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Born Warriors Crew

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The master index of Vincent Giordano’s extensive training and research journeys through Southeast Asia and India, of which the Born Warriors project is a part. The website is forthcoming.

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LW Mark's Lethwei Schedule site is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the sport of Lethwei. It continually lists upcoming Lethwei tournaments (not only in Myanmar but in countries like Japan), and then follows up with the fight results. His work extends into fighter records and clearing up the often-confusing number of tournament and rule sets that make up the contemporary Lethwei fight circuit. Nowhere else can you find such extensive material written in English that is easy to locate in one concise location. The site can also be used by those visiting Myanmar who might want to go to an event but don't know where or when the shows are being held.

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Martial Courdette’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.

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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
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The Fight Site offers complete combat sports coverage including a burgeoning page dedicated to Lethwei.

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by Vincent Giordano

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.

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So much has changed since Born Warriors was released, both in Myanmar and the sport of Lethwei.

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We did a poll on our Born Warriors Facebook page on May 27, 2018 to determine if this old footage from 1896 was Lethwei or Naban.

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The Thai and Burmese have competed against each other for centuries, both in times of war and times of peace.

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Lethwei is a diverse and durable fighting sport that has evolved over the decades. It has slowly risen from the ashes of military control which limited its expansion to global notoriety in the wake of the opening of Myanmar.

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Were the ancient Burmese, Thai, Cambodian and Lao bare-knuckle/bound-fist bouts a fight to the death, or were they fought for the most part in a more civilized manner?

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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.

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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.

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by Vincent Giordano

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.

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by Vincent Giordano

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by Vincent Giordano

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.

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