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Bando

Bando, banshay, lethwei and naban are some of the fighting arts you’ll find in Burma (renamed Myanmar in 1989). They are collectively called thaing and are considered by the Burmese to be indigenous arts.

However, because Burma borders India and China, martial historians believe that Indians and Chinese have influenced most Burmese martial arts. The Chinese influence stems from the emigration of the Tai people from Southern China into Burma. Because of the Tai people also migrating from China into Thailand, there are also similarities between Burmese and Thai kickboxing.

Early Burmese descriptions defined the word “bando” as self-improvement and self-discipline, yet as bando developed into more of a defensive art, bando’s definition also evolved. Today, bando focuses more on self-protection and self-defense.

Therefore, bando is more of a defensive martial art. Its wide repertoire of skills and techniques are based on the fighting behaviors and defensive strategies of animals such as the cobra, python, viper, tiger, leopard (panther), monkey, bull, boar and scorpion. The heavy use of animal-influenced movements also seems to indicate a heavy connection between the Shaolin animal styles and bando.

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