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How Muay Thai Helped Pongsiri Mitsatit Overcome His Bullies

July 27, 2019

Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit has emerged as a top contender in ONE Championship’s strawweight division.

The 23-year-old has used his Muay Thai striking to great effect in his mixed martial arts career, and he could break into the World Title picture if he defeats Chinese powerhouse Miao Li Tao at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 2 August.

Long before he became a rising star in The Home Of Martial Arts, however, he was a target of childhood bullying.

Pongsiri Mitsatit sends Bangkok into a frenzy with an ELECTRIFYING knockout at 3:05 of Round 1!

"The Smiling Assassin" is BACK Pongsiri Mitsatit sends Bangkok into a frenzy with an ELECTRIFYING knockout at 3:05 of Round 1!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, May 10, 2019

Growing up in the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai, Mitsatit’s family had very little to their name. His father and mother were farmers, but they could barely make ends meet. To help out, the youngster lent a hand whenever he could.

While work on the farm was hard, life at school was even more difficult.

Just like the other kids in his village, he woke up early and made the trek to school every day. However, Mitsatit’s time in the classroom was challenging, as some of his fellow students targeted him due to his tiny stature.

“I was one of the smallest in my class. There were a lot of kids picking on me. They would always push me around, and sometimes even hit me. I would get really angry, but because I was so small, I could never fight back,” he recalls.

“When I was getting bullied, I wanted to learn self-defense and to feel strong. Muay Thai for me was a way to do both, and also make money for my family.”

CRUSHING knees from Muay Thai maestro Pongsiri Mitsatit, who faces Shaolin warrior Miao Li Tao on 2 August!

CRUSHING knees from Muay Thai maestro Pongsiri Mitsatit, who faces Shaolin warrior Miao Li Tao on 2 August!: Manila | 2 August | 5PM | ONE: DAWN OF HEROES: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/oneheroes19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, July 19, 2019

As fate would have it, Mitsatit was approached by a trainer from a local gym, who invited the then-teenager to stop by the facility and try out “the art of eight limbs.”

Once he arrived at the gym, a switch went off and something instantly changed in the youngster. He truly fell in love with the sport and was determined to learn everything he could.

Now dedicating his free time to Muay Thai, “The Smiling Assassin” noticed all the positive benefits that started to happen.

“When I started training, I felt stronger and more disciplined,” he explains.

“I was really small, weak, and skinny. I saw my body change, I got muscles, and felt healthier. It was a great feeling. I also started to see the older fighters become successful in their careers, and I wanted the same for me and my family.”

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It didn’t take long for his talent to flourish, and soon, the bullies stopped picking on him.

Mitsatit later went on to become a Northern Muay Thai Champion of Thailand, and he has since amassed a 72-17 record in professional competition.

Not only did he transform his own life through “the art of eight limbs,” but he also helped alleviate his parents’ financial burden and brought them out of extreme poverty.

Because of all those benefits, “The Smiling Assassin” feels indebted to the sport.

“Muay Thai has helped me a lot. I am not scared of other people, and I have a lot more confidence in myself,” he says. “It also brought me to mixed martial arts.”

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Mitsatit is now using his platform to help motivate and encourage children to train, especially those who are being tormented by bullies.

Having been in that position before, the Thai star has some valuable advice.

“First, find a place to train and just start training. Martial arts can you help you in so many ways,” he begins.

“You’ll feel better, and you can learn self-defense. It helps keep kids focused and away from drugs and alcohol. Also, being at a gym will teach you discipline, which is an important life skill.”

Most importantly, for those who may be feeling completely alone, aspiring practitioners can build camaraderie and form lifelong friendships with their fellow teammates at the gym.

“The gym will become your family and your friends,” he continues.

“Traveling to fights in the back of pick-up trucks with my teammates on the way to shows was always so much fun. I have so many good memories from that time. Even when I would run, I always had my friends with me.”

Thai mixed martial artist Pongsiri Mitsatit

This coming Friday, Mitsatit makes his highly anticipated return at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES where he will face Miao inside the Mall Of Asia Arena.

For the former Nak Muay, this victory will be key in helping to bring him to the top of the strawweight division. Also, it is an opportunity to avenge a recent loss for his compatriot, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke.

Now, less than a week away from event night, “The Smiling Assassin” reflects on his life and is surprised just how far Muay Thai has brought him.

“Looking back on my childhood, I never thought I would get this far,” he admits. “My goal now is to become a World Champion in ONE.”

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Manila | 2 August | 7PM | DAWN OF HEROES | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes19