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Master Toddy, Woody and Kevin Llyod Were Not At Origin Muaythai fighters

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Admin note: this post has been locked because the original post has been significantly edited changing its context and meaning. Forums conduct discussions through replies not through edits. The title has been edited for clarity toward the original post.


Muay Thai in England had a contradictory origin, the introduction was through Master Sken who was a pupil of Taek Kwon Do (TKD) Master named Sook Joon Ahn. Although Thai, Sken (Sken Kaewpadung), Toddy (Thohsaphol Sitiwatjana) and Master Woody (Chinawut Sirisompan) were actually dissidents of Taekwondo, that is, their technique did a mix of Boxing and Taekwondo, allied to a technique of Boxing and Muaythai of basic level, of his friend Master Toddy. In the initial period many athletes of the British TKD were fighting in the Muaythai, precisely because of this influence of Master Sken, where a different "plastic" or techniques that did not seem of the MuayThai were perceived in that period and yes TKD in the events of England, very kick high, jumping, spinning, restricted use of knees, had no elbow, little clinch and rarely did a knockout. With internal disagreements, Toddy and Woody begins to form their own group, for even with their Muaythai only Basic level. Some time after such facts is implanted in England the Royal Thai Airlines, which culminates with the coming and flight of Thailand with this the immigration of several Thais. Factors added, which as an immediate consequence, have improved the technical level of the British Muaythai, so much so that they had a great world champion, the fighter Ronnie Green who was the first Western to unify the titles of KickBoxing and Muaythai.
With this these Thais who actually originated in Muaythai pass the informs that Sken, Toddy and Master Woody. They were not Muaythai fighters and had never fought at Muaythai in Thailand. So much so that none of the three have record of fight, photographic or film. And neither Mauythai event in Thailand.
The solution found by them was to speak that they teach not Muaythai and yes Muay Boran, the ancient art of Thai warriors for battle on the battlefield. It was then that they resolved to revive Muay Boran, who was in danger of extinction. Consequently, he not only persevered in his own personal formation in this art, but began to teach his students in the same way. With this as no one knew what was Muay Boran no one could dispute what they were taught.
In this way he began to insert graduations in the Muaythai (something that does not exist) invented uniform saying that it should be used in Muay Boran because they were traditional Thai uniform which is also a lie.
To make it official they decided to create Muay Boran organizations. Woody creates the Kru Muay Thai Association (KMA) and later the World Muay Boran Federation (WMBF).
With the success and worldwide fame of Muaythai achieved in MMA competitions. Woody advised by Iranian fighting promoter Sasan Ghosairi decided to create the World Muay Thai Organization (WMO) so they could sell Muaythai's cursor and graduations around the world.

 

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This is a really interesting post. I will say that as an admin here the forum isn't the place for politically minded arguments (including politics in the Muay Thai world), we are trying to build a non-argumentative, informing space that celebrates Muay Thai, broadly. But your post does raise interesting larger questions, and the photographs are very cool.

The most important and perhaps relevant question is What is Authentic Muay Thai? Yes, there were TKD roots to the introduction of Muay Thai into England, but this was literally multiple decades ago. TKD was an international sensation at the time, and many Thais were drawn to the art. But...there is no denying that both Master Woody and Master Toddy have dedicated their lives to Muay Thai, not only as businessmen, but as ambassadors, translators of the sport and art, and as teachers. Neither was a fighter as far as I know, but many, many worthy instructors and teachers were not fighters, or were only fighters of meager careers. Muay Thai, as it has washed over the shores of other countries relied on the promulgation of these kinds of men, capturing, celebrating, forwarding the art and sport, appealing to the trends in fighting sports as they were in the countries Muay Thai landed in. There was a time when I took umbrage at just who was calling themselves "Master", but I've come to realize that Master is a kind of term of Muay Thai business when Muay Thai entered in the west, encountering a context of Traditional Martial arts. I think there can be no doubt though that both of these men have been powerful forces in the internationalization of Muay Thai. And yes, this is Muay Thai. I know much less about Master Woody's career and business, but Master Toddy has been perhaps the most influential figure in the forwarding of female Muay Thai in the west (and concordantly, through influence, in Thailand as well). Just the sweep of each of their careers cement them as pillars in the modern Muay Thai story. 

