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We hope our new Interviews section will introduce readers to a wide variety of people involved in Lethwei throughout the years. The first two interviews feature martial artist and author Zoran Rebac, whose travels to Myanmar began in the early ‘80s, and educator/humanitarian and Japan and Myanmar Lethwei coordinator Takamori Tatsuya, who began his involvement with Lethwei and Myanmar in 1997.Continue reading
Zoran Rebac was born in Zagreb, Croatia on March 24, 1954. He began his training in Tae Kwon Do as a teenager, eventually achieving the rank of 2nd Dan. Zoran was a member of the national team and won the National Championship twice before turning his attention to the art of Muay Thai.
Martial Couderette’s beautifully crafted 240-page, black and white photo book is totally devoted to the art of Lethwei. His deep, eight-year immersion into the sport is clearly displayed on each page as he covers not only the fight tournaments but also the trainers, training camps, and fighters.
Those wishing for a deeper and richer exploration of Myanmar should visit the webpage of Saya Thant Myint-U. His writing on the subject through his books and articles is rich with unique cultural perspective and critical historical understanding.Visit The Saya Thant Myint-U Site
The origin of this important early film footage begins with the career of Jean Alexandre Louis Promio, who later became known as Alexandre Promio. He was a pioneering French cinematographer, who filmed the footage in July 1896. Promio was an assistant to a French optician when he witnessed the first presentation of the Lumiere brothers cinematographe, a motion-picture apparatus used as both a camera and projector in June 1895. The Lumiere brothers were among the first filmmakers in history, and the burgeoning technology greatly excited and impressed Promio. In March 1896, he left his job to start working with the Lumiere brothers, who were looking to expand their business worldwide. After a short time, Promio — along with M. Perrigot, who taught Promio and others how to use the cinematographe — became responsible for training the first generation of cinematographe operators, who exhibited and showcased this new invention worldwide.
We were very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Saya U Aung Pwe Maung, the leader of the Aphyu Yaung Lethwei club. His considerable knowledge and wealth of experience was a major asset to our project. A wonderful coach, referee, father and former Lethwei competitor. It was always a joy seeing him and being around his fighters.
Moe Thee was a friend who was featured throughout our Born Warriors documentary saga and in our online clips. He adopted the name Moe Thee when he began to compete as a teenager. Moe was a Lethwei competitor, promoter, teacher and went on to become a 2009 48kg Gold Belt champion.
The bitter history between Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Thailand (formerly known as Siam) began on ancient battlefields. This included 24 wars between Ayutthaya (the ancient capital of Thailand that flourished from the 14th-18th centuries) and Myanmar that were fought by the nation’s most powerful armies.
The ancient bare-knuckle/bound-fists tournaments and fights that were held throughout Southeast Asia was a popular pastime and sport of the people, military and royalty. Every fight became a betting contest, as well as a contest of local pride. The general view is that this type of fighting was nothing more than a brutal blood sport fought to the death. This notion has largely been propagated by various forms of media from popular movies and books as well as all through the internet. Martial artists are often heard calling what they do “the older, deadly form” of a specific fighting art all the time to elevate them above the norm and attach themselves to these ancient traditions.