“A great defense serves as the best offense.” This idea is particularly true in the martial art style of Bando, as most techniques that students learn are meant to counter the assailant. Practitioners are taught to first withdraw before making a counter-strike. During their training, students initially learn the basic techniques before moving onto the Indian and Chinese influenced animal styles.
Many of these forms are named after the animal they appear to imitate. The boar form, for example, is characterized as a rushing attack, where the user uses their elbows and knees to strike. The bull form leads the practitioner to charge and tackle. The cobra, much like the snake, attacks the upper vital areas of the opponent, and the deer form teaches the student to take short leaps to jump away from the attacker. The python style teaches students on chokes and locks, while the heron form provides fast arm techniques and short jumps. It is believed that the black panther is the highest form in the animal styles, as it combines all previous forms to execute a well-balanced counter-attack.
While Bando does equip students with weapon training, for the most part most practitioners are taught bare-handed self-defense techniques. Due to its influence from Judo, students’ expertise in the field is evident through the color of one’s belt (white, green, brown, and black). Additionally, students in Bando may only test for a black belt after they have accomplished five years of training. Furthermore, to attain a black belt, they must exhibit proficiency in empty handed forms, sparring, and weapons.