Where did you study Bando? I studied it for 2 years when I lived in Worcester, 1980-1982. I studied with Bob Platukis and had the pleasure of meeting and training a little (very little) with Dr. Gyi (sp?). Granted, I only studied Bando for 2 years, but we did a lot of form work. There were empty hand and weapons forms as well as 2 man pre-arranged sets. We really didn't do any grappling, although that could have been because of Mr. Platukis' preference.
It was not bando, it was bando karate. Which is basically shotokan merged with....well bando and lithwei or whatever its called. IT was created by a shotokan fighter from india who went to burma. I forgot his name, but my former master trained under him, and has a direct linage.
I studied it for 4 years. THe first two years was because my father FORCED me to study it, i hated it but because there was 'karate' behind it, i did NOT want to learn it because all the kids in school believed karate sucked. But after sitting there for two years i was actually into it, and started training seriously for another 2 years. But by that time, the master lost real interest in teaching then he had in the beginning.
Yes, there WAS alot of form work. Most of what i did was shotokan, but there were some significant differences in the stances, and placement and philosophy. The higher level students techniques looked very different then what i was learning, i left for WKS when i started the higher level techniques.
What i can tell you is that alot of the higher level striking looked like muay thai, but there was a fair bit of grappling in what I saw.
My master was india's former karate champion mohammed Ahmed, anyone heard of him? He was very very very fast and strong and good at almost every aspect of fighting, but his teaching was filled with traditionalism(You got hit or yelled at if you smiled) and was very very cookie cutter.
Also, i suspected that he stopped caring about his students.
WHen you met Mr.Gyi, did he teach in a very strict manner Mr.Abrahamson?
For those who dont know, Dr.Gyi is the guy who basically brought Bando to the outside world.
ANd i dont think burma is burma anymore, i think its called Mayamar or somthing like that. All i know is that the art of bando is pretty isolated from the world, acording to this article i read on a martial arts website, i think it was 'about.com' or 'ask.com' or something like that. There is an article at 'mayamar.com' NOTE: MY SPELLING FOR THESE PLACES IS HORRIBLE,HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE,
Anywhoo does what i said sound like what you studied Norm?