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1st westener to beat a thai?

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  • 1st westener to beat a thai?

    any comment on this?
    "From 1972 to 1975 an American GI based in Udorn Thani, Thailand by the name of Dale Kvalheim was one of the first American's to be accepted seriously by Thai teachers. Kvalheim (from Seattle) had 35 bouts winning 25 and earning the ring name of "The Golden Haired Executioner". At one time he was rated number 10 in his weight division, and he was the Champion of Northeast Thailand. He was one of the first Caucasion foreigners who was taken seriously in this art by the Thais. Up until Kvalheim's participation in the sport, Thai teachers had been frustrated at the lack of commitment and respect from American's (more specifically GI's) who wanted to learn and then fight Muay Thai in the ring. Up to this time period it has been noted that a few American's were so disrespectful to their Thai teachers that they would eventually challenge their instructors to a fight. Needless to say, the Americans would usually end up on their back wondering what hit them!"

    i heard that Ajarn Chai took a team to thailand in 82, how did they do? Did anyone do that b4 him?


    Pat Davies

  • #2
    A Little History

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dale Kvalheim while I was training at the Buddhai Swan. One day myself, Rick Sollo, Troy Ninedorfer and Bryan Popejoy got off the #5 Airbus by the 7-11, crossed on the pedestrian bridge, and started to walk back to the school. Bryan, looking at a poster on the wall of SE Asian University, said something along the order of "hey, isn't that the guy in that book?" Lo and behold, Dale was teaching right next to where we were living, next door to the Buddhai Swan! So, we walked over that afternoon and asked to talk with him. I visited him several times over the next few months, and talked a lot with him about muay Thai. I put a thread here a while back with his training schedule, but no one seemed to know who he Dale also had some problems with his instructors, and modified his training so he could fight at a heavier weight than tradition called for. He did more roadwork and less sparring, for instance. As far as I know, he still is in Bangkok. In 1995 he told me he might move back to Okanogan WA, but I tried to write him there at his sister's house and got no reply. He still works out 3 or 4 times a week, for free, he told me, because the trainers loved having an 'old farang come into the school and slaughter the banana bags to show the youngsters how it should be done.' Some years after Dale Kvalheim trained and fought in the NE of Thailand, another Washingtonian, Ray 'Machine Gun' Edler of Pasco trained and fought in Thailand. He also was held in respect by the Thai. I was told by his father a few years ago that he was working for the State Department at the US Embassy in Singapore. I contacted him about doing a story for a martial arts magazine; on he, Dale, and one other 70s American fighter (also from WA) whose name I cannot remember, sorry. He was not interested in having it become public knowledge that he had fought muay Thai in his youth, although he also still kicks the pads and the bag. The first Thais to come to America specifically for muay Thai were sent to the Seattle World's Fair in 1962. As far as I know, Master Chai was the first to take an American team to the International Championships, but could only do it after he had been teaching in the United States for 15 years. As is the case with Jeet Kune Do, the Pacific Northwest connection to the early years of muay Thai in the United States is incredible. Master Chai's first-ever Thai Boxing seminar was done in Salem OR. He was disrespected and challenged by the seminar host and broke the host's leg in the ensuing confrontation. It is certainly serendipitous that when we finally started the Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp the only place we could find was located 20 miles East of Salem. And again, as usual, I am too wordy


    • #3
      Originally posted by pat-amag
      Up to this time period it has been noted that a few American's were so disrespectful to their Thai teachers that they would eventually challenge their instructors to a fight. Needless to say, the Americans would usually end up on their back wondering what hit them!"
      Nice post.

      Well, think back to the late 70's and early 80's and even today. Imagine you're a 6' 190 lb in shape GI with a mean streak. You meet a meager, short and thin tanned asian dude who says he teaches a brutal fighting art. Your confidence and skepticism make you think you can bully the dude...

      some of those little guys can fold heavy bags with their kicks!! Its downright scary how much power and toughness they can develop. Not to mention the 1,000s of rounds of sparring over the years.

      Thanks again for the story.


      • #4

        my dad is "Ray 'Machine Gun' Edler" lol haha finally found something on him


        • #5
          Your dad was a huge a sensation in japan as well. He was one of the first to fight in thailand along with dale. What he is doing these days? Does he still teach?


          • #6
            Originally posted by kevinedler View Post
            my dad is "Ray 'Machine Gun' Edler" lol haha finally found something on him
            Nice one Kevin,welcome to the forum.

            I remember your dads name being mentioned in Magazines etc when I first started Muay Thai in1982,pretty famous gentleman eh!.


