I am a teacher of Traditional Thai massage, its what I chose to do after ending my career as an Architect. I have been teaching since 2001. I am also a student of Traditional Thai Massage, an ongoing process.
I started teaching Thai Massage early, I had just taken a 3 month course in the UK, and the same year I flew out to Trinidad and Tobago and taught there what I had learnt a few months earlier. In my defense I can say that I took to the practice like a duck to water, there was little theory to learn or anything complicated or esoteric, my english teachers either did not know it or where not interested in teaching it.
even so it was only when I started teaching that I really started to learn, being a student is a passive way, we receive the teachings and try to understand them, being a teacher is more active and involves responsibility it gets more serious, as you ask yourself “Do I really believe this?” or “Is this really the right way to do this technique?”
Traditional Thai Massage is often called Thai Yoga Massage, as if Yoga is only about bending your body, its a part of the superficial practice of yoga as a physical discipline that has become so popular in the West, of course Yoga has always been about the mind, upon which Traditional Thai Massage has very little to say.
Traditional Thai Massage to, in its journey from Ancient Eastern practice into Modern western practice, has shed loads of knowledge and significance.
A combination of historical and economic imperatives resulted in a watered down standardized easy to learn practice which was accessible to anyone, allowing Thai people to earn money by working and Teaching.
Superficial knowledge was promoted and the ancient tradition ignored or suppressed.
Modern Thais, Western travellers and Yogis soon picked up on this elegant body therapy without a theory and subjected it to the same onslaught of individual expression and arbitrary association that has happened to Yoga, self appointed Teachers trained others as Teachers, brand packaged the technique and sold it and themselves, nobody asking the Teacher on what authority he or she claims to be a Teacher. I did the same, after studying in many schools in Thailand, all teaching more or less the same thing, it seemed that really that was all there was to it. The arrogance that led me to believe that in a few short visits to Thailand, not even speaking Thai or settling there long enough to understand what is going on, I had a basis from which to teach Thai Massage, did not even dawn on me.
Now I am back again to being a student, this time studying Nuad Boran as a branch of Traditional Thai Medicine, a clear, rational and unambiguous system for resolving suffering, it is difficult, the commitments are much greater, the responsibility much more, the connection much stronger.
This time only teach what I am authorized to teach, after I have practiced it and understood it, but at least I know that I am receiving and transmitting authentic knowledge, with depth, benefiting from the experience and knowledge of many many generations of healers and teachers, and I must thank my Teacher for having the discipline and forbearance to learn the ancient way, to be a bridge for the preservation of traditional human knowledge.