LethweiLethwei is a system of fighting from Myanmar; it’s similar in style to Muay Thai and Cambodian Pradal Serey. I know next to nothing about Lethwei, but I’m interested. Lethwei is sometimes referred as the Science of 9 limbs because they allow head butts.

I’m not here to discuss which style is better etc. If any of you know anything about Thai history, there has been a fair amount of hostility between our two countries. Despite being centuries old conflict many Thai’s to this day continue to hold a grudge (My mom included).

I found this clip and I almost didn’t post it because of the annoying sound effects. These guys are straight wilding! This shit is crazy, If I ever make it over to Myanmar I’m definitely catching buying tickets. .

I guess it’s indicative of bare knuckle contests, that the fighters are looking to end the fight as soon as possible. It seems to me that there is very little around attrition; no wearing your opponents down with leg kicks. It’s all or nothing. Maybe it’s just because they’re only showing the first 20 seconds of the fight?

It’s strange to say this, but it all seems quite foreign to me. I know they’re neighboring countries but even watching these short clips there seems to be some fundamental differences. Maybe I’m tripping, It’s just the impression I get.

Have any of you been to one of these fights? Do they have their own version of a Ram Muay?

[youtube 328YVJVtMKU]


About Author

I started My Muay Thai back in 2006... I was tired of reading about MMA, and wanted somewhere I could watch real muay thai fights, be inspired and connect with others who love muay thai as much as I do... I currently live in London... when I'm not geeking out over muay thai you can find me bombing around London on my scrambler, ferreting out the latest street food gems.


  1. I have some VCDs from Thailand with Thai vs. Burma bare knuckle fights. They do have a ram muay but it is a lot faster and frantic looking. Mostly though the Thais school the Burmese thouroughly.

  2. Yes…Josh is right, once a year they allow The Thai official “allows” Burmese fighters to come through the Thai borders for a competition (MT vs Leithwei)….I don’t wanna turn this into a “which style is better” convo, but from what I have seen Leithwei fighters mostly get their ass handed to them by MT fighters. To me Leithwei is just a slightly different version of MT with no specific techniques or finess, I have read that Thai call Lethwei the “art of fighting without your head”…which means…they just primitively go for the kill by just launching numerous attacks without planning or so.

  3. This is burmese boxing. The picture is from book cover from Mr. Zoran Rebac about Burmese boxing. The tehniques are similar to MT, but because of no gloves they going for a quick k.o.
    And MT fighters are not bether then Burmees, ony they fight profesional, and in Burma there is only few profesionals.

  4. Brother. If you really wanna know about Burmese Boxing, log into you tube and just type “Myanmar”. You will be able to see quite a number of fight between Burmese and Thais. You will see the difference. Competitions held in Thailand are just for Thais to beat Burmese cause Burmese boxers there are totally refugees. They just go into the ring for some bacon they are given for the fight. So, it is not a fair competition.

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  6. Letwhei has totally different ring rules and regulations. They let the headbutts, elbow to the back etc and not very professional. It’s also similar to Muay Boran. Those Burmese Letwhei boxers who came to Thailand to fight didn’t make much. Since the rules are different, they got owned by MT fighters. They can’t fight properly with gloves. For them to fight in MT rings are like letting a K-1 boxer fight in traditional boxing matches. If a Muay Thai boxer goes to Burma and fight with Lethwei rules… it would be another story.

  7. Gazda, Nobody said that MT fighters were better than Burmese fighters. No need to get defensive.

    Lakokoaye, Those fights do often look one sided…so it is possible that what you are saying is true.

    TKO_80, “They can’t fight properly with gloves”???? That’s like saying that Yodsanklai wouldn’t be able to fight with Shin Guards, nonsense!!
    Headbutts are seldom used in Lethwei so let’s not use that as an excuse.
    Most Thai vs Burmese fights I have seen have not gone the distance so let’s not blame it on the rules and regulations.

    “For them to fight in MT rings are like letting a K-1 boxer fight in traditional boxing matches.” No!…For them It’s like a Muay Thai fighter fighting in K1 ( and Buakaw seems to be doin just fine!) as a matter of fact a Thai fighter in K1 has it worst than a Lethwei fighter in Muay thai as K1 prohibits the use of elbows which is actually one of MT’s main weapons (limb) whereas The main weapons in Lethwei are all available (head is not a main weapon).
    Other people were making valid comments but I think you’re just making excuses. I have never seen a fight ended with an Elbow to the back..so I really doubt it makes a big difference.

    and YES…I DO THINK MT AS A WHOLE HAS MORE FINESS IN THEIR TECHNIQUES THAN LETHWEI. I haven’t found a Samart, Yod or Seanchai in Lethwei but if you guys know of anyone please inform me of who they are so I can do some research on them. THANK YOU!!! ;-)

  8. -the rules different?…previously there were 2 referees in the ring which was strange in the ring sports (during 1980’s) …however, it seems that they renoved and it seems that there is one referee mostly in the ring…
    -to compare “burmese “fighter with “top mt fighters “from “lumpini,raja “etc is not fair since the “burmese ” were not developed in this field and they just entered the ring 2-3 times generaly.,mostly after the collection time of rice and grains…at least ,it was so during 1990 s…however, it seems that they started to develop and create profi segment in this concern…
    -the difference between “profi mt” and “lethwai” is that the “mt fighters ” are mostly oriented to show a good apperenance with rich techniques whereas the burmese were trying to get the result with “targeted techics ” where the “fists ” are playing the important task generaly…

  9. i think even fight is pro, as long on top the ring, you saw a lethwei fight not pro is because you think on mt/k1 eye, this lethwei fight without glove, only handwarp the training sure also bloodly, and is very like street fight, after i saw the japan k1 on of the top fighter sato fight with the lethwei fight don’t know the name i believe that on the ring fight without glove the title will be differance.

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