as a tool for social inclusion, UKMF is targeting new youth participants, especially the disadvantaged, who may be drawn to Muaythai as a “tough” sport. The goal is to enable values training, teach discipline, provide a sense of belonging, and grow Muaythai.

Starting Time Frame: 2012

Ages: 11-14

Numbers: Available at all UKMF member gyms (200 gyms), there are an estimated 15-20 new participants per gym.

Sponsor/Partner: Sportivate is a £56 million National Lottery funded London 2012 legacy project

More info: and

Contacts: Mr. Ryan Rudkin- [email protected]