NO ONE has taught us – Why we do not disclose the names of our teachers
The existence of a lineage that is as impressive as possible and a long line of teachers with several dazzling names is very important for many Asian martial arts. In many cases, the reference to the lineage and its traditions serves as a blanket justification for the existence of a martial art, to establish trustworthiness (marketing) and to enforce its rules (establishment of a belief structure, monetization, etc.) – no matter if this makes sense in terms of fighting or not.
In Pahuyuth we are proud that we do not need all these things. We neither worship our teachers, nor do we put them in the spotlight, and above all we do not disclose their names or the origin of their knowledge to anyone. In most cases we do not even know their true identity and simply call them “a teacher”, which is part of our millennia-old tradition and culture.
An example of one of these commando units was the DAB NARESUAN, a 16th century military unit. Chr. on the order of King Naresuan, which consisted of Pahuyuth swordsmen and was asked to protect the country in case of an invasion and carry out covert operations. Other free warrior units are said to have appeared like ghosts out of nowhere during battles, fulfilled their respective missions and then returned to their home villages. To this day no one knows where they came from, who they were or from whom they learned how to fight.
Wise and prudent rulers such as the aforementioned King Naresuan and others were well aware of the enormous value of the free warriors as paramilitary guerrilla troops. With the help of the ancient free warriors, they won countless battles, successfully fought invaders from all directions and formed entire kingdoms. In return, they let the Free-Fighters go in peace and freedom, thus assuring their continued loyalty.
This loyalty only ended with the execution of King Tak Sin and 200 of his loyal Pahuyuth free warriors in 1782 AD. For fear of political persecution, the surviving free warriors withdrew from the public and went underground. The knowledge about the existence of the ancient free warriors was erased from the history books.
Just like members of modern special forces, all these asymmetrically operating guerrilla warriors had to hide their true identities, which is why they took on fictitious names or call signs during their operations. This life-prolonging “tradition of discretion” is continued in the Pahuyuth community until today – but with a slightly different goal than fulfilling clandestine operations.
Then as now, members of special forces do not reveal their identity.
Warrior names in the modern age (students)
With the admission as a Pahuyuth student into the college of practitioners and the entrance into the beginner level of Pahuyuth (green belt) Pahuyuth students receive an own fantasy name or warrior name from their fellow students. Mostly these names derive from fictional characters from the pop culture or personalities of contemporary history, who are said to have similar characteristics as the respective student.
Given warrior names are seldom flattering, but they almost always meet the individual character of the owner. They purpose is to stimulate reflection on one’s own personality and thus promote personality development.
Since the character of a person can change or a new aspect can emerge, another name can be given in later examinations (white belt and black belt). In many cases members of Pahuyuth are known to each other exclusively under their warrior names.
The tradition of the warrior names was taken over into the modern age and nowadays serves mainly educational purposes.
Warrior names in the modern age (teachers)
With the entrance into the teaching level of Pahuyuth (starting with blue belt) Pahuyuth practitioners lose their student status and also their given warrior name. From now on they either known as nameless warriors within the Pahuyuth community or they choose one or more warrior names for themselves, which traditionally often refer to ghosts or vengeful spirits.
The background of this tradition is on the one hand based on the renunciation of worldly life (the student status). On the other hand, it is about the fact that members of the teaching level have to define themselves as warriors at every moment, which is to be understood especially for prospective teachers (blue belt) as a hint to deal with their own status and the resulting responsibility as warriors and as human beings in order to promote their personal self-discovery and self-knowledge.
Furthermore, members of the teaching level are no longer assumed to be “living” (active) fighters who strive for victories and recognition. Instead, the symbolic knowledge transfer of a “spirit from a bygone era” now moves into focus, which is why the real names of teachers in Pahuyuth are neverpublished or brought to the fore.
Just like the given warrior name, the self-chosen warrior name traditionally serves to protect an inactive person from persecution or hunts. By the way, this applies to both the analogue and the digital world of the 21st century.
Apart from that, Pahuyuth has never been about the mediator of knowledge (person), but exclusively about the knowledge or the mediation of the knowledge itself (competence). Real fighting knowledge always exists and works independently from the person who has passed it on. Therefore questions about the origin of a teacher or the origin of a teachers fighting knowledge is usually answered as follows
„I am no one. I come from nowhere and I go into nowhere. I was taught by no one and I help someone to become no one.“
A question of faith – demarcation from Thai culture
Pahuyuth is much older than Thailand and Siam. It originated more than 4,500 years ago from the rebellion against violence, oppression and slavery. The culture of the Thais emerged much later and was formed by Theravada Buddhism, among others, which spread among the Thais around 100 AD.
Social hierarchy and the associated obedience to authority or the subjugation of the individual in favour of retaining power are an integral part of Thai culture and explicitly NOT that of Pahuyuth. The Pahuyuth free warriors have always striven for individual freedom and equality among people, which is in contrast to most Southeast Asian cultures.
There is indeed also in the Thai culture the use of nicknames. In contrast to the warrior names of Pahuyuth, however, these are limited to very simple and catchy terms that make everyday life easier. The fighter names of Muay Thai fighters are again the names of the boxing stables they come from and for which they earn money in the ring. This can also be seen as a signs of non-freedom and serfdom.
At this point we would like to emphasize that we (Pahuyuth) have nothing against Thai culture or the inhabitants of this country in principle. We only want to point out the differences to the Pahuyuth culture.
The individual has to subordinate himself – is Thailand really a free country?
Muay Thai fighters carry the names of their promoters.
PAHUYUTH is the martial art of the free people.
It was born out of rebellion against violence, oppression and slavery.
It was developed to defend against superior enemies.
It is passed on to preserve a life of peace and freedom.
Pahuyuth warriors are free warriors, inwardly and outwardly.
How can I believe that Pahuyuth works without a proper lineage?
The answer is simple: You don’t. Not at all. Never. The teaching system of Pahuyuth has always been based on knowledge and not on faith.
To believe in something means to take a presumed truth from another person. This may be perfectly fine in many areas of life. However, for martial artists such “assumed truths” can lead to serious health consequences. For example when it comes to having to defend oneself.
In order to prevent such problems from arising in the first place, the teaching system of Pahuyuth was designed in such a way that it is explicitly not based on the belief in handed-down information or its source.
Pahuyuth students are only imparted theses during their education, which have to be individually tested, logically understood and critically questioned by each student. There is no claim to truth or guarantee for the origin of these theses. Widely spread sentences like “My master / teacher / kru / sifu / ajarn / trainer / coach has said…” do not exist in Pahuyuth.
Instead, Pahuyuth students learn to rely on their own judgment and to replace believes with their own insights. The individual self-experience thus generated usually results in genuine professional competence that functions independently of any belief and does not require any reference to the lineage and any kind of doctrinal line of Pahuyuth knowledge.
He was a great fighter… until his first fight.
– Old saying
Confusing faith and knowledge has brought many fighters a heavy defeat.