previous arrow
next arrow


Myanmar Lethwei, or Myanmar Traditional Kickboxing, or Burmese boxing, is one of Burma’s combat sport, similar to thai boxing (muay Boran) for thailand, and kmer boxing for Cambodians. It has origins from Burmese martial arts, and was practiced in ancient times inside a circle, now replaced with a ring.
First Lethwei style matches recorded dating back to the Pyu Empire in Myanmar.

There are two referees, to control better the impetuous fighters. Originally the rounds were very long, and even the break between rounds (could be done another match with other athletes, between rounds).
There are some ritual dances associated to matches, usually performed by the fighters before and after the match.

See also: wikipedia Myanmar Lethwei – Myanmar Lethwei documentaries




Myanmar Lethwei is very similar to thai boxing, but has some variations that make it very different. Just see a few matches and it soon becomes clear the difference that makes changing few simple parameters to the combat rules.

First of all, fighters have no protections on the hands, boxing or mma gloves, but only a simple bandage (and sometimes a small pad placed in bandage on the knuckles). This leads to a combat much more marked to the use of elbows, and to a boxing different style from the classic western modern boxing, with very loaded shots. It is also much easier to grasp and struggle, with free hands. In fact, the wrestling fight should be similar to clinch of the thai boxing, but is much more dirty and full of techniques, in practice.

In addition you can also strike with the head, almost unique in competitive events (some of valetudo and cage fight circuits). This obviously makes close combat much more disruptive and dangerous.

It is also interesting to note the frequent use of techniques that literally “throw” the body against his opponent as a weapon; flying kicks, but also knee, elbow, warheads.
In the past it was allowed to hit also on the ground, for a short time.
Is possible to hit the neck and the back (classic whith the helbow).

Another curious element of the regulation: if a knockout occurs, the boxer is revived and has the option of continuing.

At present Myanmar Lethwei, together with MMA and cage fight, is definitely the most violent combat sport, dangerous and bloody, at least talking about officers and fully legal circuits. Certainly the one with less defensive protection: you fight with bands on the legs and hands, shell and mouthguard. Recommended only for those who are willing to put a lot at stake for the passion (or business) of combat sports (Probably best to prepare for the professional Thai boxing and K1 circuits)