NO ONE has taught us – Why we do not disclose the names of our teachers
The presence of a lineage as impressive as possible and a long line of teachers with dazzling names is very important for many Asian martial arts.
In many cases, the reference to the doctrinal line and its traditions serves as a blanket justification for the existence of a fighting style, for the establishment of trustworthiness (marketing) and for the enforcement of its rules (establishment of a belief structure, monetarization, etc.) – regardless of whether or not this makes sense from a fighting point of view.
At Pahuyuth, we pride ourselves on not needing all of these things. We neither worship our teachers, nor do we put them in the spotlight and above all we do not reveal 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.
Image: The Free-Warriors of Bang Rachan
Pahuyuth – The tradition of discretion
Pahuyuth – along with a few other things – is the traditional fighting style of paramilitary Free-Warriors and mercenaries who have fought countless wars and conducted clandestine operations throughout Southeast Asia over many centuries.
An example of one of these commando units was the DAAB NARESUAN, a swordsman unit established in the 16th century AD. It was formed on the orders of King Naresuan and consisted of Pahuyuth swordsmen who were asked to protect the country in the event of an invasion and to carry out covert operations. Other Free-Warrior units appeared like ghosts from nowhere in battles, fulfilled their respective missions and then returned to their home villages. Until today nobody knows where they came from, who they were or from whom they had 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 fighting forces. 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-Warriors go in peace and freedom, thus assuring themselves of their continued loyalty.
This loyal relationship only ended with the execution of King Tak Sin and 200 of the Pahuyuth Free-Warriors loyal to him in 1782 A.D. For fear of political persecution, the surviving Free-Warriors withdrew from the public eye 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 units, all these asymmetrically operating guerrilla warriors had to hide their true identity, which is why they used to assume 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 clandestine operations.
Then as now, members of special forces do not reveal their identity.
Warrior-Names in the modern age (students)
Participants of our trial training are asked to choose a warrior-name. This serves, on the one hand, as data protection and, on the other hand, as a first step in psychological self-adjustment in the sense of the dual teaching concept.
Upon acceptance as a Pahuyuth student into the College of Graduates and entry into the learning level of Pahuyuth (green belt), students then receive a given warrior-name from their fellow students under which they henceforth are known. Most of them are fictional characters from pop culture or personalities from contemporary history, who are said to have similar character traits as the respective student.
Given Warrior-Names are rarely flattering, but almost always meet the individual character of the wearer. They are intended to stimulate reflection on one’s own personality and thus promote personal development.
Since the character of a person can change or a new aspect can come to light, a different name can also be given in later exams (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 (Teacher)
When entering the teaching level of Pahuyuth (starting with blue belt), practitioners of Pahuyuth lose their student status and also their given Warrior-Name. From now on they are known within the Pahuyuth community either as nameless wariors, or they choose one or more Warrior-Names for themselves, which traditionally often refer to evil spirits or spirits of revenge.
The background of this tradition is on the one hand based on the idea of letting go the worldly life (the student status). On the other hand it is about the fact that members of the teaching level have to define themselves in every moment independently as warriors, which is to be understood in particular for prospective teachers (
Furthermore, members of the teaching level are no longer assumed to be “living” (active) fighters who strive for victories and recognition. Instead, now the symbolic knowledge transfer from a “spirit from the past time” comes into focus, which is why the real names of teachers in Pahuyuth are never published or brought to the fore.
Just like the given name, the self-chosen name traditionally serves to protect an inactive person from persecution or hunts. By the way, this applies to both the analog and the digital world of the 21st century.
Apart from that, Pahuyuth has never been about the mediator of knowledge (person), but exclusively about knowledge or knowledge mediation itself (competence). Genuine martial knowledge exists and always works independently of the person who passes on this knowledge. Therefore the question about the origin of a teacher or his martial arts knowledge is usually answered by members of the teaching level 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 become a no one.”
A Question of Faith – Demarcation from Thai Culture
Pahuyuth is much older than Thailand and Siam. It was born several thousand years ago from rebellion against violence, oppression and slavery.
The culture of the Thai developed only substantially later and was formed among other things by the Theravada Buddhism, which found spreading about 100 A.D. with the Thais.
Social hierarchy and the associated obedience to authority or the subjugation of the individual in favor of retaining power are an integral part of Thai culture and explicitly NOT that of Pahuyuth.
There is 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, which facilitate the communication in everyday life.
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 be seen as a sign of unfreedom up to serfdom.
At this point we would like to emphasize that we (Pahuyuth) in principle have nothing against Thai culture or the inhabitants of this country. We only want to point out the differences to the culture of Pahuyuth.
The individual has to subordinate himself – is Thailand really a free country?
Muay Thai fighters carry the names of their promoters.
How can I believe that Pahuyuth works at all without ancestry and lineage?
The answer is simple: You shouldn’t. The teaching system of Pahuyuth has always been based not on faith but on knowledge.
To believe in something is to take a supposed truth from another person. This may be perfectly fine in many areas of life. For martial artists however, such “adopted truths” can have serious health consequences. For example, when it comes to having to defend yourself.
In order to prevent such problems from arising in the first place, the teaching system of Pahuyuth was constructed in such a way that it is explicitly not based on the belief in the Free-Warrior knowledge that has been handed down.
Pahuyuth students are taught only theses as part of their education, which must be individually tested, logically comprehended, and critiqued by each student. There is no claim to truth or guarantee for the origin of these theses here. Widely used phrases such as
“But my master / teacher / kru / sifu / sensei / ajarn / trainer / instructor / coach said…”
are not be found in Pahuyuth.
Instead, Pahuyuth students learn to rely on their own judgment and replace accepted truths with their own insights. The individual self-awareness generated in this way usually results in genuine professional competence, which functions independently of any belief and requires no reference to the lineage and teaching line of Pahuyuth knowledge.
Confusing faith and knowledge has brought many fighters a heavy defeat.