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Sakchai Nakpayak a legend almost forgotten - จอมสมิงพราย - ศักดิ์ชัยนาคพยัคฆ์


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Hello, and thank you Sylvie for suggesting this. 

First I would like to say this is going to get a bit wordy cause a story like this just can't be told in just a few words. 

My name is Pat Cornett. I'm a Thai American that goes back and forth from USA to Thailand to visit family. I train Muay Thai at Sityodtong LA. When visiting family in Thailand, my family elders would sometimes mention the Legend of my grandmother's brother Sakchai who was a muay thai champ that was handsome and murdered. I didn't know how famous he was then. Family was very humble about it. 

On my last visit 2 years ago my auntie brought Sakchai up again. So I asked if we had any photos. Only one. And it was a big funeral one which had his real name and fight name written on it. I took a picture of it. Thai can be tricky but Sakchai Nakpayak can translate as winning with honor - phantom tiger or ghost tiger.

Back home in the states I decided to Google his name exactly how I thought it would be translated. Only one result which lead me to an old muay thai forum which had a scan of my uncle. Little did I know this was a start of a big rabbit hole. 

One day I decided to message Sylvie and see if she's caught any word of my uncle since she's been around so many master's. I was chancing it. She took a picture of some of the pages my uncle was featured in that she owns. It has his record and a few details on his death. He beat almost all the top guys in the early 1950s including Sagat's grandfather Suk. It didn't stop there on my research.

One day I decided to go back to that old forum to find any further info. One of the commentors who posted scans mentioned the authors name. Alex Tsui. And by golly he has a facebook! I've been talking back and forth with this author and he knows just about everything on Sakchai. He's actually a muay thai historian from China of all places.

Alex has been sending me tons of photos and newspaper articles. And there are talks of a movie. I have dedicated a whole album to my uncle which is open to the public on facebook. I know this probably wouldn't mean much to a whole lot of people and by all rights there are still living master's and champs doing their thing fighting and teaching. But it's amazing to me. I was raised American by my dad. There was a time many years ago that I put my Thai culture aside and just wanted to fit in with the people around me. My parents divorced and finding another thai person was like finding a unicorn.

Sakchai is from Chon Buri. Has a surviving sister. My family contacted her for me if we can find out his gym name. She doesn't remember. But author Alex believes it's called Rayong Blood. Sakchai had a brother who also trained muay thai but passed away. His brother had 3 kids which my family kind of lost touch with. We only know them by nickname. A son named Dtoi or Toy. A daughter who is about 60 years old named Dtauw. The other son's name my mother forgot. Their last names should be Prianprakdee. 

Anyway, this is my cool story. I hope you enjoyed it. I haven't come to the end of the rabbit hole and there is much more information out there. It's just not easy to come by

 

Update: I made a video documentary 

 

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Edited by Pat Cornett
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Hi! Depending on how it's translated, Nakpayak is either Phantom Tiger or Ghost Tiger. So maybe why the poster has a reaper riding a horse? The book that Sylvie has and now I, it says shadow of tiger. This is confusing. As I know it, he came in and pretty much cleaned out the competition during that time. He was also the very first middle weight champion at rajadamnern stadium. 154 pounds fighting the 160ers. Also has never been knocked out. 

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I also would like to add that I'm very lucky and fortunate to find this information. I started a little late, but I am the only one currently that trains muay thai in my family. I started in 1999-2003 and went to the army for several years and didn't pick it back up again till 2015 because of injuries from military service.

 I feel like Sakchai in our family would just have been a forgotten memory to us. I understand I think. It's wasn't a happy ending for Sakchai. But I and others are keeping his memory alive. 

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It's very cool that you are connecting to and researching your family like this. The part of his name that's Jom Samingprai is like the top weretiger (like a werewolf, but a tiger), which is pretty incredible. I have some heavy hitters in my own family (Lord Byron and Bach), but they're not nearly as cool and interesting. 

I'll see if I can ask Dieselnoi about Sakchai. Doeselnoi isn't old enough to have known him or seen him fight, but he might have heard about him in some way. 

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The author of the other book mentioned that my uncle had lived or was guided by a person that was his friend named Kim Mang while he stayed in Bangkok. Not sure right now if he was a fighter or a manager. The author Alex Tsui that I've been conversing with said when he goes back to Thailand this year, he's gonna try and find Kim Mang.

