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, whos 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.)
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.
Bando Self Defense. Bando classes are held at the Greenbriar Community Center in Chantilly, Virginia, on Monday evenings, 7:30 - 9:30pm. See current schedule of classes and other seminars with Piedmont Bando.
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