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I've been looking forward to Vincent Giordano's The Vanishing Flame project coming to fruition. Readers of this site should know of The Vanishing Flame project but for those that don't know: The Vanishing Flame is a project to document the dying bareknuckle boxing arts of Southeast Asia. For years, Vincent Giordano has been travelling to SE Asia searching out the old Masters and documenting the various styles.
Great news! The research on the Burmese bareknuckle style known as Lethwei is ready! Two DVD's will be released soon and named "Born Warriors". There are outtakes from the DVDs that Vincent Giordano has been kind enough to share. Previously he has shared some outtakes from his previous project, The Physical Body, which documented Kushti (Indian wrestling).
Enjoy the promo trailer as well as 5 outtakes which offer a glimpse into the various aspects of Lethwei! Can't wait for the DVD's!!
Born Warriors - Promo Trailer
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.
Born Warriors - Promo Trailer from Vincent Giordano on Vimeo.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part One
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.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part One from Vincent Giordano on Vimeo.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Two
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.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Two from Vincent Giordano on Vimeo.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Three
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 U Bo Sein's Lethwei class in 2005.
In the full-release DVD, we'll focus on this topic in the Training and Training Methods section.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Three from Vincent Giordano on Vimeo.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Four
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.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Four from Vincent Giordano on Vimeo.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Five
In 2003, a Burmese video company recording the major Lethwei fights in Yangon assembled some of the knockouts from the various shows they had filmed and put them on a VHS tape for me. The quality of the video production and the editing were both poor. Still, the video is a record of the time and is entertaining to watch. Here we present the first 12 minutes of the final 35-minute piece along with some newer additional footage.
Born Warriors: Outtakes Part Five from Vincent Giordano on Vimeo.
For further info, please check out:
- Born Warriors Vimeo Channel
- Kushti: The Physical Body outtakes series Vimeo Channel
In case you missed them, here are some related entries:
- The Vanishing Flame: A Filmmaker’s Journey to Document the Endangered Martial Arts of Asia
- Muay Thaimes: Burmese Lethwei: The Ancient Art of Bare Knuckle Fighting by Vincent Giordano
- Review: Physical Body DVD
- The Physical Body DVD Outtakes 1/2 - Hanuman Akhara in Delhi, India
- Physical Body DVD Outtakes 1/2 Part 2 - Jori/Gada swinging at Morchali Birbaba Akhara in Varanasi
- Kushti: Physical Body Outtakes Part 3
- Kushti: Physical Body DVD Outtakes Part 4 - Rope Mallakhamb
- Kushti: Physical Body DVD Outtakes Part 5 - Jor (paired practice)
- Kushti (Indian Wrestling) - The Physical Body DVD outtakes Part 6 (Yoga's Sun Salutation)
- Kushti (Indian Wrestling) - The Physical Body DVD outtakes Part 7 (Warmups)
- REVIEW: Krabi Krabong: The Buddhai Sawan Path Deluxe 2 DVD set