By Betty Devries

Andy Thompson was something else. He was beloved by everyone he met with his warm smile and kind nature. He saw beauty and strength in everyone he met, and never held back on his endless amount of knowledge, and wisdom.

I met Andy when he was living way up in the middle of seemly nowhere, nested deep within the hill tribes of Northern Thailand. I remember the first time myself and some team mates from the gym landed in the small airport of Chiang Mai and were greeted by this tall, lanky man with sinuous muscle. We sat in the back of his truck with the back window propped open, and held on tight as we bounced and careened through the highways and then onto a small dirt path leading up into the middle of the jungle. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. Arriving to the base of the hill camp, we pulled out headlamps, and started up the mountain to our home in the middle of the rain forest to start our training.

My memories of Andy, are filled with the sights and sounds of the northern jungle, sheets of rain during the monsoon season, brightly patterned garb of the hill tribe people, delicious coffee, cold showers, dogs, dogs and more dogs. We would Wake up to the sound of roosters and dogs barking, run those cursed hills that either broke or made you stronger, trained and ate our meals with the legend of Andy Thompson.

He found strength and beauty in everyone. He would hang back, watch, and let each of us pull forth our own experiences shaping us into the best versions of ourselves. He strengthened us in both the body and mind, and his exercises, teaching and inspiring words I will continue to use for the rest of my life.

Andy may be gone, but I promise that he has touched countless people and will no doubt live on for the rest of time in memory, and continued teachings of his wisdom.

Rest well, and may our paths cross in another life.

Betty Devries is an owner of Elite Martial Arts Academy in Calgary, Alberta. This post is a part of a larger collection of pieces written in memory of Andy Thomson. View the collection here.

© Muaythai Canada
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