TV report about the Muai-Thai Studio (1981)
On this page we share a TV report and report of the Thai state television (channel 10) about the Muai-Thai Studio from 1981. The video is in Thai with German and English subtitles. A transcription as well as information on the historical context can be found further down the page.
In the heart of the city of Berlin. In the middle of tall buildings and elegant shops, we find a Muai Thai studio, which is taught by Mr. Santhas Supastrapong. Mr. Santhas, the teacher, is of the opinion that if Muai Thai and Krabi Krabong are already taught, they must also be practiced properly, following the Thai culture. Already in ancient times it was strictly praised that the Wai Kru is something very important, which must be presented by all students in beautiful form. With a sense of respect for the teacher evoked by gratitude and appreciation. How beautifully this young German man implements the Wai Kru please see for yourself here.
It is incredible that we have found this school here in Germany that teaches Muay Thai. But it is true, because the place where I am sitting right now is the said school, which fills the Thai people with great pride by passing on and teaching.
Many things are taught here.
Right. What are you teaching besides Muay Thai?
Well, there is the Ling Lom discipline. The Krabi Krabong discipline. Fan Daab. Thai weapons. Regarding thai weapons there are like.. This here..Mied San (short knife). Mied San, there is Kwan (axe), Kiaw (sickle). There is the .. Mai .. Mai Krom Faek. Kwan. And there is the Loh (Kind of shield). And the Grarok (kind of shield). Sae (whip). And there are various kinds of Hae (nets) and the Hok (spears). All the Dang (Kind of shield). So the weapons.. All kinds of weapons that are used in Thai fighting. It’s all here.
How many students do you have right now?
Now there are about 80 people.
Are there also women?
There are twelve women.
And most of them are German, right?
Most of them are Germans and..
Are there also Thai students? Earlier I saw some Thai students walking right up here. Boys.
Yes. So, they come once in a while when there is interest. Thai kids don’t have much time. Most of them also have to study when they come here.
So now the thing that interests me is if the opening of such a school is certified by Germany. Or did you open it secretly?
I didn’t open it secretly. So, Germany itself didn’t trust the whole thing very much when I opened school in the beginning. Whether the school would be good enough. So, for example, they sent people to check how the school is structured. Because there are schools that don’t really exist and so on. There was a lot of fraud. In the end, they sent someone to test us. An academic. And now, as you can see for yourself, we have books and programs, whereas this program here being the first one that I’ve really put on paper and which is partly in the form of images. But these pictures here The students immediately know which discipline is carried out, why and how. They serve again as an explanation. When they saw this program, they could no longer object. And then you saw the students who, as you have just seen, the students who are learning here, really have knowledge about it. That is precisely why the German state has agreed. The fact that this is really a teaching institute here.
Mr. Santhas has given his school the name ‘Kai Muai Thai’ (Muai Thai School). He transcribed the term Muai Thai directly without giving in to the term “kickboxing” that some foreigners like to use. Mr. Santhas’s reason for this is that foreigners should get to know Muay Thai, that Muay Thai has art in it and has its own ancient history. It has been passed on since the era of Nai Khanom Tom, who even had to be feared by the Burmese.
Until he was finally able to build this learning place of Muay Thai, here in Berlin, as official as it is today, one need not even suspect that Mr. Santhas had to overcome many obstacles. It can be said that Mr Santhas is definitely a role model for the Thai people.
Tomorrow we will visit Mr. Santhas’s family at home, which is also here in Berlin. See you tomorrow.
In the city of Berlin, our faculty has discovered a Muay Thai teaching academy, which legitimately fulfills its tasks and has the confirmation of the German state. The owner of this Muay Thai Institute is Mr. Santhas Supastrapong, who you can see here performing a sword dance.
How long have you been living in Berlin, Mr Santhas?
It’s about 6 years now.
And he here? How old is he?
7 months old.
What is his name?
And when you met, what was your girlfriend doing?
She worked for an airline.
And how long did she live in Munich?
They.. She had only recently graduated and had planned to work. She had just worked for 6 months, so I brought her here to live together.
