Lerdrit: Military Muay Thai

Have you ever wondered if the Thai military uses a form of Muay Thai in their training? They actually do, and the name of this style is Lerdrit or Muay Lerdrit.

Here is a breakdown of the military style of Muay Thai, known as Lerdrit. Read below to learn how it was developed, its purpose, and how it compares to other Muay styles.

What is Muay Lerdrit?

Lerdrit, also known as Muay Lert Rit, Leer Rit, or Muay Lerdrit, is a military style of Muay Thai. It is generally taught to members of the Royal Thai military.

  • Muay: The Thai word for boxing.
  • Lerd: Thai words that mean superior or excellent
  • Rit: Thai word meaning powerful force.

This is basically an updated style of Muay Boran, the ancient martial art of war taught to Thai soldiers.

The History of Lerdrit

The art of Lerdrit was developed by Muay Boran/Krat master, General Arjan Lertrit, For decades, General Lertrit was one of the Thai nation’s top generals, who was an expert.

He was also an expert practitioner of the Muay Boran style called Muay Korat and oversaw the training of the Royal military.

General Lertrit felt that the modern Thai soldier’s style needed to be updated. Lerdrit took many aspects of these Muay styles and developed his own Boran style called Muay Lerdrit.

His style was implemented into the training of the Royal Thai Military. The Royal Thai military has used the General’s Muay style for decades.

Members of the Royal Thai Military became known for their effective striking skills. The biggest military forces in the world, from the US to the UK, have trained and learned the style of Lerdrit.

Today, General Lertrit’s only living pupil, General Tunwakom, is continuing the legacy of his master.

The Purpose of Muay Lerdrit

Muay Lerdrit

The purpose of Muay Lerdrit is simple: counter your enemy’s attack with quick and powerful counters. 

In Lerdrit, you keep a tight stance and make swimming motions with your arms to catch/re-direct strikes. These movements put your opponent off balance, which gives you the opening to land a powerful strike to end them.

The Techniques of Lerdrit 

The techniques of Muay Lerdrit are based on close-range counterfighting. Here are some effective techniques from the self-defense style, detailed below.

Horizontal Elbow

In this version of a Lerdtit, horizontal elbow off of a parry/block with your opposite hand. When your opponent throws a strike or swings a knife, your opposite arm makes a swimming motion to meet the strike.

As you block the strike, your blocking arm redirects your opponent’s arm across their body, exposing their head. When your arm comes back in position, you throw a quick horizontal elbow to the head.

Side Switching Push Kick

This variation of Muay Thai includes a nice switch push/sidekick option off a counter. The setup starts with the same Lerdrit-style circling of your guards.

You nonchalantly switch your stance as you redirect your opponent’s strike and circle your hands back. When you do this movement, you’re actually disguising a stance switch.

Your back steps through as you lift your knee up and shoot out a stiff push kick.

Muay Lerdrit Style Knee

Just like with Muay Thai and Muay Boran, Lerdrit emphasizes keeping a tight stance. One of the common straight knee strikes from the style is off a high block.

When an opponent throws an arm strike or attempts to clinch, you step in and meet them with a high block. After getting in range and blocking the strike, keep your opponent’s guards up as you deliver a knee to the body.

The video shows a straight knee to the body, but you can use any type of knee you want.

Step Back Uppercut

Off the same Lerdrit guard circling motion, you can use it to counter an opponent with a solid uppercut Your opposite hand swims in to redirect the strike and move back into position.

When your hand returns to position, you fire off a same-hand uppercut. You could throw any hand strike you’d like for this setup, and it will work.

Muay Lerdrit Training


Being a military style of Muay Thai, Muay Lerdrit is taught in a militaristic way. Soldiers have to drill the techniques for hours and go through exhausting conditioning workouts. 

Then, on top of hand-to-hand techniques, Royal Thai soldiers also drill knife and weapon defense techniques for hours on end.

Muay Thai vs. Muay Lerdrit 

When comparing Muay Thai vs. Muay Lerdrit, you’ll notice that the martial arts were developed from the same source. Both include using eight limbs to grab hold of your opponent/enemy and deliver powerful strikes.

The main difference between the two is Muay Thai is sport-based, and Lerdrit is military-based. Meaning Muay Thai training is to get better at a sport, and Lerdrit’s is for self-defense.

Muay Thai can be used for self-defense, but modern training is based more on competition than self-defense.

Muay Boran vs. Muay Lerdrit

Muay Lerdrit is more or less a direct descendant of the Muay style of Muay Boran. The Muay style, which modern Muay Thai would evolve from.

Like Lerdrit, Muay Boran was developed for Thai soldiers to use in hand-to-hand combat. Both Muay styles consist of many of the same techniques, including weapon use and defense.  

The creator, General Arjan Lertrit, was a practitioner of the Boran style called Muay Korat. While developing Muay Lerdrit, one of his goals was to make an updated form of Muay Boran.

Is Lerdrit an Effective Martial Art?

The art of Muay Lerdrit or Leert Rit is an effective self-defense style with roots in classic Muay Thai. It consists of several proven effective fighting techniques developed over centuries. Learning some Lerdric techniques would benefit your self-defense skills.

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