Blog Archive

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sityodtong Loses Big

On Saturday afternoon, Team Sityodtong suffered one of its biggest losses: Kru Eric “Sityodtong” Armington was killed in a motorcycle accident on I-93.

It’s hard for me to put all of my thoughts and feelings into words: sometimes, I still can’t believe. Other times, the magnitude of it hits me full force. Eric has been a huge part of the Sityodtong family for years, and a constant presence in the gym. Even when he wasn’t there, his influence was felt throughout the gym. He was a fellow trainer, but he was also my teacher—I learned a lot from his as a fighter and as a coach.

Eric and I were often in the gym at similar times, either teaching classes together, or teaching private lessons simultaneously. Whenever I had the opportunity, I would stop and watch him coach—he was one of those rare people who really thought about how he was teaching. While he never would have used words like “pedagogy”, and he never wrote out a formal lesson plan, he had an intuitive understanding of how to teach, and how to help each student in their own way. I saw him teach a lot of students, but he always found a way to make his teaching work for each individual student.

Eric was fearless. He was easily the smallest and lightest trainer in the camp, but he had no qualms about leaping into the ring to spar with guys who outweighed him by fifty to one hundred pounds. He would spar professional MMA fighters, despite having little formal grappling training, and hold his own through sheer athleticism, willpower, and a desire to win.

He could stand outside the ring, watch someone fight, and know exactly what they needed to do in order to win. Even watching grappling and groundwork, he just had the right instincts.

He encouraged everyone—as long as he knew you were serious about training, he didn’t care how good or bad you were. He would work with you and show you how to do it right.

He was a friend of the truest kind; if you needed help, and he could help you, he would. It was that simple. He was the friend who would always have your back, no matter how bad it got.

I could tell stories about Eric for hours, and probably will. But for now, all I can say is that I miss him.


bill fuller said...

the news of erics passing tore my heart from my chest. after only knowing and training with eric for a year i soon realized that he was one of the nicest people i had ever met. your spirit will live on in all your student, along with the skills you trained us. you will never be forgotten, rest in peace

Chris Senhouse said...

I just got back from Sityodtong, and I'm still in shock. Even though I've only been at the gym since August, I've had the opportunity to have Eric train me a number of times. He was always able to appreciate each student for their current abilities - he was always a positive, encouraging model. Rest in peace, Eric.

- Chris S.

David said...

indeed, this is an absolute tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to Eric, his family, as well as his dear friends and family at Sityodtong. God Bless.

MMA Media Advantage said...

Having only trained at Sityodtong for about a year, I felt a little awkward last night having difficulty talking about Eric without getting choked up while not knowing him as long or as well as you and the other guys, so I basically didn't say anything to anyone about it.

It really blows my mind that no one gets a chance to say goodbye when something like this happens -- when I left Washington, DC in '06, I was able to say goodbye to all my friends, co-workers, and people from my BJJ school, but I'm still in touch with most of those people.

His voice was there in my head last night while I was hitting the bags, giving me the tips about form and talking about some of his tricks the way he had. I hope it stays that way.

- Jeremy