How Stamp Fairtex Overcame Bullying And Gender Stereotypes To Become A Martial Arts Superstar
The most influential people make their struggles a part of their success story.
Stamp Fairtex is one of those people. She is only 22 years old, but the native of Thailand has already established herself as a martial arts legend. That might sound like an overstatement, but if you consider what she has already accomplished, Stamp doesn’t need to throw another strike to validate her legend status.
Stamp is the current ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion, and she is currently embarking on a journey to add a third world title in mixed martial arts.
In fact, Stamp won her return to the sport via third-round submission over the previously undefeated Asha Roka at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD last August 16.
Fighting Back Against Bullying
While Stamp is at the peak of her athletic accomplishments, things weren’t always so smooth. As a child, she endured bullying at elementary school. This particular brand of bullying extended beyond verbal and psychological abuse. It was sometimes physical.
“I was bullied all the time,” Stamp says.
“I always came back home from school with bruises here and there.”
Finally, Stamp decided to take up self-defense to defend herself against the bullies.
Like many families in Thailand, Stamp is trained in the art of Muay Thai. Known locally as the “Art of The Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai is a family and cultural tradition for Stamp and others from her country. Stamp’s training was even more advanced than most because her family owned a camp, and her father was proficient in Muay Thai.
“Because my family had a training camp, I thought I could do something to fight back,” said Stamp.
While her father seemed to be on board with the concept, Stamp’s mother wasn’t immediately thrilled with the idea. She feared Stamp would get hurt during the training, but those concerns quickly faded.
Stamp’s talent and the spike in her self-confidence was apparent. When Stamp’s mother recognized those positive trends, she began to be more supportive.
Moreover, Stamp loved the sport.
“I got up at 5 a.m. every morning to run,” she says.
“Then, at around 7 a.m., I came home to have a shower and go to school. I was always too late to participate in the morning activity.”
Stamp’s passion and excellence for the sport led to her first bout at the age of 5. She won that bout via first-round KO, and it didn’t last long. Stamp landed a knee, and the match was called off. From this early struggle came success, and it planted the seeds for what we’re seeing come to fruition in her career at this point.
Overcoming Gender Stereotypes
You might think that Stamp’s excellence in athletics would lead to universal support, but that hasn’t always been the case. Even Stamp had critics and non-supporters within her own country.
“The hardest thing was overcoming female stereotypes,” she says.
“In Thailand, female Muay Thai athletes were not very culturally accepted. Females are viewed as weak and are expected to act ladylike.”
Stamp’s steadfastness, commitment, and personality have made it nearly impossible not to support her on her martial arts journey. She is helping define what it means to be an outstanding female athlete in Asia and all over the world.
Because of her, there are already young women aspiring to follow in her footsteps.
“Every female who became a Muay Thai athlete has her passion,” said Stamp.
“They want to be recognized, but in fact, they are not accepted by society.”
Stamp’s presence is the first step in changing that in Thailand.
Embracing The Responsibilities That Come With Fame
Whenever someone becomes as famous as Stamp is now, some responsibilities come with the fame. Some prominent athletes and celebrities do not embrace these opportunities, but Stamp isn’t one of those people.
Stamp understands that there are consequences for her actions and that when she is in public, people are watching. Rather than looking at that dynamic as pressure, Stamp seems to take pride in her influence, and it only augments her status as a role model in Thailand and around the world.
Trains Hard And Remains Coachable
So that she can stay at the top of her game as a martial artist and set a proper example for her followers, Stamp trains hard and remains coachable.
“She makes the training environment really happy and enjoyable,” says one of her coaches, Prem Fairtex.
“I think she deserved every bit of [success], and she’s still the same Stamp [despite winning two World Titles]. Since the first day I met her, she has been very humble.”
That’s a huge compliment for anyone who has attained the level of success that Stamp has enjoyed. It’s even more impressive when you consider Stamp’s age.
Expect to see Stamp continue to defend her Muay Thai and Kickboxing championships while she continues her pursuit of a title in MMA as well.
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