There are 3 rooms all together. Before that I had 3… 4 rooms downstairs. It was too much for just 2 people. You have to save, so I have reduced to 3 rooms. And there is another kitchen. Another kitchen and a bathroom. So if you add it up, all rooms together make up about 100 sqm. This size and in the middle of the city of Berlin.
As far as I know, the search is not easy.
It’s really very hard. If you don’t know anyone here or have no friends or whatever, you have to spend hundreds of thousands until you get something.
And how did you get the luck to find them?
Or did you advertise something in the newspaper?
No, no. So you never get one.
So the colleagues.. I often worked together with German police officers. And I know a lot of external and internal people from different places.
So you need your contacts.
Exactly. As they say here in Thailand: you need vitamin B. But vitamin B here is not the same as corruption. Here people know each other and really help each other for friendly reasons. Exclusively in groups of friends. Otherwise it won’t work.
Mr. Santhas says without hiding it that he did not actually intend to open a Muay Thai school where Europeans learn in order to earn his living in Germany with it. With a German wife. Since it was necessary, he had to look for work here. In the beginning, he did everything. No matter what kind of work. He also did not reject carrying and lifting work. One day he thought to himself: Kungfu and Chinese martial arts are also taught. And it is very popular with many Germans. Our Muay Thai is much better. One should build a school where this is taught. So Mr. Santhas started to realize this project of opening a camp in Berlin. Because he was of the opinion that he also had the right to be able to teach.
Mr. Santha’s teacher himself is a Dhutanga monk whose ancestors from the Ayutthaya era passed on the knowledge to him. This book here was written by Mr. Santhas to be used as an aid in teaching.
And you can buy that in general?
Yes, exactly. But you should know what the history of Muay Thai is. Nai Kanom Tom, for example, is also in here. Taksin the Great as well. Or the “Tiger King”, as you call him here. The Tiger King. Referred to here as the Tiger King, is also in here. And, for example, how you use your knees, your fists, your elbows and so on. There are pictures that show that it is actually art. So it’s both theory and history of Muay Thai. Starting from the time of Nai Kanom Tom.
The Pahuyuth School was founded in 1975 as the “Muai-Thai Studio” in West-Berlin. It was the first school to make the then unknown “Thai fighting” public in Germany. One of the tasks of this training centre was to promote Thai combat sports (Muay Thai) and Thai culture in Europe. For this reason, at that time one spoke e.g. of “Thai combat sports” or “Thai martial arts”. Measures such as these promoted tourism in Thailand and served to promote culture and the economy.
The Pahuyuth itself is not a “sport” in the sense of a form of play or competition and strictly speaking also not even a “Thai” martial art (Thailand was founded only in 1939 AD – Pahuyuth, on the other hand, is several thousand years old). Nevertheless, it is and remains the origin of all Thai and many Southeast Asian martial arts and combat sports, which is why in the seventies and eighties parts of the Pahuyuth, in agreement with the Thai and German governments, were used to promote “Thai sport” and “Thai culture” in Europe.
1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. Berlin’s special status was removed and the development of the Muai-Thai Studio took an even more authentic direction.
In the nineties, when Thai boxing had become sufficiently well known, the Muai-Thai Studio developed into the now well-known “Pahuyuth School”. The focus of the training shifted to free fighting with and without weapons (Pahuyuth) as well as to the protection and cultivation of all traditional Free-Warrior knowledge (Pahuyuth, Sart Bambatgay and Saiyasart) through education and instruction.
The traditional orientation indirectly led to the development of Muay Boran in Thailand and to a growing interest in traditional Thai martial arts (e.g. Krabi Krabong) worldwide. To this day, this school in Berlin is regarded as an important pioneer for the development of Thai martial arts in Europe, as well as a benchmark pioneer and authority for traditional Thai martial arts worldwide.
Since 2021, the teaching activities of the Pahuyuth School are no longer limited to Berlin. Through the introduction of modern hybrid and online teaching, it now enables all interested parties worldwide to learn Pahuyuth, to qualify as full-fledged Free-Warriors and to preserve the knowledge and culture of the ancient Free-Warriors for future generations.