The origins of Bando are not very different from those of other martial arts. The country of Burma (Myanmar) sits between China, India, Thailand, and Tibet, making it a significant trade hub. As a result of both trade and warfare, other regional styles and disciplines influenced the traditional Burmese combative arts. However, the British conquest of Burma in the 19th century caused the arts to be forced underground. Throughout the occupation, the British outlawed the practice of combative arts, so they could not be practiced publicly. Before the British occupation, the sport of Burmese Boxing was referred to as the "sport of kings".
As a result of the British occupation, Burmese martial arts lacked organization or a structured educational system for many years. In 1946, just after WWII, a brilliant scholar and martial artist named U Ba Than Gyi became the director of the Burmese national program for physical education and athletics. He then traveled the country, seeking out many masters of various disciplines under the auspices of the government program, and attempted to unite and modernize these disciplines.
Thanks to his extensive efforts, Bando experienced a resurgence. In 1959, the discipline found its way to the west. Grandmaster U Ba Than Gyi's son, Dr. Muang Gyi, began teaching Bando in Washington, D.C., and he eventually formed the American Bando Association (ABA). Today, the ABA acts as a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring veterans, promoting cross-cultural exchange, and continuing the centuries-old legacy of Bama Thiang.