Friday, September 03, 2010

Pioneer Jan Plas passes away

Wim has a nice post about the passing of Western Muay Thai pioneer Jan Plas.

Jan Plas

One of my regrets with the timing of technology our culture is that we’ve lost some insight and history on how the martial arts have gotten to be where they are today. Many – I would guess, most – MMA fighters don’t have a sense of boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, or even BJJ history, except as they think it began in the 1990s. I know it’s a generalization, but I stand by it. In the recent past, I devoured every book, magazine, or story I could get my hands on or hear. We sat at the feet of our instructors and learned about the history of our forebears, ancestors, and standard-bearers in our respective arts.

We owe a lot to some of our recent pioneers, including legends like Kano, Funakoshi, and the Gracie family, as well as those who’ve had more media exposure like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Bill Wallace, among many other. Those who’ve done more behind the scenes, though, are now unheralded as MMA has eclipsed many of it’s contributory sports, including Muay Thai.

Now, I see the newer generation ignoring the giants upon whose shoulders they stand, and they look ahead without looking back.

Thanks to Wim for the brief tribute. A taste:

He was at the birth of full-contact rings sports in Europe and largely responsible for the “Dutch school” of fighting. He founded the famous Mejiro Gym and trained a truckload of European, world champions and other great fighters: Rob Kaman, Peter Aerts, Fred Royers, Lucien Carbin,  and a lot more. Today, Mejiro gym is still one of the best gyms worldwide, training fighters like Andy Souwer amongst others.

Every time I read or heard about Mr. Plas, the feedback was always the same: he was an exceptionally gifted trainer and teacher. But he was also able to analyze a fight and coach fighters to victory by telling them exactly what they needed to do to beat their opponent. So it’s a terrible shame he passed away.

Check it out here.

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