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hi , a cpouple of questions about lethwei , ive been doin muay thai for a few months and would like to clear a few things up

i heard lethwei is muay thai but without gloves , just wraps , and headbutts and they sometimes fight in sand pits , if you do muay thai but u also use headbutts in MMA fights or non official local tournaments does that mean you could call your style lethwei? or is there a bigger diference between mt and lethwei?


and also what are the head techniques? or are there any specific technical head moves or are they just "ram your head into them"?

i would like some help on this as head techiniques may come in handy , unless they hurt you too much then il just not use em lol

thanks in advance

chris
 

tradrockrat

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Lethwei is older than MT. As I was taught it - Lethwei actually varies from tribe to tribe with stylistic approaches, but the overall skill set remains the same. The differences are subtle for sure.

Head butts in particular are far more versital than many realize. Besides the obvious high forhead to the nose, Lethwei boxers strike from the side of the head or even the back of the head like an uppercut to the chin. Head butts are also used as part of a combination, such as whipping the head from right to left across the face of an opponent to turn his head, followed by a hard short right hook or elbow. Also, they can be used defensivly if your opponent is going for the clinch and his head is a little high. Unfortunately, it is really hard to compete like this in America (insurance issues), so most of my experience is in sparring conditions with headgear on - that tends to diminish the effectivness of head butts, though we still used them.

Leg kicks differ slightly from MT as well. We called them "shovel kicks" that explode up from the ground at an angle to the thigh or knee, driving up and through as opposed to the classic, slightly downward strike of the MT fighter, though we used that kick as well.

In Lethwei training our strategy was to engage from long range working the legs and chest kicks which lead to punching, clinching, sweeping, throwing, elbows, knees, and headbutts.

When going for the knockout, emphasis was placed on elbows and knees.

As we were taught it, the goal was to be a "stone faced warrior" never showing emotion or pain while fighting, just relelntless pursuit.

Other than that, the main differences are as you stated, with equipment (or lack therof) and location. Thailand and Burma have been fighting each other for centuries in tournaments and such - their styles are very similar

EDIT: Oh, almost forgot because we did NOT train this way, but traditional Lethwei allows groin strikes and a knock out was just a break until the fighter got back up to continue!
 

isukgrar

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WOW, what the good info. about Lethwei. This is the first time I heard about this kind of martial art, thanks to tradrockrat.

For MT, as far as I know from the book study, headbutt were used in the old times in other style of MT. but I do not know much about the specific techniques.
 

tradrockrat

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isukgrar said:
WOW, what the good info. about Lethwei. This is the first time I heard about this kind of martial art, thanks to tradrockrat.

Hey, that's what we're here on the forums for. :)
 

Thunder Foot

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Hmmm...sounds alot like Muay Boran. From what I've been taught (the few boran techs I know) Muay Boran also has headbutts as well, often used in combination with the clinch due to the short range of attack. Striking surfaces also being the forehead, and side of the head to my knowledge.

Would you also happen to have information on Pradal Serey from Cambodia? It seems to be another style that looks closely similar to Muay Thai.
 

Jimi

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Arts from Cambodia & Laos are just now coming into the western worlds sight so to speak. Look at the region, Burma(Mynmar),Siam(Thailand) Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, they are all relatively close so a lot of what they do will look similar. What insight I can give about Lethwei is they use the headbutt alittle more commonly than the Thai's and Lethwei rules allow takedowns and a quick follow up on the ground, but they seem to try and stay away from ground fighting though it still seems to happen. It was the war arts of Burma that ravaged Ayuttya(SP?) Siams former capital, though it was sad to see the desicration(SP?) of the statues and temples there. No wonder Burma & Siam were at each others throats. Kinda like bickering cousins. PEACE
 

automaton

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From the lethway bouts i have seen they volley in with primarily hand techs and follow with the rest.

There is an upcoming book on the bare knuckle fighting arts of southeast asia which hopefully will put everything in perspective or at least give us a greater picture for further discussion and insights.

The cambodian arts also have the old way and the newer way which looks just like muay thai now. The burmese never went to the gloves so they remain bare knuckle like the old thai/cambodia arts.
 

Thunder Foot

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Hmmm... just for the sake of discussion, here is a clip of Lethwei I found on the net.

 
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