Training Ground is pleased to celebrate the achievement of our Ajahn Suchart as he was recently awarded as one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2010 by www.canadianimmigrant.ca presented by the RBC!
Ajahn Suchart Yodkerepauprai is proud. He’s proud because he has a role in getting many young men off the streets and turning them into responsible citizens. He does this by teaching them his native Thailand’s form of martial art, Muay Thai.
At Yodkerepauprai’s Siam No. 1 Thai Boxing Academy in Toronto, up to six former gang members and street kids, reside and train. More than 40 women and 250 men also visit the centre daily to learn the martial art to improve their physical and mental fitness, and self-defence skills. His training has also helped a number of his students find work in policing and related fields. More than 100 others have also chosen to become paramedics, fire fighters and government and private security officers, he notes. “I feel proud when I get calls from employers asking about my association with these [students],” he says.
The little time Yodkerepauprai has to spare outside of the ring is devoted to bringing together his small community as president of the Thai Society of Ontario. He also supports local charities such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Hospital for Sick Kids, Yellow Brick House and the War Amps of Canada.
One of his most rewarding community achievements of late is setting in motion the International Olympics Committee’s consideration of Muay Thai for inclusion in the Olympic Games. It has been approved as a demonstration sport in the 2012 Summer Olympics and, four years later, it will become official.
In the meantime, Yodkerepauprai is preparing some of his student instructors to go to community centres across the Greater Toronto Area to teach Muay Thai for free, as a gift to Canada. “I feel good,” he says with a satisfied smile. “I am happy that I’m able to make the Canadian society better at the same time as spreading the goodness of my culture.”