Unearthing the Ferocity of Lethwei: A Glimpse into Myanmar's Prized Combat Sport

In the world of combat sports, where bravery, tenacity, and raw power reign supreme, Lethwei stands as an embodiment of relentless spirit and unyielding tradition. Rooted in the heart of Myanmar, Lethwei, often referred to as Burmese bare-knuckle boxing, is a combat sport that has transcended generations and remained a symbol of the country's fighting spirit. Once upon a time in Dubai, the reigning champion of LethWei asked us to help create some video content for him as a content marketing agency.

The Origins of LethWei

The origins of Lethwei are steeped in time-honored tradition. Its history traces back to ancient Myanmar, where warriors used bare-knuckle combat as a form of self-defense and battlefield training. Lethwei's roots are deeply entwined with Myanmar's culture, and its timeless essence can be felt in every punch and strike. Unlike many modern combat sports, Lethwei proudly embraces its bare-knuckle heritage, a testament to the sport's unbroken lineage.

Rules and Traditions

Lethwei sets itself apart from other combat sports, including the globally acclaimed UFC and Thailand's celebrated Muay Thai. In contrast to the tightly regulated rulesets of the UFC, Lethwei adheres to a more traditional approach. Fighters engage in bare-knuckle battles, where punches, kicks, elbows, knees, shins, and even headbutts are permitted. It's a raw, unbridled contest of power and will that captivates both fighters and spectators.

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In neighboring Thailand, Muay Thai has risen to international fame as the art of eight limbs. It allows punches, kicks, elbows, and knees but restricts the use of the head. Muay Thai boasts a rich history and tradition of its own and has spawned countless champions worldwide. Its techniques and strategies differ significantly from those of Lethwei, showcasing the adaptability and diversity within the world of striking arts.

Dave LeDuc's Journey

The inception of Dave Leduc's incredible journey into the world of martial arts is a tale of resilience, determination, and an unwavering pursuit of a dream. It all began with a tumultuous chapter in his life, as a fierce disagreement with his father led to a pivotal turning point when he was just seventeen.

After parting ways with his family, Dave found himself navigating the challenging streets of Quebec. It was in these trying circumstances that he decided to channel his anger and energy into the discipline of martial arts. In 2009, he embarked on a path that would shape his destiny.

Lethwei Beckons: A Glimpse of Burmese Bare-Knuckle

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While honing his skills in Sanda, Dave Leduc had an encounter that would forever alter the course of his martial arts odyssey. An instructor unveiled to him the world of Burmese Bare-Knuckle, known as Lethwei. As Dave watched vintage footage of this mesmerizing and brutal sport, he was captivated by its raw intensity and tradition.

However, embarking on a journey into Lethwei wasn't a straightforward path for Dave. The sport, along with Muay Thai, remained illegal in Quebec, where he resided. Determined to pursue his dream, Dave sought a visa to Myanmar, the epicenter of Lethwei, only to discover that entry was incredibly challenging.

A Detour Through Muay Thai in Thailand

Unable to secure entry to Myanmar, Dave decided on a detour through Thailand with some companions. Acquiring a Thai visa proved to be relatively uncomplicated, affording Dave the opportunity to reside in Thailand for 30 days.

Amidst the vibrant nightlife of Thailand, Dave ventured into a Muay Thai fight, despite having no prior experience in the art. Astonishingly, he triumphed in his Muay Thai debut. This pivotal moment marked the realization that training in Thailand and competing in Muay Thai could serve as a stepping stone towards realizing his Lethwei aspirations. With the help of friends who trained at Tiger Muay Thai, Dave secured a tryout for the kickboxing team.

The Tiger Muay Thai Experience

Dave Leduc successfully passed the rigorous tryout, earning himself a scholarship to stay in Thailand and train at Tiger Muay Thai. He found himself training alongside prominent UFC veterans such as Alex Volkanovski, Dan Hooker, and Peter Yan, embracing the essence of Muay Thai.

As he began competing in Thai boxing, Dave displayed an extraordinary ability to knock out his opponents. However, his knack for swift victories posed a unique challenge. Promoters found it difficult to market his fights since the audience didn't have sufficient time to engage in gambling, affecting Dave's financial prospects as a foreign fighter in Thailand.

The Controversial Muay Thai Prison Fights

In search of opportunities to continue his journey, Dave found himself entering the realm of the controversial prison fights in Thailand. These events, organized by the Thai Department of Corrections, featured convicted criminals who were skilled Thai boxers competing against free opponents.

Dave courageously volunteered as one of the free opponents, facing off against imprisoned fighters within the confines of a maximum-security prison outside Bangkok. In one of the most remarkable fights, he battled Thahan Chor, a former Lumpini Stadium fighter incarcerated for drug trafficking.

