Do you wonder about the most brutal martial arts? Is it lethwei or the art of 9 Limbs? Also, can Lethwei strikes knock someone out? This article will give you the answer to all your questions. Keep on reading to unlock this fierce technique.
What is Lethwei Art?
Lethwei is one of the most brutal striking martial arts, the national sport of Myanmar, also known as Burmese Boxing. Moreover, the striking techniques and strategies of Lethwei martial arts are violent and different from others. This is surely the actual reason why this art is not legal in many countries. Nevertheless, this martial art can certainly do your enemy real bad, if a fighter does it with full force.
Also, lethwei arts allow you to use your body as a fighting weapon. Additionally, a lot of dirty strikes such as headbutts and unethical tricks are also involved in this art.
The following sections will give you a close and detailed glimpse of the history, stances, rules, and techniques of lethwei martial arts.
Origin of Lethwei – Art of 9 limbs:
Firstly, the Burmese kickboxing art or lethwei is considered one of the ancient striking techniques. In Myanmar, fighters used it as a hand weapon during the war in the 11 century. Not only that but Myanmar boxers did use it for entertainment purposes as well.
Back in those days, there was no concept of judges, gloves, and decisions in entertainment matches. Moreover, you have to knock someone out or get knocked out to end the match, as there was no idea of a draw match.
Also, this makes the whole idea even more brutal. Isn’t it?
Evolution of Lethwei Boxing:
By the passage of time, the lethwei striking art did evolve and change. In 1952, Kyar Ba Nyein, modernized Lethwei, was a boxer who fought in the Olympics. He introduced rules and restrictions in this art. This act helped in legalizing the Lethwei martial arts. Still, a lot of countries didn’t allow this kind of martial art to be practiced.
Furthermore, 2016 was the year of the biggest evolution for Lethwei fighting, as the world has recognized this art by organizing the World Lethwei Championship. This championship was very important and the first international representation of this martial art. The organized WLC let Lethwei fighters show and test their skills in front of the world.
How Lethwei is the Art of 9 Limbs?
If you are a fan of all kinds of martial arts then you must have heard of the art of 8 limbs or muay Thai. Muay Thai boxing is a martial art in which fighters tend to throw kicks and punches by using knees as well elbows. But Lethwei art took it way more seriously by adding another technique which is the Lethwei headbutt. This very technique is the reason people are scared of this fighting art.
Fearless Lethwei boxers with an amazing headbutt technique can literally end the game or round in no time. This is the reason why Lethwei is also known as the art of 9 limbs.
Did we mention the other name of this Myanmar national sport? No? It’s the Burmese bare knuckle boxing. Yes! A lot of names.
Techniques of Lethwei:
Lethwei has only one or two different techniques than other martial arts, especially muay Thai. In Lethwei, fighters fight using headbutt techniques and bare-knuckle that’s why it’s called Burmese bare knuckle boxing. People tend to confuse muay Thai with Lethwei because of the mostly similar stances and techniques. Nevertheless, the Lethwei is more violent and brutal which gets scary sometimes.
The main focus of the lethwei techniques is to mix jabbing and kicking. A fighter can punch from distance and shorter-range as well. Also, the use of elbows and knees in the clinch is common practice.
The main objective of each fighter is to do as much damage to the opponent in a single jab or kick.
Lethwei Boxing Rules:
As we have mentioned earlier that Lethwei has evolved since 1963, that is why this striking art is divided into two types of rules which are modern and traditional. Well, the traditional rules were harsher and more brutal as there was no judging and deciding aspect. Let’s dig deeper into Lethwei rules.
Traditional Lethwei Rules:
Myanmar boxers used to not wear any kind of protective gear such as gloves and knuckle protection. However, fighters did tend to wrap their hands with tape, gauze, or any kind of hand wrap. Other than that, they fight without wearing any chest or head protection.
Injury Time Out:
A Lethwei fighter can take 2-3 minutes for a break to recover from an injury or get himself stable. Additionally, after the injury time runs out, a boxer can decide to stay in the match or get out.
In ancestral Lethwei, as we have mentioned in previous sections, there was no such notion of scoring or judging at all. The fighters have to knock the opponent out otherwise keep getting hard punches and stabs.
Another rule regarding the scoring system of Lethwei was the 20 seconds countdown if someone gets knocked out. In a single round, 3 counts mean knockout. On the other hand, 4 counts mean knockout in the whole game.
The old Lethwei boxing art got very few chances of getting promoted on an international level. Nevertheless, Myanmar and a few near-border areas knew about this striking martial art. Still, some promotions the traditional Lethwei art had been following:
- Annual Myanmar Lethwei World Championship
- Air KBZ Aung Lan Championship
- International Lethwei Federation Japan Challenge Fights
Modern Lethwei Rules:
When it comes to protective gear, the lethwei fighting art doesn’t change much. Fighters still don’t use any kind of protective gear except some hand wraps.
Injury Time Out:
In 1996, the organizers eliminated the concept of injury time out. In modern Lethwei, fighters can’t ask for a break-even if they get injured really badly.
Contrary to traditional Lethwei, modern lethwei art does have judges who evaluate the performance. The number of judges who score everything is three, they sit beside the ring so that they can have a good look at the fight. The judges evaluate the performance based on aggression, attack rate, striking, and damage.
Now, the world has accepted Burmese boxing after 2006. Because the addition of rules and restrictions made this art popular and less brutal. Following promotions this art got.
- World Lethwei Championship
- Annual Golden Belt Championship
Is Lethwei Martial Art Legal?
Well! This is quite a complex question. Because still most of the countries aren’t accepting this art which means it is considered as an illegal fighting style since it has brutal fighting style and dirty moves. This is the reason why a lot of people haven’t heard of it regardless of its ancient history.
However, there are chances that the west and other countries will accept this fighting art and start work on legalizing it. Having said that, there is a visible rise of bare-knuckle boxing in the western market. So we can expect some positive results from the European market and the US as well.
Is the Art of 9 limbs Good for Self-Defense?
The simple answer is yes. The Lethwei can be great for self-defense as lethwei techniques are easy to adapt and can be practiced in real life. As Lethwei fighting teaches to use clever and dirty tricks for counter-attacking.
How is it Good for Self-Defense?
Following are some reasons that’ll help you understand Lethwei being better at self-defense.
- It teaches to strike using arms, legs, knees, elbows as well as the head.
- Additionally, it teaches you to use as many dirty moves as you want.
- Furthermore, it helps to understand grappling better which can be uded during real life fights. Lethwei grappling includes trips, throws, as well as takedowns.
- A valuable skill or art to escape from unwanted situations.
- Also, with Lethwei techniques, you’ll learn to punch or strike as hard as you want without your hand damage.
- Besides that, it also makes your mind prepare for any kind of danger.
- Having said that, it also trains your body to get tougher and tougher.
To sum up, we can say that the time is coming when everybody will know about this art of 9 limbs and will be here to stay longer. The Lethwei striking art might be brutal and violent but it is certainly great for self-defense. We really hope all of your questions and doubts are clear now and you know about Lethwei art which is a sort of unheard fighting technique.