A porter’s journey to Muay Thai glory


‘Sadiq’, a short documentary film, puts the spotlight on IV Sadiq, a Muay Thai boxer and head-load worker from Kozhikode

“A true fighter does not attack; he/she only defends,” says IV Sadiq, a porter at the Palayam market in Kozhikode, who represented India at the Muay Thai Pro Fight World Championship in Thailand in 2015.

Muay Thai is a way of life for Sadiq, who started training at 14. A martial art, which has its roots in Thailand, Muay Thai is known for its brute power. While Sadiq transforms into a fighting machine inside the ring, outside it, he says he consciously avoids a fight. For him, the real fight is within — to keep the spirit alive.

A porter’s journey to Muay Thai glory

Sadiq has won several medals at national championships. Well into his 30s, he now practises for about an hour or two every day and trains children. “Muay Thai is a combat sport that is extremely demanding. One is prone to injuries and it demands tremendous patience,” he says.

His rather unusual balancing act — of being a porter and a Muay Thai boxer — has been captured on film by filmmakers Basim A Rahman and Sahis Abdul Sathar. The 10-minute eponymous short documentary traces Sadiq’s life.

Basim Arahman

Basim Arahman

When Basim, who works as an assistant editor in films and Sahis, who is a video producer, were planning to make a narrative-style documentary, they heard of Sadiq and felt it could be the ideal subject for a non-fiction documentary. “Sadiq’s humble background and his devotion to the sport makes his story truly inspirational. We decided to go ahead with the project,” says Basim.

Sahis Abdul Sathar

Sahis Abdul Sathar

They visited Sadiq at his home in Perumanna and got him on board. However, filming was not easy. “Sadiq is a very busy man. He could only come for the filming in between his work at the market,” says Basim. The shooting, which started in November 2019 moved rather slowly, and COVID-19 delayed it further. “We even thought we would have to shelve it, we were determined to complete it,” Basim adds.

The filmmkers, however, feel they could not do full justice to the subject. “Shooting in the market was challenging because of pandemic restrictions. There were financial constraints too,” says Basim. Talks are on to make a film on Sadiq, he adds.

A porter’s journey to Muay Thai glory

Sadiq does not analyse his journey so far; he believes in keeping up his training. “As a child, I used to observe my cousin brother training in Muay Thai and was inspired. I always wanted to learn it and be better than him,” says Sadiq. He learnt the basics of the martial art under Kozhikode-based Muay Thai trainer Sivakumar VP.

The fire within

“Going to Thailand to represent India was a dream. I won only a silver, but it was an unforgettable experience as Thailand is the home of Muay Thai,” says Sadiq.

Muay Thai is considerably different from kickboxing, explains Sadiq. “It is not just the fists. Muay Thai is known as an art of eight limbs. You use the fists, the elbows, the shins and the knees in the fight. It teaches you how the human body can be used as a weapon.”

At the championship in Thailand

At the championship in Thailand

His day job as a head-load worker has only supported his passion. “While others might have to constantly work out to remain fit, most of my workout comes through my job, which involves carrying huge loads. 50% to 70 % of the stamina comes from there,” he says.

Sadiq cannot imagine remaining idle. The pandemic did put breaks on his routine and it was rough. “The muscles loosen. The mind loses its strength. I have to keep training. That’s what I do best,” he says.

He currently devotes more time to training children. “If I could inspire at least one child to follow his or her dream to be a Muay Thai boxer, I would consider myself successful,” he adds.

The documentary is currently available on YouTube:



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