Bando is credited as a style of armed and unarmed combat native to Burma. It is an assimilation of Karate-like striking and kicking techniques, Judo-like throwing techniques, swordplay and fighting with knives, spears and sticks.
There are numerous interpretations of the term Bando, and different linguistic and ethnic groups hold to diverse translations. There are many styles of Bando, but most follow basic instructional patterns. The art emphasizes initial withdrawal followed by an attack outside the opponent’s reach. All parts of the body are employed in these attacks, and once the initial technique is delivered, grappling and locking techniques are used. Techniques are learned first through formal exercises in some systems and only later through sparring.
Bando's origins are closely linked to Buddhist temples and their teachings, the temples also traditionally functioned as educational centres. People from India, such as those who preached Buddhism, brought their culture and martial arts to the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. The Chinese whom the Burmese once regarded as kin also influenced Burmese culture. The mix of Chinese and Indian martial arts, particularly the animal styles were what originally gave birth to bando.
The basis for the Bando System is a 9X9 matrix of techniques and principals. The student is encouraged to grasp the underlying principals of the system, as a single technique may only be useful in a specific situation, but the principal the technique is built on, will be useful in many situations.
All bando schools start off by teaching the basic stances and the 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 of bando being taught.
In the second stage of training, the bando student has to go through a series of blocking and parrying techniques. At the end of this stage, the student is fairly well equipped for defending himself against unarmed attackers,but he cannot be regarded as a full-fledged fighter.
The final stage involves the learning of offensive techniques. Before the student learns these techniques, the master makes sure that he will not abuse his knowledge. This cautious attitude towards the learning of the martial arts was probably derived from the Chinese tradition of martial arts instruction. There have been many cases of students abusing their acquired skills to the extent that sometimes the masters are threatened.