 As you know, anyone today that was alive when sakchai was would have to be in their late 60's-100+. I was told by Ajarn Rex a muay thai official out here that there is a Kru Kim that's old enough out here too in California thats an official for the muay thai events as well that might know my uncle. I just don't know yet what his last name is. I remember him but he's supper old and haven't seen him at the fights lately and might have retired. My Kru, Kru Walter at Sityodtong LA tagged him in one of my posts on facebook and also said he might know of sakchai, but kru kim hasn't responded. My guess is he doesn't go online much. I haven't asked my kru yet how to go about getting kru Kim's attention outside of Facebook. I'm a little shy about this kind of behavior. 

In the newspaper article I posted it mentions Sakchai's girlfriend's name. Sunee PoomSluay. She would be 87 today I think. She was a little older than Sakchai when they were dating. He would be 85 today. It would be amazing if she is alive today. 

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Pat, thanks for posting. This is such a great story. Speaks to me as a Thai-american, also with nak muay in the family (who also met an untimely death that isn't talked about at all). That image with the reaper is so amazing, would love to see it as a print or on a shirt or something.

Sylvie, I remember you posting about another Thai-american fighter (Chanon Kuldraree?) who also found a relative in that book of greatest nak muay - maybe he or his family have some further knowledge of Sakpayak?

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My uncle fought some big names in his time. I'm really putting energry into the universe hoping there is some rare filming of my uncle. I just wanna see him in action or get a sense of his style. There has to be!

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found the posts - his father was also a stadium champ circa 1970s, so maybe his father knew of your uncle or has more info. hopefully you can connect! 

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Prin. I spoke to the guy via Instagram. His dad just turned 60. Doesn't think his dad would have known sakchai as he is too young. But will ask if he's ever heard of Sakchai. Which is cool, but would be more beneficial to find someone who actually knew my uncle. 

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9 hours ago, prin said:

Pat, thanks for posting. This is such a great story. Speaks to me as a Thai-american, also with nak muay in the family (who also met an untimely death that isn't talked about at all). That image with the reaper is so amazing, would love to see it as a print or on a shirt or something.

I'm definitely designing a shirt already, profits will go to the Kru Fund. You read my mind!

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21 minutes ago, Pat Cornett said:

Prin. I spoke to the guy via Instagram. His dad just turned 60. Doesn't think his dad would have known sakchai as he is too young. But will ask if he's ever heard of Sakchai. Which is cool, but would be more beneficial to find someone who actually knew my uncle. 

We will ask Sagat what he may have heard. As Suk's grandson/grandnephew he may have stories in the family.

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1 hour ago, Pat Cornett said:

Kevin, I think Sagat's grandfather's last fight was with my grand uncle. I could be wrong. 

If true that would really be something. We had heard that Suk had fought into his 50s. It's hard to guess what stories might have passed down, or even if Sagat is close to that side of the family, but we can try!

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19 hours ago, prin said:

Pat, thanks for posting. This is such a great story. Speaks to me as a Thai-american, also with nak muay in the family (who also met an untimely death that isn't talked about at all). That image with the reaper is so amazing, would love to see it as a print or on a shirt or something.

Sylvie, I remember you posting about another Thai-american fighter (Chanon Kuldraree?) who also found a relative in that book of greatest nak muay - maybe he or his family have some further knowledge of Sakpayak?

Yeah, Chanon is related to both Paruhat and Paruhatlek (his father and uncle, but not sure which is which to him). It's very, very cool that these lineages are being investigated by this generation.

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34 minutes ago, Sylvie_vonD said:

Yeah, Chanon is related to both Paruhat and Paruhatlek (his father and uncle, but not sure which is which to him). It's very, very cool that these lineages are being investigated by this generation.

Yes, I feel it's important. I am the only one that I know is training muay thai in my family. They watch it sometimes on the weekends, but that's just about it. They don't really show interest in trying to know more about my grand uncle. I don't know if it's a Thai thing to just leave it in the past, but I feel he's worth remembering. And not just for me but for our MT community. Who knows, had I known this as a kid I might have embraced my Thai culture more. Or the times I've been assaulted I could have used the knowledge I have now to better protect myself. Life can be tough, and we need all the help we can get. Muay Thai has changed my life. And gave me my life back after being injured. Couldn't even walk unassisted. I was 275lbs. Now 165lbs. 

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4 hours ago, Sylvie_vonD said:

Sakchai was shared on this Muay Thai page. It says much ofbwhat you say about him, and focuses on him being one of only four men ever to beat Suk.

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I might have came across that one when I searched his name in Thai. Really hard, but trying to find out his gym/camp name. I know most fighters take the name of their gym but not sure if that's the case with uncle sakchai. From other translations I was read back, it's said that he was going by Rayong Blood before Nakpayak. I never heard of any of those camp names. 

