Thaing

Summary

Thaing represents a range of Burmese martial arts, including Bando, Banshay, Lethwei and Naban. Disciplines that comprise Thaing are believed to have been influenced by Indian and Chinese arts. Numerous internal arts and sports were derived from Thaing. Originally, Thaing included nine forms, each representing one of Myanmar’s major ethnic group. These included Burmese, Indian, Chinese, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Mon, Talaing and Shan. Today, arts that make up Thaing are experiencing a growth in popularity and are practiced around the world. Thaing includes several techniques, including unarmed full contact combat, Kickboxing styles, Wrestling and grappling styles and arts of weapons.

History / Origins

ETYMOLOGY

The word Thaing loosely translates as “total combat”. Moreover, names of its integral arts have their own meanings. For example, Bando can be translated as the “way of discipline”, although there are several other interpretations as well.(1)

BEGINNINGS

Disciplines of Thaing have developed in Burma. Burma has a rich history and its culture was mainly influenced by India, China and Tibet. Until 1000 A.D, Indian influences were dominant, but as contacts with China were established, the primacy of influence on martial arts shifted to China. Thaing disciplines were highly influenced by Buddhism and its philosophical principles. The Burmese state was at its peak around 1551, when it held the most of Indo-China. For three centuries, Burma was at war with Thailand and Burmese kings often led massive armies into battles. These helped the development of martial arts, including those concentrating on stick, spear and sword fighting. Burmese boxing was also developed and it often included dangerous weapons, such as iron fists, steel claws and brass knuckles.

England invaded Burma in 1824 and during this period modern weapons suppressed the traditional fighting styles. As the colonial governors feared native rebellions, practice of ancient fighting arts was suppressed for over a century. Thus the training of Thaing, Banshay, Bando, Burmese boxing and other arts moved to the underground. Only several arts were taught in secret by rare masters. The Japanese army marched into Burma in 1942, supported by Burmese nationalists who wished to drive the British out from their country. During their occupation, the Japanese tried their best to restore the ancient fighting arts of Burma and introduced their fighting styles. At this time, numerous young practitioners started training and the arts of Bando and Burmese boxing were revived.(2)

PRESENT DAY

Today, disciplines that comprise Thaing are regarded as the national sports in Burma. These include the Lethwei, Banshay, Bando, Pongyi Thain and Chinlone. Nowadays, two traditional styles of Thaing have survived in Burma, including the Karen “School of Seven Arts” and the Mon “School of Nine Arts”. Regular exhibitions and tournaments have been held since the 1990s with the help of the government. Thaing disciplines are also often featured in national student sports festivals, together with imported arts such as Boxing and Karate. These are often practices by both men and women.

Overseas, Thaing is represented by two styles, including the Kachin style and The American Bando Association (ABA) system. Together with its precedent, the NBA system, ABA incorporates other Asian and Western Combat systems into Thaing, featuring the animal forms which also teach psychological attitudes to practitioners.(3)

FOLKLORE

Thaing arts are closely connected to the Burmese history. One of the most notable parts of the folklore connected to Bando, one of the Thaing arts, is connected to its techniques. Bando features twelve different sets of techniques, each connected to a particular animal. These include Boar, Bull, Cobra, Deer, Eagle, Monkey, Paddle Bird, Panther, Python, Scorpion, Tiger and Viper. Each of these includes special moves which can be connected to an animal and they all also feature important philosophical principles.

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Practices

PHILOSOPHY

Burmese martial arts were highly influenced by Chinese and Indian wisdom and philosophy. This is why early Burmese fighters perceived every aspect of nature as if it was imbued with spirit. Burmese fighters thus drew strength from the spiritual realm of nature – and this is the principle from which the Bando Animal System sprang as well. Thaing disciplines teach practitioners to achieve both physical and mental strength while training. Mental hardness is often created through a philosophy that encourages the acceptance of death, leading to liberation from fear. Fighters can then be ready to fight for total victory.

TECHNIQUES

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TRAINING

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RANKS & GRADING

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WEIGHT CLASSES

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Rules / Rulesets

RULES / RULESETS

Traditionally, Burmese arts were very aggressive and often fought without rules. The basic concept of Thaing disciplines was the idea of life and death struggle. Therefore, numerous actions, for example biting and attacking from behind were not regulated. Disciplines of Thaing were originally meant as means of self-defence and attack in dangerous situations. However, there are several rules which are applied to sports competitions, and these include some rigorous regulations. The sparring bouts in most disciplines last for about two minutes and they are being judged by several referees. Participants are required to wear prescribed protective gear. Moreover, most competitions define strictly forbidden targets and these include the back of the head, throat, spine and knee joints.(4)

Organisations & Historical Places

ORGANISATIONS

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HISTORICAL PLACES

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Popular Culture

POPULAR CULTURE

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Useful Links

USEFUL LINKS

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References

REFERENCES

  1. http://www.asylumfightteam.com/burmese-martial-arts.htm
  2. http://www.americanbandoassociation.com/the-history-of-bando
  3. http://www.asylumfightteam.com/burmese-martial-arts.htm
  4. http://www.americanbandoassociation.com/component/content/article/22-membership/communtiy/137-rules-regulations-nationals

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Contact

CONTACT

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