History of World Team USA
Chief Instructor and Owner Kru Sam (Chilaphanh) Phimsoutham is a Thai/Laos trainer whose mother is Laos and whose father was a Thai General. Muay Thai, but more specifically Muay Boran and Lerdrit, run in his family for generations. His father was also a trainer and a referee in Lumpini and his uncle the same. His first lesson in Muay Boran was given to him when he was four years old. He was not a Thai Champion.
He immigrated to the United States at age seven. At the age of 18 Kru Sam then trained under Master Toddy, whose father knew his father, to become a Muay Thai trainer and teacher. Master Toddy taught Kru Sam an unbeatable system of teaching and continued to train him in this manner for 10 years. He also certified him as “Kru.” Because knowing how to fight does not always translate to knowing how to train others, Kru Sam’s innate ability to teach, his Muay Boran and Lerdrit background and certification from Master Toddy are keys to his success.
Kru Sam brought Muay Thai to the Bay Area in 1991. He introduced the sport by fighting black belts in the Bay Area wherever he could. Word quickly spread and interest in the sport was immediately picked up by legends such as Sifu Harlan Lee, Sifu Shane Lacey and the Lozada family. SFPD Officer Paul Lozada gave Kru Sam his first teaching job at a small academy in downtown San Francisco. Kru Sam taught part time for years raising fighters, including Wrath White, Alex Gong (RIP) and Richard Tan. They obtained most of their experience in gymnasiums.
When Kru Sam opened up Team USA nearly 10 years ago, he raised his second generation of Champions – David Lau, Anthony Badua and John Ellcessor. These Champions were privileged to experience Muay Thai competitions in productions brought by BJohn Promotions, Scott Coker’s Strikeforce and Dennis Warner’s World Championship Muay Thai. In fact Kru Sam, along with Coach Cung Le and Professor Navarros, brought the first “smoker” to the Bay Area in 1995. Today, Kru Sam is on his fourth generation of Champions and the team continues to grow. With the legalization of MMA, Team USA expects to add its ground game and introduce a team of MMA fighters.