Teaching a Nations Sport as a Foreigner: In's & Out's
Updated: Nov 27, 2018
Kru Sorn's Muay Thai camp is located in Nong Chok, Thailand where about 75% of the population are Muslims while 22% are Buddhists.The camp is attached to his house located away from traffic on a back road not too far from Nong Chok's market. The camp has a variety of bags, matted flooring, a canvas ring, hundreds of pictures and trophies showing the lineage and legitimacy. Kru Sorn is Muslim and is known by the community for "taking care" of the local children and his camp shows, every time I tell a local I'm training with Kru Sorn I'm told "very good" with two thumbs up. On any given day there will be 20+ kids training or playing swords. Many of the kids are full-time fighters and a number of them are regional champions. Teaching here at Kru Sorn camp has been an honor and is certainly one for the books. Teaching is one of my favorite things and the fact I get to do it around the world and regularly is a true blessing. Last week after just two sessions of hitting pads and conversing with Kru (teacher) and the students here, Kru asked me if I could come this week at 2pm to help teach a high school his camp is hosting, keep in mind this group of young men have not trained Muay Thai. Being a foreigner in rural areas such as Nong Chok alone comes as a surprise to the locals, much less teaching their countries National Sport as a foreigner. It's safe to say the students were surprised by me being a coach. For the first day it was commonly said "farang" among the high school students, Kru Sorn and others corrected them and said "name Frankie, and Kru". Respect is important in Thailand and although the students and others don't mean any disrespect by saying "farang", calling one by name or by title holds a high level of respect.
Training began at 2PM beginning with a warm up of jumping on tires or skipping rope, shadow boxing with a technique, pads, bag work, and clinching. Students who wanted to were allowed to spar on the last two days. All common techniques were taught from maintaining balance to throwing elbows. It was a great test to my language skills having to speak in Thai and the majority of the time my message was received clearly, if not laughs were had and other coaches would give a helping hand.