Lethwei or Burmese boxing is a full-contact combat sport from Myanmar that utilizes brutal elbow strikes along with various headbutts and clinching techniques. Lethwei is considered to be one of the most aggressive and brutal martial arts in the world- known as the Art of Nine Limbs. The unique close-range striking of Lethwei is reminiscent of those of Bajiquan, both descending from stick/polearm methods of feudal dynasties.
The method of clenching fists in Bajiquan is unlike standard boxing in origin. The four-finger curves and hollows, in a shape similar to a “palladium” or fork-like instrument. The ancients named it “Palladium Fist/Baziquan” during the Ming Dynasty. The system excels in close-in boxing, stick melee/polearm applications and shares technology similar to Yin Style Baguazhang (Phoenix Curling-In) and Escrima (Snapping Strikes). The fist hollows and clenches in intervals, or with a whip-like fashion before impact- designed for speed, rapid succession, and delivery of power with polearms or batons.
Certain historians believe the unarmed structures of western boxing evolved from the quarterstaff. The angles of the guard and strikes in that era are reminiscent of the exotic postures seen in many Kungfu styles. Modernization of boxing/empty-hand fighting has gradually altered the original polearm structures- inherent in the east and the west. [John L. Sullivan in pic]
Dong Haichuan’s Baguazhang footwork shares ancestry with Ming-era systems in Hebei Province, including Bajiquan. The T-step (also called T Square) is well documented in Ming General Yu Dayou’s ‘Sword Classics’, with emphasis on polearms in origin. The reversing T step describes escaping backward, then taking advantage of an arched position in counterstrike. The T method immediately turns the back and attacks the opponent with a square geometry. Treatise: the t-square step can be used for regression, but also for progression; it may retreat; can be advanced in an arc, it can be rotated forward, or it can enter at a curve; Use every possible way to discover and apply the principal.
By the 20th century, Internal Martial Arts became reimagined by reformers and teachers striving to preserve Chinese culture, or to strengthen the Chinese nation against foreign oppression. The martial arts context of today evolved into a nationalized project that had state backing. The feudal intent of Chinese Martial Arts is urban with biomechanics beneficial to the average professional or person. It is largely impractical for a citizen to train self-defense in preparation against unarmed Combat Sports Champions in real-world situations. The Kungfu vs MMA debate is a symptom of inaccurate historical documentation and modernized goals.