I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’m going to keep on saying it until the day I die. My favorite part of training in the Martial Arts is meeting the wonderful, high class people. Some of whom have become good friends of mine. Khuen Khru/Coach Alvin Chan out of Baltimore Maryland is one of them.
I first met Khru Alvin a number of years ago at the Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp. Later I would also see him at the CSW Fighter/Instructor Camp in CA each year. Alvin is a quiet and humble instructor but he really made an impression on me.
At the Thai Camp, we’d always start the mornings off with a 2 or 3 mile run at 6:30 am. Sometimes, by the third day, your legs would be so stiff it would take a good half hour just to stand up straight. Running or even moving for that matter seemed like a stretch of the imagination. At times like that, it was easy to slip into a fog, to just go through the motions and get the run and other exercises out of the way.
Khru Alvin, always made it out in front of me during the runs. He’d turn the corner and make the return trip to camp, but every time, without fail, he would look up from his concentrated gaze to give me a smile and slap fives as we passed during our shared journey of pain.
This always seemed to snap me out of my fatigue induced stupor and remind me that I chose to be wherever I was. I was among friends and we were bound together by a unique experience and the shedding of blood, sweat and tears. And then the world would open up. I would breath deeper, I would begin to smell the fresh mountain air, the semi-sweet tones of pine needles and ferns lacing it with their fragrance. I would remember what a wonderful opportunity I had to train with such incredible people in such an amazing an beautiful place.
Later, he would do the same for me on the runs on the sunny streets of California. More running, more fatigue, the same Khru Alvin, ahead of me on the runs, slapping fives, sharing a laugh, a tip, a technique. He would be there for me when I needed him most, right after being chewn up an spat out by the 185 lb. professional fighters, a familiar face in the room, a training partner and friend, a roll of refuge where I could let my guard down and just enjoy the roll.
He is such a great instructor and an inspiration to me. Quietly but tenaciously pursuing the secrets of the Martial Arts, wherever they may hide. I have found them in him. And here are a precious few. The Shin Across Defense to the Prumb, as well as the Elbow and Power Knee set ups from that position. Not a “Kick” per se but “Big” and well… you get the picture.
Thank you for everything Khuen Khru Alvin!