HISTORY

As with Muay Thai, Lethwei had its origins on the battlefield. The soldiers of ancient Myanmar developed a method of hand-to-hand fighting. Their purpose is to use it once they found themselves without weapons while fighting at war.

Its history can be traced back to about a thousand years in the past, where the earliest known record of the art was made. This was the time when the Pyu Empire ruled the land and the early version of Lethwei was used by the country’s warriors. It was particularly useful for wars and battles against the warriors of neighboring countries.

Even in those early days, Lethwei was used for contents and tournaments. Fighters wore hemp wrapped around their hands when they competed much in the same way as Muay Thai ropes. There were no stadiums back then so sandpits served the purpose of fight venues instead.

If you are wondering what the rules were like back then, well there would have been very few rules enforced at the time. There was only one way for fighters to win and that’s to knock out their opponent. The victor was the last man standing.

The art retained this format for centuries with no significant development. The first few changes only began to manifest themselves in the middle of the 20th century.

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