At the start of my documentary project of the Muay Thai Library – which seeks to archive long-form training videos with some of the best krus and ex-fighters in Thailand while also chronicling my personal growth as a fighter through this process – I wanted to give something more to the amazing men that have become part of the subject of this unique Library. We stand at a turning point in Muay Thai (there have been many already), in which the generation of men from the Golden Age are starting to recede from public view; some no longer train students, some of them have already passed away. The importance of documenting not only the incredible and beautiful Muay of these legends, but also capturing the personalities, expressions and men themselves in these long-form videos, is worthy. My aim is to really film and preserve the techniques and styles of over one hundred krus and ex-fighters, in these lengthy sessions, and to help others study from legends – as not everyone has the opportunity to train under them, or even to come to Thailand. And for those who are following and supporting me, this Library hopefully gives added insight into my own process as a fighter, as I seek to absorb pieces and movements of what I learn from these men. And even more than this, more than techniques or moves, it is my hope that the energy and personalities of these men, many of them great champions of the Golden Age, or men who have dedicated decades to instruction, will be time capsuled, because words don’t describe it. And there is nobody else like them; they’re not even alike to each other.
You can see the Patreon Muay Thai Library here, there are already 16 hours of footage shot and posted with recorded commentary.
The impulse to create a lasting method of benefiting these trainers as their teachings continue to benefit those who are watching the videos created a bit of a puzzle. Any kind of royalty idea was seriously complicated by the fact that when someone pledges to support the project through Patreon, and have access to the video, they are not making a purchase. A Patreon pledge is subscribing to and crowdsourcing a documentary project as a whole, not an individual video lesson as one might purchase an E-book or PDF, or more traditionally a DVD. Additionally, these pledges are not solely for the support of my Library, but also everything I do that allows the various content provided both in Patreon and for free on my website and YouTube channel: my fighting, writing, traveling to see these legends, etc. Patreon allows this website and all its free, written articles to exist, my podcasts with Emma, the forum, and also covers my training and fighting, and living expenses. What I do is communally supported and woven together, and my Patreon includes significant payment by my sponsors, and monthly gifts from my mother and family. It’s everyone together and it’s everything I can provide online all together.
Recently I jumped to action in order to help raise money for the medical expenses of a personal hero and absolute legend, Dieselnoi, who has been facing significant health problems – and we raised over $2,700 dollars so far . In the process of accomplishing this, it got me thinking that there has to be a way, as the Library grows beyond the level of self-sustaining pledges, to pass some advantage back to the krus I train and film with. I do of course pay them directly for each private, whatever price they ask, and I do actively promote their gyms and their legacy in order to raise interest and build pathways for new business for them; but it’s best if they too can get a continuous benefit as the Library grows as well. I’ve designed the Muay Thai Library to be something that is accessible to almost everyone, with full access to these unique instructions available for even $1 (the suggested pledge is $5), but as enthusiasm grows I want it to feed back also over to those I’ve learned from.
So this is the tentative plan: I’ve created what I’m calling a “Kru Fund,” which is a separate bank account into which I’ll deposit a 5% royalty-like amount from Patreon support each month, so long as the pledges remain at self-sustaining levels. This will continue to accrue over 5 years (my hope that is in five years I will have filmed 100 krus and ex-fighters for the Library). At that point I can distribute this sum to all the krus that I’ve filmed with for the first four years (final year subjects will be rolled over into the next fund), portioned according to size of the role they have played in the Library (I’ve recorded more hours with some krus than others, for example). The benefit of creating a fund like this is that I can also raise money to be added to the fund, beyond even Patreon. For instance, from this point forward and for the foreseeable future I’ll be adding 100% of the net proceeds of the sale of my Miss Gangster Knee shirt to the Kru Fund, increasing the total to be divided among the teachers. Additionally, on each video posting will be something like a “tip box” where people can, if they are really struck by the kru and the session, pass gratuity to them individually, just as one would if you took the session in Thailand. “Tip this Kru” kind of thing. The platform of the Library can then potentially become some source of direct income and appreciation for each kru.
So to sum up:
- 5% of my Patreon Pledges will go to the Kru Fund which will be distributed by shares of contribution at the cash out time*.
- 100% of the net proceeds of the sale of my Miss Gangster Knee shirt will be added to the Kru Fund.
- Patrons are now able to individually tip specific krus on each post, potentially creating a direct revenue stream for them. When sending money through PayPal for “Tip this Kru”, be sure to include the name of the Kru you wish to tip in the “memo” box. PayPal address: firstname.lastname@example.org
What I’m really hoping is that the Kru Fund will be able to expand beyond the Patreon royalty-type concept, into something substantial that might be able to help some of the less fortunate ex-fighters, but I’m not quite sure how that will play out. Perhaps some sort of additional fund raising efforts can be be linked to this project. While some of these remarkable men are doing well financially, owning their own gyms or in businesses beyond Muay Thai, some are less fortunate, and there needs to be benefaction towards them when there is success. I hope the Muay Thai Library and the Kru Fund can be part of that, and I’ll keep looking for ways to support these remarkable men.
If you’d like to help add to my Kru Fund all net proceeds of the sale of my Miss Gangster Knee shirt go towards this:
If there is a kru in the Library already that you would like to send benefaction to, out of sheer appreciation, just use the PayPal address email@example.com – if you have any problems using PayPal just send me an email at that same address.
This is still an idea in development, I’ll keep you posted as things change!