Nas favelas do Rio de Janeiro, o Muay Thai é tornou-se mais popular que a capoeira. Globalização e afinidades: a arte marcial tailandesa inventada por guerreiros e peões seculos atras, ecoa no coração do Rio de janeiro na juventude das favelas. Não apenas como uma maneira de lazer ou para se defender: para alguns deles, vive a esperança de um dia, tornar-se profissional.
Reportagem © Daniel Martins | Agência Olhares
Interview with Diego Buchecha, professor of Muay Thai in the Rocinha Favela , dir. of the Team Nockdown Brasil founded July 20, 2009 .
What’s so special about the practice Muay Thai in the favela?
In the favela, the teaching of Muay Thai is transmitted with the rigor of Thailand. In Rio’s well-off neighborhoods, when a pupil takes a too violent blow, he will stop to attend class, in the favela, if the classes are not challenging enough, pupils will train elsewhere. In general, the uptown kids are taking courses to say they are doing Muay Thai, whereas in the favela, young people seek to improve their living conditions, participate in championships and become famous. ”On the asfalto (in the noble neighborhood) we make money, in the favela we train warriors”
Why do you think that Muay Thai is so successful in the favela?
Success is the same in the favela and well-off neighborhoods. Any kid watching a fight movie wants to fight. As a kid I used to watch boxing movies, I would wrap my hands with pieces of rag and punch in the air. Do you see a link between the “ginga” (the art of movement, agility) of the favela and Muay Thai? Or between other characteristics of Muay Thai and the favela? The most striking aspect is the historical beginnings of Muay Thai. The oppressed Thai people created a martial art to defend themselves, and the youth in the favelas use Muay Thai as a means of improving their living conditions. They identify with the social origins of this martial art. For the Thai people, Muay Thai had a bit the same function as capoeira for Brazilians!
When did Muay Thai appear in the Rocinha favela, and how did you start ?
Muay Thai has arrived in Rocinha some twenty years ago, with two teachers, Anibal and Lazaro, still very present in the favela today. As for me, I started MT to defend myself. I was a problem child, I knew some boys I did not like were learning MT, so I got into it too.
Daniel Martins, 24, was born and lives in Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro. He discovered photography at the age of 16 when he began to attend the workshop of the NGO “Olhares do Morro” in the favela Santa Marta in 2003 – the basis for the future “Agencia Olhares” – and never left. His first pictures on the theme of ” adolescent chronicles” would be part of all Olhares do Morro’s collective exhibitions – such as the interactive multimedia installation presented at the Rencontres d’Arles, during the Year of Brazil in France (2005), as well as in Rio de Janeiro (at the Oi Futuro art center), Stockholm (2006) and Brasilia (2007). Today, Daniel photographs the private parties and the luxury of the privileged classes in Rio de Janeiro – as a daily job- but continues along to document intensely his daily life in the favela, his circle of friends and his renewed passion for Thai boxing – Muay Thai.