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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also known as Bando thaing
Country of origin Myanmar Myanmar
Famous practitioners Pye Thein, Maung Gyi
Olympic sport no

Bando (Burmese:Graphie bando.jpg) is a defensive style of thaing focusing on animal-based techniques. The earliest meanings of the word were self-discipline, self-development and self-improvement. Later, it came to mean self-protection or self-defense. Bando is sometimes mistakenly used as a generic word for all Burmese martial arts but it is actually just one system.



Eagle style

As with most Asian martial arts, all bando schools start off by teaching the basic stances and footholds. This preliminary stage of training lasts for several months and in some cases the first stage may continue for years, depending on the instructor or the style. In the second stage of training, a series of blocking and parrying techniques is taught. Bando prioritises defense over offense so that the student will be able to protect themselves, should the need arise. The third stage involves the learning of offensive techniques. Most of bando's techniques are taught through forms or aka which may be performed solo or with a partner. The final stage of mastery includes participation in contests, which sometimes end in deaths.



Scorpion kick

Forms and techniques in bando are based on the movements of animals, probably through the influence of animal styles from India and China. Such routines include the boar, bull, cobra, leopard (or panther), monkey, python, scorpion, tiger and viper. The moves in each pattern are characterised by the animal which they imitate. Thus the python form includes crushing, strangling and gripping moves, the tiger form involves clawing and ripping, the viper form stresses flexibility while the deer form develops alertness. Some masters teach the black panther style as a combination of all the other animal forms.

Bando generally leaves the initiative to the opponent and relies heavily on countering maneuvers. When a bando exponent is attacked, they first withdraw and then begin the counter-attack. "Middle-style bando" is perceptive/responsive. Once the threat has been evaluated it is possible to respond with an appropriate counter, so too is destroying the opponent's weapon. If the adversary's hand or foot is broken for example, the conflict is effectively ended. Bando practitioners generally aim for the body but the head, shoulder, elbow, knee, and foot are all used for offensive purposes.

The International Bando Association

Tiger style

After WWII, Ba Than (Gyi), then director of physical education and athletics for the Union of Burma, tried to unite the techniques from the different bando styles and modernize them by founding a new Hanthawaddy bando system. The International Bando Association was officially formed on March 9, 1946. Donn F. Draeger describes the organisation's founding as follows:

In 1933 the Military Athletic Club was formed at Maymyo [sic?] in northern Burma by Gurkha Officers. By the end of the decade the club included Chin, Burmese, Kachin and Karen army officers. G. Bahadur, a Gurkha, was elected the first chairman of the club. Another luminary was Ba Than (Gyi) who was to serve twenty five years as Director of Physical Education of Burma before retiring.

...the International Bando Association, was established recently by Ba Than (Gyi) in memory of those who died in the China-Burma-India area for the allied cause in World War II. As such, it continues the work of the Military Athletic Club, which lapsed in 1948. It has of course a more international character, and Maung Gyi, its teacher accredited to the United States, is the son of Ba Than (Gyi). Maung Gyi a versatile fighter in his own right, having studied Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Western methods.[1]

Bando in the U.S.

Panther sweep

Maung Gyi, the son of Ba Than Gyi, began formally teaching bando in the 1960s in Washington, D.C. His Hanthawaddy style of bando is today the most popular Burmese martial art in the Occident.

The American Bando Association incorporates nine animal styles including the bull, boar, cobra, viper, python, panther, tiger, scorpion and eagle. Students first learn the basics of bando before progressing to the animal techniques. The basis for the ABA's bando system is a 9X9 matrix of techniques and principles. The student is encouraged to grasp the underlying principles of the art, as a single technique may only be useful in a specific situation but the principle the technique is built on will be useful in many situations.

Aside from bando, the association also teaches banshay, lethwei and naban. Students progress in rank through a set of coloured belts, a practice adopted from judo. This generally consists of the white, green, brown and black belts but some schools also include yellow as an advanced white belt. A student may only test for their black belt after at least five years of training. To progress to this stage, the student must exhibit proficiency in aka (empty-handed forms), stick weapons, bladed weapons, sparring, and pass a physical fitness test.

Internal links

See also


  1. ^ Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith (1969). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha. ISBN 978-0-87011-436-6.  
  • Nuvola apps ksig horizonta.png Ba Than (Gyi), Manual of the Bando discipline, National Bando Association, Burma, 1946-68
  • Nuvola apps ksig horizonta.png Maung Gyi, Bando, philosophy, principles et practice, IST edition, 2000
  • Nuvola apps ksig horizonta.png Maung Gyi, Burmese bando boxing, Ed. R.Maxwell, Baltimore, 1978

External links


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