Here at IFMA we often say muaythai is for everybody, but maybe even we didn’t understand how true that can be. Up to 100 elderly residents in Italian nursing homes come to weekly lessons, and the coaches say it’s given everyone a new lease of life including the muaythai community.
The Italian Muaythai Federation has always been open to all, with a strong focus on youth development. But even as different organisations in Italy came together to make a stronger federation, secretary general Davide Carlot was looking around outside of the gyms to see where else Muaythai principles could help the community.
In the town of Seregno, the answer lay in the local nursing home. Staff at the home were open to suggestions, and already had a list of activities but no martial arts. Active Ageing is a strong component of planning at both regional and EU level, so mixing Old Age and Muaythai is not as unusual as it first seems.
Davide says: ” It’s when you do the demonstration and the people smile, that’s a smile which only martial arts can bring. That smiles breaks me sometimes, it makes me understand how little you need to do to make people happy.”
The trainers go to the nursing home once a week, with classes open to all residents including those who can no longer stand independently. Elderly men and women sitting in wheelchairs focus on hitting pads, or even just touching their gloves against the trainers’ hands if the exertion of a full punch is too much.
Pictures show residents and trainers laughing as they work. Some women who never had the opportunity to do sport in their youth due to the culture at the time, are trying sport for the first time in their 70s and even 80s.
Care assistants work with the coaches to ensure the exercises are appropriately modified and suitable for the residents, and they assist during the classes as back-up. The Muaythai classes have become the highlight of the week for many residents.
“Yes, I feel it shows that Muaythai is for everyone, and anyone can do it independently of their physical condition. It’s just not important,” Davide says.
Read more about how FIMT are developing Muaythai in Italy here.