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Dance of the panther with two dhas - Bando

The dha is a sword found in Burma, Thailand, and neighboring areas of mainland Southeast Asia. Among Tai speakers it is known as a darb or daarb (ดาบ), and in Tibeto-Burman languages it may be called dao, similar to the word for the Chinese saber. There is considerable local variation, but in general the dha is a single-edged weapon similar to a saber.

Dha blades have a slight curvature (sometimes curving downwards, in the direction of use) and a single edge. There are a large number of possible shapes for the tip, with upswept, downswept, squared-off and spear-like varieties all being found. The blades are often inscribed, which can range from a simple maker's mark to quite intricate designs that may also feature inlays.

Hilts of dha are often quite long in relation to the blade. with a blade/hilt ratio of 2:1 being common. Despite these long handles, most dha are meant for single-handed use, although some dedicated two-handed weapons exist. Guards are small and similar to the tsuba of the Japanese katana. The construction of the hilt can range from simple wood to elaborately worked silver and ivory.

See also

Shan’s dha


Kachin's dha
  • Bando, philosophy, principles et practice, M.Gyi, IST edition, 2000 : ABA online store
  • Traditional Burmese Boxing, Zoran Rebac, Ed. Paladin Press, 2003
  • Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts, D.F.Draeger, R.W.Smith, Kodansha, 1969

External links


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