Now, is their part "real" Muay Thai? I think it is wrong to suggest that because they had TKD in their background they do not, or have not represented and furthered Muay Thai. I can say, just in terms of legitimacy, when you enter a gym in Thailand, it's the quality of the pad holders that pretty much determines the substance of the Muay Thai that emerges from that gym, and both of these men (I presume, I've been in Master Toddy's gym multiple times) carry pad men who handle students more than capably. Real, fight-oriented Muay Thai.

There are interesting issues of authenticity of taught style. Master Toddy, having literally decades of instructing westerners, has developed a philosophy on how westerners can beat Thai style fighting. He has developed teaching methods that are unique and principles that emphasize certain skills and traits. Everything that I've seen from him (a few visits) was not only very interesting, but it was well within the cannon of Muay Thai proper, as far as I could tell. I think people make the mistake of imagining that Muay Thai is a narrow fighting sport, when in fact it is filled with technique and teaching variety, and it has been absorbing influences from different martial arts since its modern inception when it was taught to cadets beside Judo at Suan Kulap College in the early 1900s. Since that time there is no "pure" Muay Thai, in fact it has long negotiated its nature under the early influence of Judo and then western boxing. Just the other day we were with Rambaa Somdet, and he was teaching Sylvie a Karate/TKD style side kick, and a Judo influenced throw. All that mattered was "this will work". The more we expose ourselves to the great teachers of Thailand the more we are struck by how much variety of technique and influence there is in the art. And I will definitely say that I'd love to film with Master Toddy to archive his influence, his philosophy, his teaching method. It has been born from decades of ushering westerners toward fighting in Thailand. How could this not be Muay Thai.

You also make a very discuss-able point about the Muay Boran outfits that are popularized over the last few years. I think people have to come to realize that "Muay Boran" has been a construction ever since it's beginning. Here's a summation of the origin of the Boran styles:

Quote

King Chulalonkorn formalizes Muay (Boran) by awarding (in 1910) 3 muen (the lowest non-heriditary rank) to victors at the funeral fights for his son Uruphong Ratchasomphot (in 1909). The region-styles: Lopburi, Khorat and Chaiya.Daeng Thaiprasoet from Khorat (north-east) became Muen Changat Choengchok; Klueng Tosa-at from Lopburi (central plains) became Muen Muemaenmat; and Prong Chamnongthong from Chaiya (south) became Muen Muaymichue. Each were to set up kong muay to teach their styles. Boxers at such camps were except from military conscription and forced public labor. source

This act of ordination basically made up Muay Boran by classifying it. It was part of a larger political move that involved taking Muay Thai (Boran) out of the transmission hands of the diverse temples were it was taught, and formalizing it into centers of teaching. From its very beginning it was a constructed (made up, to some degree) thing. And from that time very, very little of what was known, taught and fought with (from those schools of lineage) survives at all. You may have Kru Lek who has been teaching Muay Chaiya in Bangkok, devoting his life to that style, or General Tunwakom, who has devoted himself to Muay Lertrit, but these are very thin connections to the actual knowledge and styles of those days. The entire memory of Muay Boran is fragmented. So, does this mean that it should just be forgotten? No. Instead it has in the recent years been formalized. There have been efforts to catelogue and archive what is still known. And it has been commercialized to some degree. The fabrication of the uniforms is based on traditional dress as far as I can tell, as it has survived in elements. This is a call back to a distant past. The combination of an evoked past and commerce is very Thai. You have a huge resergence of Ayutthya recollection (and dress wear) in Thailand now. In many respects the past is always ideologically (and commercially) reconstructed. This is no different. The interest from westerners in these vast invocations of Muay Thai history helps preserve that history, or that sense of respect that gives Muay Thai an individuality. Is it immune from criticism? But what is really going on here is a recollection and celebration that at least in some ways might help preserve the remaining fragments of a heritage that is otherwise threatened.

The bottom line really is that there is no simple "center point" of authenticity from which to critique all other forms of Muay Thai. The entire thing is constructed and shot through with financial interests. It's wrong to remove Master Toddy and Master Woody from the Pantheon of major figures who have forwarded the art. In the end we are all carrying with us our little ember from the fire that only we can hold, helping it toward the future.

Note: If this post is part of an organized, and persistent character attack on any of the men mentioned in the OP,  and not the beginning of a discussion, the post will be deleted. I'm hoping that instead deeper ideas can be discussed.

Note 2: The original post above has been significantly edited, as if in response to what I had written, to now include Master Sken, and other descriptions. It is now locked.

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