The state of Vermont is not known for its combat sports. Sure, maybe they’ve got the world’s best maple syrup, really clean air, and farm-fresh dairy products, but one thing they certainly don’t have is a bustling scene of MMA, boxing, and Muay Thai. Well, if Kru Chris Ballard has his way, one day that
will all change.
Ballard is the head instructor and owner of the United Fighting Arts Institute in the suburban town of South Burlington, Vermont. Although he aims to offer his 120+ students a little bit of everything as far as martial arts go, his true passion is for Muay Thai kickboxing. On Saturday night Ballard will be promoting the first ever Muay Thai kickboxing show in the entire state of Vermont. It’s aptly title, “Muay Thai Mayhem”.
Although Ballard will be entering the promoting game as a rookie, his life experiences and teachings make him anything but that as it pertains to martial arts. He began at age 3 when his parents enrolled him in Tae Kwon Do. After achieving a black-belt to the fourth degree, it was on to aikijitsu, where he also attained a black-belt to the fourth degree. After the start of the war in Iraq, Ballard, who is a proud member of the United States Army, began teaching combat support operations to our troops overseas. Then it was on to Thailand, where Ballard trained under the nation’s elite Muay Thai trainers, learned the traditions and culture of the sport, and attained the honor of becoming a certified instructor (Kru).
Now, back in the states, Ballard is determined to open the eyes of fans and students alike. “Muay Thai Mayhem” boasts nearly a dozen amateur Muay Thai kickboxing bouts. Many of the competitors are Ballard’s students.
MMA is wildly gaining popularity as it’s quite plain to see, and while many hope to capitalize on the success of the sport for personal gain, Ballard is happy just to spreading the knowledge of the sport and its deep-rooted history. In every class he teaches, tradition and culture is a mandatory part of the curriculum.
We here at Fightline.com want to commend the efforts of not only our armed forces overseas, but also the pioneers of the combat sports world like Kru Ballard. With the Olympics going on right now, it forces the question of “when will MMA become a respected, recognized sport?” Realistically, our country and society as a whole has a long way to go, but with men like Kru Ballard blazing a path on the local level, and large scale shows like the UFC opening eyes by the millions, it’s hard not to remain hopeful.
If you’re in the New England area, or interested in the art of Muay Thai, visit www.vtbushi.ws for more info on “Muay Thai Mayhem”.
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