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After depleting his resources in Thailand, Dave returned to Canada with a renewed determination to fund his journey back to Thailand. It was during this period that he reached out to a Muay Thai promoter, who informed him about the organization of Lethwei bouts. This revelation was the beacon of hope Dave had been seeking, and he seized the opportunity.


Dave Leduc's Lethwei Debut: A Remarkable Challenge

Dave's initiation into the world of Lethwei was a testament to his unyielding spirit. In his first Lethwei match, he faced an opponent with a staggering wealth of experience – the world champion Too Too, boasting an impressive record of 36-0.

Leduc's entry into Lethwei faced a unique challenge. To secure the match, the promoter misrepresented his background, claiming that Dave possessed 40 Muay Thai fights, when he had only competed in 10 professional Muay Thai bouts. As the foreign fighter challenging the national hero, Dave was met with tens of thousands of Burmese spectators hurling garbage.

Undaunted, Dave Leduc harnessed the gestures and rituals of Lethwei fighters, endearing himself to the crowd and earning their respect. What followed was a remarkable performance that culminated in a draw with Too Too, capturing the hearts of the Myanmar people.

Rising to Lethwei Stardom: Dave Leduc's Journey to Greatness


Dave Leduc's incredible journey through Lethwei was only beginning. His remarkable performance against Too Too opened the door to a title shot for the open weight championship against the reigning champion, Tun Tun Min. The two warriors engaged in an intense battle that ultimately resulted in another draw, setting the stage for a dramatic rematch later in 2016. In the rematch, Leduc prevailed, forcing Tun Tun Min to retire and clinching the coveted golden belt.

Dave Leduc's prowess in Lethwei catapulted him to stardom in Myanmar, where he received immense recognition and adoration from his fans. His remarkable journey, both in and out of the ring, led to a wedding that became a televised spectacle watched by millions. Dave Leduc had become the King of Lethwei, a legendary figure in the world of combat sports.

Over the ensuing years, he continued to defend his championship, taking on formidable opponents from Myanmar to Tokyo. Among the highly anticipated matches was his encounter with UFC veteran Seth Baczynski, who stepped into the Lethwei arena under Dave's watchful eye. The ensuing battle served as a punishing lesson and a testament to Dave's supremacy in Lethwei.

Dave Leduc's Unconventional Path: MMA, Joe Rogan, and Beyond

Before cementing his status in Lethwei, Dave ventured into mixed martial arts (MMA) while in Canada. His amateur record of 3-0 included a notable victory over a protege of Georges St-Pierre (GSP). In 2013, Dave transitioned to pro-MMA, albeit without significant training in grappling.

His journey in pro-MMA included bouts against future UFC fighter Jonathan Meunier and ONE Championship title contender Koyomi Matsushima. These experiences, while challenging, contributed to Dave's growth as a well-rounded combat sports athlete.

Dave's remarkable journey reached a global audience through his appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast, where he shared his story and journey. This significant moment elevated his popularity to new heights, making his subsequent Lethwei fights some of the most viewed events in the sport.

Dave Leduc collaborated with BJJ Fanatics affiliate Dynamic Striking to produce instructional videos on Lethwei. His first video, "Foundations of Lethwei," is now available on the platform, offering valuable insights into this Burmese Bare-Knuckle boxing style.

Dave Leduc's Unique Lethwei Training

Dave's approach to Lethwei training is unconventional and tailored to the unique demands of this combat sport. Notably, he has innovated his own training style to perfect specific techniques essential for Lethwei battles. One distinctive aspect of his training regimen is the practice of headbutts on bags and mitts, an integral component of Lethwei combat.

To facilitate his training, Dave had to instruct his pad holders on how to effectively manage and withstand the intensity of headbutt drills. This innovative approach has not only improved Dave's own skills but has also aided foreign beginner Lethwei fighters in mastering these specialized techniques at full speed.

Hand Conditioning for Lethwei

A critical aspect of Lethwei preparation is the rigorous conditioning of the fighter's hands, given that Lethwei matches are contested with bare knuckles. Dave has developed a comprehensive hand conditioning routine aimed at strengthening every part of his hands. His regimen involves a series of pushup variations, including fingertip pushups, knuckle pushups, and wrist pushups.

Additionally, Dave's dedication extends to conducting bag and pad work bare-handed, further enhancing his hand conditioning for the rigors of Lethwei competitions.

Dave Leduc's remarkable journey in martial arts, from humble beginnings to becoming the King of Lethwei, serves as a testament to his unwavering determination and relentless pursuit of excellence in combat sports. His legacy in the world of martial arts continues to grow, inspiring enthusiasts and athletes alike with his extraordinary achievements and commitment to the art of Lethwei. Dave's impact transcends the ring, as he shares his knowledge and passion with the world through instructional videos, cementing his status as a true martial arts icon. You can find out more about his by visiting his website:

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