Born With It: The Miraculous Muay Thai Gene

We all follow in our parents’ footsteps in one way or another. Dakota Ditcheva did too, only she didn’t follow her mum into an office or classroom. She followed her into a Thai boxing ring, and subsequently into the fabulous fighting art of Muay Thai.

Lisa Howarth, Dakota’s mother, has been a champion in three separate combat sports disciplines, and was born with what it takes to be a Muay Thai fighter. Four years after she gave birth to Dakota, Lisa was watching her daughter competing in her very first Muay Thai fight. “I always wanted Dakota to do some sort of exercise” Lisa told Tanko. “I’ve always said to her I don’t care what you do as long as it’s a form of sport. But I never really had to push her anyway. Sport is always what she’s wanted to do”.

But what about Muay Thai specifically? Did Lisa always want her daughter to enter this particular strand of combat sports? “I did want her to do it when she was younger” Lisa commented. “Muay Thai is fantastic for character building and making you grow in confidence. It makes you a stronger person. But part of me didn’t want her to do it for too long because I know how hard it is. I wasn’t looking for her to be where she is now”.

Dakota dabbled in a variety of sports after her first Muay Thai contest including football and gymnastics, but ended up returning to the Thai fighting art when she was thirteen. Before long, she was emerging as one of the brightest young talents on the female Muay Thai circuit. But what made this youngster willingly immerse herself in the intense combat sport world as opposed to playing, say, netball? Simply put – she was born to do it.
“It’s always been about winning for me” admitted Lisa. I’m a very competitive person, and I never wanted to put that on Dakota. But it was built into her. That’s what she naturally has.”

“I actually like it when I get hit!”

Dakota agrees. “It’s adrenaline” the teen told Tanko. “I actually like it when I get hit! Mum used to love all sorts of adrenaline-junkie stuff like skiing as well as Muay Thai when she was younger, and she’s passed this passion on to me. This is what I want to do”.

When her daughter Dakota was born, Lisa was faced with a dilemma. Should she give Dakota a playful nudge in the direction of combat sports, or should she leave her to do her own thing? As it turned out, it was a decision that was ultimately made for her. The Muay Thai mind set is something deeply embedded in Dakota. She was always going to end up in the combat sports ring. The teenage champ is living proof that we all follow in our parent’s footsteps in some way, and that the competitive drive to be a champion in Muay Thai can be hereditary.