Social media has changed the way that we do just about everything. We get our news from our Facebook or Twitter feed. We share family pictures on Instagram. We communicate with family and friends through Facebook and learn how to do all kinds of things from YouTube. Social Media has also given birth to viral video and a host of new trends. So, what would have happened to Muay Thai if social media had existed in the 1980s?
In the 1980s, Muay Thai was still rather unknown in countries like the United States. While it was being practiced in Thailand for hundreds of years, many western countries were more aware of martial arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Keep in mind that Americans really only began flocking to martial arts in the 1960s and 1970s because of Bruce Lee. His celebrity status and plethora of movies jump started marital arts in the U.S. Despite the popularity of martial arts, Muay Tai was still rather unknown by most Americans.
While Americans were exploring “traditional’ marital arts, Thailand was experiencing a Golden Age of Muay Thai in the 1980s. There were more competitors, competitions and money than ever before. The problem is that Americans weren’t being exposed to the sport. Back in the 1980s people learned about new sports, ideas, and practices, from newspapers, magazines, television and movies. Social media, and the Internet, for that matter, simply did not exist.
The first time that Americans were exposed to Muay Thai on a mainstream level was in 1989 when Jean-Claude Van Damme starred in the movie, Kickboxer. In the film, the antagonist, Tong Po, was a Muay Thai fighter. Arguably, the film exposed people to the sport and helped fuel interest.
Let’s assume, for argument sake, that Facebook and other social media platforms existed in the 1980s. The Golden Age of Muay Thai would have quickly spread from Thailand and reached countries all over the world, including the United States. Just imagine videos of explosive Muay Thai fights going viral across the Internet. Young kids would have been enamored with the tradition and style of Muay Thai. Muay Thai schools would have sprouted up throughout the United States and it would have quickly become a household name.
While this is all fantasy because there was no social media in the 1980s, it highlights the value of modern social media. We live in an amazing time when a video or post can cross continents and expose people to new ideas and practices. Today Muay Thai schools such as www.muaythai-camp-thailand.com and instructors can share their sport, tradition and training across the globe with ease. They key is to make the most of social media. The possibilities are limitless. How will you share Muay Thai with the world?