Through the U.S. Army ROTC Cultural Understanding Language Proficiency program, Cadets get the exciting opportunity to explore a new country and learn about its culture as several of us did when we were assigned to the Lopburi Province of Thailand. Here, we worked with the nation’s developing Army aviation unit and taught its officers and maintainers English so that these soldiers can receive further avionics training in the United States.
Cadets covered everything from reading comprehension and vocabulary to American history and phonetic pronunciation daily. More importantly, the Cadets are building a strong camaraderie with the Thai soldiers to foster a lasting and committed relationship between the U.S. Armed Forces and the Royal Thai Military for years to come.
Another important aspect of CULP is to learn about the culture of the country in which the cadets are received. In Thailand, Muay Thai is a significant aspect of its culture, evolving much throughout its history.
Believed to have started over 2,000 years ago, Muay Thai is known worldwide as a combat sport in martial arts with similar ties to modern kickboxing. Early Thais used Muay Thai as a means of self-defense, but also as hand-to-hand combat in battle. Recently, Muay Thai has become widespread and is considered to be the dominant stand-up fighting form of MMA as seen in the UFC.
Cadet Stephen Oh participated in this CULP mission and has spent the past year and a half training in Muay Thai at home. He said he has found the opportunity during his stay in Thailand to learn about its history, techniques and origin. Such a visit is an incomparable experience in the development of his skills and understanding of this martial art.