Bando Martial Arts and Self-Defense


Dr. Maung Gyi, 2015

Bando refers to a range of martial arts practices from Burma (now called Myanmar) that were brought to the United States by Grandmaster Dr. Maung Gyi in the late fifties.  In 1966 he formed the American Bando Association, whose primary purpose was to share these practices, including empty hand systems, edged weapons, staff fighting, and grappling.

Today, those who are interested in studying Bando have the opportunity to train in a wide range of skills that match the person’s interests and aptitudes.  Subsystems in Bando include free-fighting and empty-hand forms, kickboxing, naban (a Burmese form of wrestling), nine different animal fighting systems, edged weapons, and staff fighting (both long and short sticks). Specialty areas of training include the Monk system (focusing on minimizing harm to an opponent), the Weiza (Wizard) system (requiring high levels of skill in deception), and the Cane system.  There is also a set of Bando yoga practices that are aimed at improving health and in conditioning the body for martial movements.  (You can read more about these subsystems and the history of Bando on the ABA’s website.)


Grandmaster Joe Manley

Piedmont Bando of Northern Virginia provides instruction focusing on use of Bando techniques for self-defense, incorporating aspects of the Bando Cobra system, the Bando Boar system, and the Monk System; students also have the opportunity to train in staff systems and edged weapons as they develop basic defensive and offensive skills.   The weekly classes are led by Debby Kirkman and Jim Sheeran, who study under one of Dr. Gyi’s original students, Joe Manley.  The class format integrates beginner level to black-belt practitioners; all students train together on with individualized guidance matching the student’s level of expertise.  Weekend seminars with extended training are also offered, and students are encouraged to attend national events and to work with other Bando instructors on areas of interest outside of what’s taught in the regular classes.

Classes and Events

Bando Self Defense.  For the duration of the Pandemic, Piedmont Bando of Northern Virginia will be offering on-line classes only, focusing on Bando drills and refining Bando techniques.  See calendar for current class times.  For more information, contact Debby Kirkman (see contact page).


Bando Monk System

Bando Monk System training is now being offered via a bi-monthly weekend training session.   Students interested in the monk are welcome to attend all or parts of the weekend training.  Note that these training weekends are suspended until there is a higher level of safety and reduced risk of public harm from the coronavirus pandemic.

Private instruction may also be arranged.  


Piedmont Bando Blog

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