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The Hero with a Thousand Holds

Nov 25, 2020

The two primary martial arts of Burma are Lethwei (a form of bare-knuckle kickboxing featuring headbutts) and Naban, a grappling style that allows palm strikes, and with a focus on ferocious pressure and unforgivingly applied submissions. Phil Dunlap has a lifetime of experience in both of these Burmese arts, with a lineage that stretches back to his grandfather's time in Kachin State during World War II.

In this episode, I talk with Phil about how these two seemingly divergent combat styles actually complement each other remarkably well, the cultural factors that influence how martial arts are practiced among the different ethnic groups of Burma, the past and potential future of Burmese grappling, and how his combat base in Naban still sees him medalling at high-level BJJ tournaments well into his 50s.