Myanmar’s Phoe “Bushido” Thaw returns to action in front of his hometown fans at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS in Yangon on Friday, 26 October looking to continue his undefeated career in mixed martial arts.
Phoe Thaw, 33, has transitioned to mixed martial arts from the national martial art of lethwei, and has delivered a host of exciting displays in ONE Championship.
His move to the cage has come late in his career, but he says he wants to be an example to his fellow countrymen, as more people get switched on to the sport through his performances in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
“This is really important. It’s your duty [as a martial artist],” he explains.
“We have to hand over what we’ve experienced, what we’ve done, and what we believe to the next generation – all of the right things. It’s going to be handed over, generation after generation, and life is going to be better.”
Phoe Thaw is following in the footsteps of Aung La N Sang, who has become a national hero as a result of his heroic performances.
“Bushido” wants to offer similar inspiration to his fellow countrymen, even if he can only inspire a few.
“I’m not able to do everything by myself, but if I give 10 people inspiration, then it’s going to very quickly spread through the public,” he says.
“It’s very hard to inspire because I am only one [person], but I want to help the next generation. I want to help them a lot.”
He already helps coach young athletes through his Team PT gym, and even lets some of them train for free. Many of the youngsters who frequent his gym do not have the means to pay for their training, but Phoe Thaw accepts them with open arms.
He also wants to help his gym expand and thrive so he can help even more young people through martial arts.
“I’m just trying to help them, to give them support,” he says.
“I’m going to collaborate with businessmen to help develop mixed martial arts in Myanmar, and help the next generation.
“I put all my investments into my gym so I can help the next generation and develop the training facility in my gym. This motivates me a lot.”
There is little infrastructure in Myanmar with regard to martial arts training, but Phoe Thaw hopes to improve that over time.
He has experienced the benefits of martial arts on his life, and he has made it his life’s work to help pay it forward and pass on the same opportunity to others.
“I want to build a health, fitness, and mixed martial arts gym to help people have happy and healthy lives, and to help people live successfully in life,” he explains.
“That is my goal – to help the people with the martial arts. After all, it’s far from a strictly physical pursuit. It’s to get more self-confidence and become more mentally mature. It’s how to use willpower, how to use inner power. That is how I describe the martial arts.”
The best way for him to receive the backing he wants is to succeed on the big stage. Phoe Thaw’s performances in ONE have been outstanding to date, and he faces the biggest test – and highest profile bout – of his career against Malaysian contender Keanu Subba at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on 26 October.
“It’s never 100 percent we’ll succeed, but as long as we train hard, we can give the best performance,” he states.
“I would like to get recognised for that effort, not only the result. I want to give the message that as long as I train hard, I can give my best performance in the cage.”