            • #7
              Nope, he started working for the USA Foreign Service, for over 20 years he retired on July we've moved from Indonesia>Ghana>Bangladesh> and last to Philippines. Right now we've settled in Washington where I'm going to a new school. Feel free to ask me more questions he doesn't do anything much related to fighting anymore but lift weights and watch fights.

              When i go to my uncle's house i get to see his trophies and pictures.
              He basically teaches me self defense sometimes and i love to fight but never get the chance he just wants me to go to college and get a good job. Im in the 10th grade right now

              haha thanks sometimes he brags about fighting but i want to watch an actual tape of him fighting :P


              • #8
                Thanks, Kevin, Welcome to the forum. Your father was an important figure in early muay thai because he along with Dale showed a foreigner could fight with the best of them and earn their respect. I asked one of my teachers who has some info to send it so maybe your dad can verify it and we can get a clearer picture of everything. In japan, I know your father was a sensation, one of the first kickboxing champs.

                Please check back in a day or two to see if I can come up with some stuff to read back to your dad to see if he can shed some light on his career. You should be very proud of your dad!

                If anyone comes up with footage please post it or share a link or source.


                • #9
                  okay I'll be back to check i'll try to get him to answer the questions


                  • #10
                    Hi Kevin,
                    Ok I got this from Vincent Giordano who was the only one to respond to me so far, see if you can get this to your dad and see if he can add to it or verify anything on there:

                    """"" I wrote this awhile back on another forum mostly in regards to Dale Kvalheim who I met and is really cool. The questions here would be to see if Raymond could verify the May 1970 fight because that would really put things into a different perspective than what was generally written and known. In regards to the 1970 fight if it is true, how did he win the fight? By decision or KO or? I have also asked my friend who is one of the foremost researchers on muay thai and muay thai fighters and records to see what he says but i havent heard back from him. But you can start here:

                    Dale Kvalheim fought mostly in the north and won a regional northeastern muay thai championship once. He stated he only fought in Bangkok three times and was ranked #10 at rajadamnern stadium( i believe his highest ranking at any bangkok stadium). Dale's muay thai record was 25 wins and 10 losses and he fought between the years of 1972-1975.

                    You have to also take into account Raymond Elder, an american, who was primarily known for his japanese bouts but he did fight in thailand as well. I cant corroborate the years since i thought it was more of 1971-1972 that elder was in thailand, but i could wrong and this more accurate. Either way, Elder fought in thailand as well during that period but Dale is better known and Elder virtually forgotten written about more in the japanese kickboxing circles though he definitely fought muay thai in thailand.

                    On November 5th, 1971, American Raymond Elder defeated Toshiya Furuya to become the first non-Oriental to win the Japanese Middleweight Kick-Boxing crown. The bout was at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in front of 9000 cheering spectators.

                    Elder was from Pasco, Washington. In March 1970, Elder was sent to Thailand to train at the Sri Sothorn Camp and in May 1970 fought at Rajadamnern Stadium. Elder fought 5th ranked middleweight Mahahchai Tacharom--Elder won the bout.

                    Returning to Japan the over confident Elder did poorly winning 5 and losing 3 until his next fight in Thailand. In November 1970 he returned to Thailand and met the no.1 ranked Thai middleweight Daenthai Ittichit who was the former Rajadamnern Stadium Middleweight Champion. Elder lost by decision. After that bout Elder had 15 straight bouts (winning them all - 12 of them by KO).

                    In April 1972 Elder defended his title against Abe Oka in Korakuen Hall. On the 13th of August 1972,Elder lost in his bid to win the Orient 'World Middleweight Kickboxing Title' against Thailand's Songket. Elder was KO'ed in the 4th by a series of high kicks to the back of the ear and the neck. According to newspaper sources, Elder was winning the fight up until the point of the KO. Elder blocked the strong Thai kicks for 2 rounds and then started punching dropping his hands like an international boxer and he paid the price.

                    Elder was known for being superior at using his left jab, having a good ability to block kicks and being proficient on the inside with the use of the knees. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""


                    • #11
                      ttt for kevin


                      • #12
                        Hey Kevin, did you ever get to speak to your father? Let us know


                        • #13
                          So those where the first Americans. But where they the first westerners? The British and French have been in the region a lot longer. And the Dutch have had diplomatic relations with them for centuries before anyone.


                          • #14
                            The tick: great question and something that needs to be looked into. If anyone can add to this please do!


                            • #15
                              I heard now there were americans fighitng in thailand prior to both men. Though i still would like to know if raymonds info is correct because it would predate dales by a bit but i think both men are not the first for americans. I would like to know also like tick asked about other foreigners or firsts fighting in thailand in muay thai.