How Will You Be Remembered?

How Will You Be Remembered?

Friday 6:24 PM

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

On 8 February 2013, Kru Yodtong Senanan passed away. Outside of my parents, he had the greatest influence on my life. When I was just a kid, he took me under his wings to teach me the beautiful art of Muay Thai.

I saw him for the last time when the 6 of us pushed his casket into the fire for cremation while thousands in attendance mourned. I remember how heavy the casket was. I remember the flames engulfing the casket. I remember the deep sadness in my heart. It was very difficult to know that I would never see him again. Thousands of people from all over Thailand (and even around the world) flocked to his funeral to pay respect to one of the greatest legends in history. Without a doubt, he gave this world far more than he ever received from it. He developed the most beautiful, technical style of Muay Thai. He produced the most number of Muay Thai World Champions in history. He helped thousands of orphans and underprivileged children lead a better life. He changed the world.

He died as he had lived most of his life – penniless. He was not penniless because he lived a materialistic life. He was not penniless because he couldn’t make any money. He was not penniless because he had bad luck. He was penniless simply because he always chose to give everything he had to those less fortunate than himself. His generosity was the definition of the human spirit born free. His whole life was about giving to the world. He gave thousands of impoverished children and orphans an opportunity to change their lives through the art of Muay Thai.

Several years before his passing, Kru Yodtong won US$2 million in the lottery in Thailand. He proceeded to give away all of his winnings. People from all over the region flocked to Sityodtong Gym. He listened to each stranger’s story and he gave out what he thought was an appropriate amount to each person. For a few days straight, Sityodtong Gym was a sea of people – literally. It was a crazy mad zoo. Kru Yodtong ended up giving away everything he had even though he was poor himself.

Success can never be measured by big houses, luxury cars, or fancy clothes. For me, greatness can only be measured by what you do for others. Thank you Kru for not only teaching me how to fight, but for teaching me how to live. Until we meet again, I will do my best to honor your legacy.




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