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damien trainor

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Petjeeja Or Meekhun: The girl who fights the boys

05 Jun Posted by in Blog, News, Videos | 4 comments

Pet-Jee-Jaa-O.-Mee-Khun-Muay-Thai-Fighter-Teep1-648x340I’ve seen a few fights pop up of Petjeeja over the last three months and I have to say i’ve been extremely impressed. I stumbled on her story on 8limbs.us so I thought i’d share it.

The article is taken from 8limbs.us

Phetjee Jaa O. Mee Khun is an already risen star in many provinces around Thailand and is now brightening on the horizon of Muay Thai in Bangkok. She was born in Sisaket Province in Northeastern Thailand (Isan) on December 31, 2002 (Thai: 2544), the youngest of three children. She is known to her family by her play name, “Nin” (นิล), meaning sapphire. At the age of 7 she was inspired by her two uncles (the younger brothers of her mother) and wanted to earn money for her family by fighting Muay Thai. She was clear about that from the start – she wanted to work as a Muay Thai fighter. Her parents were apprehensive but decided to let her try after she urged her father to give her a chance. Her first fight was against a boy at the Mongbondaeng Stadium in Chonburi. Phetjee Jaa lost the fight and received only 400 Baht ($13 USD) for her purse and her parents assumed she had tried it and wouldn’t want any more of fighting. But Phetjee Jaa insisted on continuing on and her parents relented. She and her older brother Mawin wanted to train and fight.

After 4-5 fights Phetjee Jaa found a gym to train her, the Toyota gym in Rayong. However, after 1 year training there Phetjee Jaa learned that they were not supportive of female fighters and at that her father decided to invest in setting up a gym at their home for Phetjee Jaa and her brother Mawin. It was a considerable expense, costing almost 10,000 Baht ($333 USD) as well as requiring the family to purchase a truck with which to transport the fighters to promotions. The children’s father became their trainer, developing their skills at the family gym named Mee Khun (มีคุณ), roughly meaning to have obligation, and Phetjee Jaa began fighting all over the Northeastern and Southern Provinces, gaining experience and a name for herself. As of the publishing of the article I read, at the age of 10, Phetjee Jaa had fought more than 20 girls and more than 70 boys.

She is also an avid student. She goes to school for extra study on weekends and maintains a 3.75 GPA. Although she and her brother are professional fighters, both supporting the family with their earnings, Phetjee Jaa’s name and fame are greater and her “fight queue” is constantly full, allowing her 3-4 fights per month and earning an average of 30,000 Baht ($1,000 USD) plus tips from gamblers to support the family. Most of that money goes toward daily costs as well as expenses for travel (payments on the truck, gas, etc) but Phetjee Jaa also is treated after fights to trips to McDonald’s, Bic C and Tesco, as kids tend to enjoy.

Phetjee Jaa’s name and reputation has grown and she is now known all over Thailand. She gets offers from gyms to come live and train with them and fight under their sponsorship but Phetjee Jaa’s mother explains that she doesn’t want her daughter to be bridled or pressured by the contractual obligations that come with signing to a gym outside the family. (It is worth noting that Phetjee Jaa could potentially earn more from her fight purses with the management of a big gym, certainly allowing her to continue to support her family, and this is not only an issue of who is managing/profiting off of her work/fame.)

She is a dutiful daughter and hard worker. She takes 2 days of rest after fights and then resumes her regular training schedule right away. She runs 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) every day and skips rope for her leg strength, clinches every day and trains both in the morning and evening with school in between. Her parents are very proud of her and speak highly of her absence of fear toward injury or fatigue. The Muay Thai community is proud of her as well. Samart Payakaroon, one of the most famous Boxer/Muay Thai fighters of modern times, speaks highly of her, acknowledging her skill and heart as well as saying she is just as the broad-chested man (“man with 3 elbow-to-fingertip measures”), which is to say she is – at 11 years old already – representing the masculinity and honor of Muay Thai.

Phetjee Jaa is not lacking for fights and at 11 years old has over one hundred fights. There is no doubt that she will represent a new possibility and era for female Muay Thai, as she is already doing exactly that. She hopes to continue fighting to support her family and aims to fight in the Olympics (western boxing). It is my hope that Phetjee Jaa’s opportunities and accomplishments remain unobstructed by her uniqueness and that as her un-sexed little girl body disappears she does not become resigned to pre-existing limitations with it. To use Samart’s description, I hope her chest remains so broad that the door frames bend open for all women who follow after and alongside this amazing path she is carving.

Here is Petjeeja vs Kaoponglek which took place on the 31.05.13 at Aswindam stadium….enjoy

Petjeeja: Red Shorts

Kaoponglek: Blue Shorts


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