This is the first trailer for the forthcoming documentary, Born Warriors, which describes the world of Burmese Lethwei, or bare-knuckle fighting. The Lethwei fighters are the last of the bare-knuckle fighters in Southeast Asia who have maintained this ancient tradition in spite of near-constant turbulence and upheaval that has sometimes threatened the sport's very survival.
The documentary has two parts. The first details Lethwei before Burma's era of Democratic reform. The second focuses on how the sport is again evolving as it struggles with growth and the fierce competition to control and dominate it.
2014 Myanmar (Burma) Film Festival -- Special Award
2014 Ocktober Film Festival
2014 Bakersfield Film Festival
2014 Big Apple Film Festival
From the forthcoming DVD set BORN WARRIORS available soon!
In Part One of our outtakes series, Ali, a former aspiring Lethwei middleweight contender, trains out of his own backyard in Thaton under the tutelage of his father. Ali's preparations for a upcoming bout are tainted by his father's belief that someone has cast a black magic spell on Ali, resulting in a lack of energy. It proves to be a omen when he loses by knockout to then reigning champ Lone Chaw in a major fight in Yangon.
Here Ali takes us through an overview of his workout day and the exercises and preparation he goes through to prepare for each bout.
In Part Two of our outtakes series, we take a further look at Lethwei's training routines visiting a once popular camp in Mandalay. Poverty and a scarcity of tournaments typically force Lethwei fighters to train anywhere they can - from spartan backyards to temple grounds. Some Burmese Lethwei camps manage to cobble together a reasonable amount of equipment, but the resources of most fall far below the level of the poorest and most basic Muay Thai camps in Thailand. The situation is slowly changing, but this glimpse from the past shows how, even in the worst conditions, fighters can train hard and gain advantage in the ring.
In Part Three of our outtakes series, we look at the various warm-ups used in the many different Lethwei camps and training classes. Some camps have long, organized routines. Others leave it up to each individual to get his or her body ready for training. Here we look at one of the organized group routines used in Saya Sein's Lethwei class in 2005.
In Part Four, we focus on Lethwei Yei, a distinct Burmese display of respect, bravery and courage that serves as a forceful challenge to his or her opponent. The dynamic Yei differs from the boxing dances used in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. It is unique.