I messaged a guy who seemed to know a lot about my uncle because on more than 3 occasions he commented on facebook pages about my uncle's record. I used Google translate to message him, and asked him if he knew what school my uncle trained at and I got this in return.

เสียชีวิตไปนานมากแล้ว ช่วงที่เสียชีวิตยังมีชื่อเสียงบนสังเวียนครองแชมป์รุ่นมิดเดิลเวทราชดำเนินอยู่ เป็นนักมวยจากอ.แกลง จ.ระยอง

ประวัติของศักดิ์ชัย นาคพยัคฆ์ เคยเอาชนะคะแนน สุข ปราสาทหินพิมาย ได้

My thai is horrible. And I don't know if I'm getting a good translation in Google translate. 

 

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Sadly, my grand master from Sityodtong has passed. He would have been the right person for me to go to since he was from that era. He came to the states to visit while I was taking a break from muay thai and serving in the military 😞  Then again, I didn't even know all that I know about my uncle now back then. I do feel time is short in finding anyone who is living that was alive when my uncle was. 

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I just recorded my mother reading some newspaper articles I printed out about my uncle. Some interesting story bits about his youth before he started training. I'll try and edit the videos and post them somehow. But its all the same stuff that's in my Facebook album dedicated to my uncle. 

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New development. I found Sakchai's nephew via Facebook. He made a post about his grandfather which is sakchai's brother who also boxed. I contacted him but hasn't responded. But apparently Sakchais brother was the founder of Nakpayak boxing camp. But every time I search งค่ายมวย นาคพยัคฆ์ Samart Payakaroon's gym keeps showing up. Who I have also met. 

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Update. I was able to get in contact with relatives in Chon Buri. One of them has a box with the last remaining belongings of Sakchai and they are passing it on to me. For sure there is his fight robe in there. Not sure if his belt is in there, but if it is, I plan on framing it. I'm guessing it's the one in this photo. I wonder if there is any wording on the back. Sakchai on the far left. I really gotta get my butt over there! 

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Edited by Pat Cornett
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    • Hi, this might be out of the normal topic, but I thought you all might be interested in a book-- Children of the Neon Bamboo-- that has a really cool Martial Arts instructor character who set up an early Muy Thai gym south of Miami in the 1980s. He's a really cool character who drives the plot, and there historically accurate allusions to 1980s martial arts culture. However, the main thrust is more about nostalgia and friendships.    Can we do links? Childrenoftheneonbamboo.com Children of the Neon Bamboo: B. Glynn Kimmey: 9798988054115: Amazon.com: Movies & TV      
    • Davince Resolve is a great place to start. 
    • I see that this thread is from three years ago, and I hope your journey with Muay Thai and mental health has evolved positively during this time. It's fascinating to revisit these discussions and reflect on how our understanding of such topics can grow. The connection between training and mental health is intricate, as you've pointed out. Finding the right balance between pushing yourself and self-care is a continuous learning process. If you've been exploring various avenues for managing mood-related issues over these years, you might want to revisit the topic of mental health resources. One such resource is The UK Medical Cannabis Card, which can provide insights into alternative treatments.
    • Phetjeeja fought Anissa Meksen for a ONE FC interim atomweight kickboxing title 12/22/2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu92S6-V5y0&ab_channel=ONEChampionship Fight starts at 45:08 Phetjeeja won on points. Not being able to clinch really handicapped her. I was afraid the ref was going to start deducting points for clinch fouls.   
    • Earlier this year I wrote a couple of sociology essays that dealt directly with Muay Thai, drawing on Sylvie's journalism and discussions on the podcast to do so. I thought I'd put them up here in case they were of any interest, rather than locking them away with the intention to perfectly rewrite them 'some day'. There's not really many novel insights of my own, rather it's more just pulling together existing literature with some of the von Duuglus-Ittu's work, which I think is criminally underutilised in academic discussions of MT. The first, 'Some meanings of muay' was written for an ideology/sosciology of knowledge paper, and is an overly long, somewhat grindy attempt to give a combined historical, institutional, and situated study of major cultural meanings of Muay Thai as a form of strength. The second paper, 'the fighter's heart' was written for a qualitative analysis course, and makes extensive use of interviews and podcast discussions to talk about some ways in which the gendered/sexed body is described/deployed within Muay Thai. There's plenty of issues with both, and they're not what I'd write today, and I'm learning to realise that's fine! some meanings of muay.docx The fighter's heart.docx
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