Martial artists and fighters are often seen as modern day warriors. Warriors who enter a ring to test themselves, hoping that it will bring them respect, honor, and most of all, glory.
The reality is that we are all warriors in life. We all have dreams. We all have goals. We all have hardships. We all have setbacks. And yet, we all must march forward in the quest to conquer our circumstances, and evolve into everything we can be in life.
From humble beginnings, he would go on to become a man who turns fighters into champions. And his story is an inspiration that goes beyond his accomplishments as a trainer or fighter.
Today, Evolve Daily takes you through the incredible journey of Saknarong Sityodtong (Kru Ped), and what makes him a true warrior.
Born and raised in Pattaya, Thailand, Saknarong became interested in Muay Thai at an early age of five-years old. He would often watch Muay Thai fights on the television and engage in playful Muay Thai-inspired fights with his friends in school.
He finally decided to pick up Muay Thai when he was in the 5th grade, training everyday after school at the gym next to his home. He had a natural talent for the art of Muay Thai and through hard work, became a Muay Thai Champion in Thailand.
However, the money he was earning as a fighter was not enough to support him in the long run. And so after years of fighting, Saknarong made the decision to retire from fighting so that he could dedicate himself to coaching full-time.
During the start of his life as a trainer, Kru Ped held two jobs in order to make ends meet. He would teach Muay Thai to kids, professional fighters, and foreigners in the day and work as a bouncer with his friends at a local club in the night.
Saknarong continued to work tireless as a trainer and soon found himself training and cornering fights for 14 different Muay Thai World Champions. By then, he had established himself as one of the best and most senior instructors at the legendary Sityodtong camp in Thailand.
The student of a legendary teacher
However, Kru Ped would not have achieved his accomplishments as a fighter and trainer without the help of his trainer and mentor, the legendary Muay Thai Grandmaster Yodtong Senanan.
He first met Grandmaster Yodtong at the age of 14 when he was still a fighter. It was under the Grandmaster’s tutelage that he was able to succeed and gain experience in Muay Thai.
But what Saknarong truly treasures are the values and life lessons inherited from his mentor. Grandmaster Yodtong taught him how to live well, be a good person, and earn an honest living – all of which are values that have stayed with him to this day.
An opportunity of a lifetime
In 2009, Saknarong was personally invited to Singapore by Evolve MMA founder Chatri Sityodtong to join the award-winning Evolve Instructor Team, Asia’s largest and most decorated team. Almost 30 years earlier, Saknarong was one of Chatri’s first Muay Thai teachers at Sityodtong Camp. The circle of life presented a remarkable opportunity to reunite a teacher with his student.
Evolve has changed Saknarong’s life dramatically. Before Evolve, he lived in a tiny room with his wife at the Sityodtong Camp, earning a mere $300 a month. Through Evolve, he has escaped poverty and found financial success. For the first time in his life, he has been able to save money for his future. Today, Saknarong owns several properties in Thailand and provides his family with a better life.
Equally important, Kru Ped does what he loves with people he loves. He shares his greatest passion in life with his students and feels blessed by the opportunity to help others yet once again.
A life lived for others
As an instructor at Evolve MMA, Saknarong helps to lead Evolve’s mission: to unleash greatness in this world. While Kru Ped loves the idea of helping others, he also knows that without his students at Evolve MMA, he would not be where he is today.
“In the beginning, I felt quite lost. Fortunately, the students are very nice and they helped me a lot. They are the reason why I love it here. I would like to say thank you to all of my Evolve students in Singapore for this opportunity to improve my life.”
– Saknarong Sityodtong
And like a trainer who is always there to help build a fighter before a fight, Saknarong continues to live a life for others. Whether it is sharing his knowledge of Muay Thai to his students, or supporting his loved ones, Kru Ped has become a blessing to countless lives, and a true inspiration for us all.