Khru Paul Metayo Doesn’t Know How to Get Tired

Khru Paul Metayo (on left)

I was surprised to see that reader Tommy has also trained with Khru Paul (Pon) Metayo in Fresno, California.

Khru Paul is a great example of a  warrior and teacher. Paul was born in Esaan Thailand, which occupies a gray area that is within Thailand but is culturally Laotian.

Paul had a hard life, working in the rice fields. Working in the rice fields has got to be one of the world’s toughest jobs. You spend most of the day hunched over rice shoots while standing in a foot of water and mud, under a blazing sun with nearly 90% humidity. Paul worked for the princely sum of 20 baht (about 80 cents!). That’s not per hour, that’s per day. He told me he learned quickly not to ask for more than the rice farmers were offering, because they would reject him and hire one of the dozens of other desperate guys looking for work.

Paul was poor, so he ate only rice for lunch. He couldn’t afford fish sauce, one of the cheapest substances on earth, so he flavored his rice with a certain aromatic leaf. Imagine an American who can’t afford ketchup.

He was often so hungry that if he saw a frog in the rice fields he would catch it and cook it later.

After a back-breaking day working in the rice fields, Paul would jog to his Thai boxing lessons! This blows my mind. Rice field work would crush me. Thai boxing camp is grueling. To go from the rice fields, jogging to Thai boxing practice, and then enduring a Thai boxing session, is a level of hardship I can hardly imagine.

Khru Paul: Dynamite in a Small Package

I remember Khru Paul telling me, “You train so that you don’t know how to be tired. You don’t know how to be hurt.” Read that again.

If you can wrap your head around that concept, try to picture someone asking, “What could I do to get tired? I can’t figure out how to feel pain in the ring.”

When you train at that level, you will blast through people. I remember how surprised I was when I heard Khru Paul had left for the sabaki challenge, which is full contact, no pads.

For me, the sabaki challenge would follow a period of soul-searching, mental preparation, and months of grueling training. Khru Paul entered the sabaki challenge as fearlessly and readily as somebody joining a game of pickup basketball. If you had trained Thai boxing and lived the hard life of Khru Paul, the sabaki challenge is like Sunday brunch.

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7 Responses to “Khru Paul Metayo Doesn’t Know How to Get Tired”

  1. I really liked training with Paul. He didn’t over engineer things or try to correct every little thing, more like “just do this, a lot, and you’ll get better”. Do you still keep in contact with him? I hope AZ is treating him well. Very nice little blog entry.

  2. I have been training with paul for a few years here in phoenix. He is an excellent trainer in my opinion. You should be able to reach him via his website: http://www.arizonamuaythai.com/contact.cfm

    If that doesn’t work I also have his email address if you wish to contact me.

    Trent

  3. Gerald Beardsley Says:

    Nice to see a post about Khru Paul . I miss training with him in Fresno. The two pics you posted are of Khru Paul and myself are from the training manual we used at that time in Fresno. I am also one of Grandmaster Estalilla students with the rank of Assoicate Grandmasters since 2005.

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