The International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement under the auspices of UNESCO (ICM) was official launched on January 1st 2017. The centre is mandated to promote a culture of peace and non-violence by encouraging youth development and engagement through martial arts.

Sharing a belief in the concept of harnessing the power of muaythai to transform youth and building a brighter future thought he fostering of our grassroots, IFMA no doubt was excited to collaborate with the ICM in the participation at the 1st International Youth Martial Arts Summer Camp (IYMAC) which was held over 6 days in Chungju, Republic of Korea.

The camp saw the participation of around 100 Korean Martial arts youth leaders and some 50 international martial arts leaders from Uzbekistan, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. Representing Muaythai were a group of Thailand’s youths aged 12-15 years, selected from the Sport Is Your Gang project in Bangkok. Kids were selected based on their performance at school and also on their engagement in the SIYG Project.

The objectives of the summer camp included the establishment of a platform for youth martial artists to exchange cultural values, philosophy and techniques of martial arts from different parts of the world including Jan Sanaty from Uzbekistan, Muaythai, Arnis from Philippines, Viet Vo Dhao from Vietnam, Pencak Silat from Indonesia and Taekwondo form Korea; and the promotion of youth development, leadership and community engagement.

During their time there, the kids engaged in many activities other than the exchange of the martial arts training and demonstrations. They experienced the Korean culture with a Kimbab cooking class, traditional kite making and rice cake making; and water sports such as Kayak, yachting and water trampoline.

IFMA, which has an important partnership with UNESCO will continue to build a better tomorrow, the best possible future for our youth and even more important, to help to build our youth for the future. The IFMA youth returned with fond memories, many new friendships and will continue on their paths to be youth martial art leaders.