VIRAL: Burmese guys playing sepak takraw ‘need to be in the World Cup’

Screenshot from a viral sepak takraw game in a village outside Yangon. Image via Instagram / @kingleduc
Screenshot from a viral sepak takraw game in a village outside Yangon. Image via Instagram / @kingleduc

A clip of six guys playing a majestic game of sepak takraw in a village outside Yangon has gone viral on Instagram, accruing more than two million views after it was picked up by American comedian and radio host Joe Rogan.

The video was first posted by Dave Leduc, a Canadian mixed martial artist who has branded him himself the “King of Lethwei”, referring to the Burmese fighting style known for its use of headbutts.

“In Myanmar, we use our headbutts for two things: Lethwei and Chinlone. I actually think that playing this game can make you into a better fighter, it makes you more athletic and explosive,” Leduc wrote in the clip’s caption, apparently mistaking the competitive Southeast Asian sport sepak takraw (known in Myanmar as paik kyaw chin) for the non-competitive game of chinlone, which uses the same type of ball. (The ball is also called a “chinlone”, or cane ball.)

Leduc’s video got thousands of views, eventually catching the eye of Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren, a meme enthusiast who runs an organization that seeks to end water crises in sub-Saharan Africa. Wren added the caption: “o crazy! These guys need to be in the #worldcup or #mma #UFC #bellator CHAMPS!”

He credited Leduc for the video, which was viewed more than 60,000 more times on Wren’s feed since yesterday.

A few hours later, MMA commentator and former Fear Factor host Joe Rogan posted the video, and it has since been viewed by more than half of his four million followers.

Rogan wrote: “Holy shit! These guys have insane skills!”

However, he credited the video to Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren, not to the King of Lethwei.


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Holy shit! These guys have insane skills! #Repost @thebigpygmy ・・・ So crazy! Next World Cup these guys should be brought in!

A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan) on

Luckily, fellow MMA fighter and Myanmar sports darling Aung La Nsang had Leduc’s back, writing int he comments under Rogan’s video:

In an Instagram story that has since vanished, Leduc told his followers to bombard Rogan with requests to invite Leduc onto his podcast for an interview about lethwei and Myanmar.

Leduc’s assistant told Coconuts: “Dave said he feels very surprised because for him, it’s so normal because he plays chinlone all the time, but he just realized that the Myanmar culture, lethwei, and chinlone are very fascinating for the whole world.

She added: “Today, Unilad, Sportsbible, ESPN, and Vice all messaged us! It is viral!”

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