Ajarn Rex stood in the center of the field of screams as over a hundred and forty dedicated Thai Boxers looked on. Wind moved through the towering pines that surrounded us on all sides, producing the sound of applause.
As we listened, Ajarn Rex recounted his humble beginnings and expressed his gratitude for Ajarn Chai and how much he has done to promote and spread the art of Muay Thai.
Then he paused and his hands came up to his face as his voice began to waiver. “When I first came to this country, I did everything, everything I could to help Muay Thai.” He said. “Now, I look around and I see all these white guys. We dug a hole and planted a seed. Now that seed has grown and the tree is growing bigger and my dream has come true.”
And as Ajarn Rex said this, I began to think back to the week before. Khuen Khru Will Bernales had just administered a Thai Boxing “Shorts” test and the room was full of eager and excited students. I can remember a time, when it was only a hand full of us, some of us only taking privates. There are really only four of us left since those times, Brandon Kiser, Dillon, Shy Solomon and myself. But now the classes have grown and for the first time, two of my own students were testing for the right to wear their Thai Shorts under my instructor Khuen Khru Will.
It would certainly seem as though the seed has taken root at least here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Growth has been slow but it has been steady. And now, even I can say that many that began are no longer with me. But I can see the future, and there are buds beginning to flower. Muay Thai’s branches are continuing to spread and it’s beauties are being seen by more and more followers.
With any luck, even after the father tree has fallen, there will be plentiful, strong and equally as beautiful saplings to carry on the line and the spirit of Muay Thai.