Kru Hope

Hope Vitellas started our school in Fall, 2004. What started out as a small school for a few friends, quickly blossomed into a school where hundreds of students began their study of Muay Thai.

Hope’s story is one of self discovery. In 1993, Hope met a man who would eventually become her Muay Thai mentor — Master Lek. Growing up in Thailand, Lek was a highly regarded Muay Thai fighter. He moved to the United States, eventually opening a Thai restaurant in Columbus. Hope began to casually work out on a bag that hung in a banquet room used primarily for weddings. For more than a year, Hope trained on the bag, with Master Lek occasionally providing tips and instruction.

Unbeknownst to Master Lek, Hope entered the ring for the first time later that year, and without any formal training, went on to complete three rounds. It was then that Lek realized he had a serious student on his hands, and their master/student relationship began. Hope trained hard for a year, and went back to the same tournament the next year, this time with much greater success. Out of 185 people in the tournament, she won the award for the best martial artist. Throughout the late nineties, Hope entered and won 13 fights, and taught Muay Thai in New York City at Crunch Gym. In 2001, Hope was contacted by representatives from the US Muay Thai team, and went on to fight in Thailand.

She began teaching private clients in Columbus in 2000, and established SNMT in the fall of 2004. Classes took place in a converted four-car garage in the Short North. In 2006, Hope received the honor of being given the title “Kru” by Master Lek. This was his formal acknowledgement (one only bestowed by one’s Master) that Hope had earned the right to be an official instructor of Muay Thai.

On January 2, 2007, Kru Hope welcomed students to a beautiful, new, 2,500 square foot facility in Grandview. While long-time students fondly remember the small garage-turned-gym on Wilbur, the new facility allows students to learn the art of Muay Thai utilizing modern equipment, including practice in an actual ring.

Meet Kru (Pdf)