“Muay Thai is not only a sport but it is a philosophy and an art that is deeply entrenched in history.”
-Ajahn Suchart, from his entry ‘Naming A Muay Thai Camp Or Gym’
Earlier this year, Ajahn Suchart Yodkerepauprai began sharing his teachings of muay thai publicly on his blog. Born in the early 1960s, Ajahn started muay thai at the age of nine in Thailand’s Karin village of Maethoe, in the province of Mae Hong Son near the Myanmar border. Currently Ajahn Suchart is based in Toronto, Canada; he has been instructing muay thai in the city since 1987. Ajahn is the founder of Siam No. 1 muay thai gym and is responsible for shaping a number of champions who have illuminated the world muay thai stage. His list of fighters includes Clifton Brown, Matt Embree and Simon Marcus. Ajahn Suchart’s influence on muay thai in Canada, from laying a foundation of the sport within the country to being critical in its growth, is widespread. There are many gyms currently operating that are of Ajahn’s lineage who share his teachings, respect and love of muay thai.
I’ve never trained under Ajahn, but I’ve directly been impacted by his generosity. He was instrumental in my obtaining a Thai visa to train muay thai in Thailand for the first time in 2007. At the time, I was studying at a gym owned by one of his students and Ajahn graciously offered to write me a letter of recommendation. I received a six month visa as a result, and so began my journey and education in muay thai in Thailand.
Four years of my life were spent training in Thailand full-time and there is much about the traditions and spiritual elements that I have yet to learn. After one spends a considerable time training in Thailand and if they’re inquisitive about the Art of it, it’s evident that aspects are often neither discussed nor taught. Sometimes, the reasons are simply because the trainers don’t have the knowledge to share. This is part of the muay thai game. If you’re fortunate, you’ll learn much of what your trainer knows. However, the teachings of muay thai, thus its lineages, are not the same. Muay thai is like anything else, some people’s knowledge and wisdom delves deeper than others, as does their willingness to share.
Ajahn Suchart’s love and respect of the Art and his passion for teaching muay thai is evident in his writing. The respect he garners is reflected in the support of a multitude of students.
To deepen your understanding of the traditional and spiritual elements of muay thai as learned and shared by Ajahn Suchart, please visit him at AjahnSuchart.com.
From Ajahn Suchart’s Archives
From Love ∼ Respect ∼ Believe:
“When your practice turns to be an art, you have completed the 3 steps of love, respect and believe. Your work is beautiful. People often see Muay Thai as brutal but they never see the beauty.”
“The ceremony is about the bless for the fighters and team for safety when travelling. It is also, and especially, for the fighters to fight safely in the ring and to give power to achieve victory in the ring without injury. The blessing is intended for the opponent to have safety in the ring also.”
“These 3 steps are the traditonal: way pra, tawai prapom, and ram promsina. This is what has been done for the last centuries. Today you may see so many different movements and kinds of dance or action. The owners of the gyms or the trainers teach their fighters to do the dance as a way to tell a story.”
“This is part of the traditional elements of Muay Thai. The mongkon and prajioud are not to be used as ranking systems or for commercial use in gyms…when I see fighters in the professional and amateur fights go up to the ring and have the symbol of prajioud and mongkon I feel so proud because I know that Muay Thai is not just used for training and fighting but that people around the world also accept the spiritual, the beautiful and the culture of Thai people.”