Thaing is a Burmese term used to classify the indigenous martial systems of ancient Burma (now Myanmar) , the Kachin (Chingpaw) term for Thaing is Hkyen. The word “thaing” loosely translates to “total combat.” Moreover, as the loose translation stipulates, the label encompasses the range of combatives that have been systematized in Burmese martial tradition: Bando, Banshay, Lethwei, Naban, and other ethnic or tribal fighting systems native to the region. Beyond the martial elements of thaing, practitioners are enjoined to incorporate ethical principles such as humility, patience, tolerance, integrity, loyalty, courage, knowledge, physical and spiritual strength, and love of family. Traditional styles are sub-divided into systems or forms named for (and adopting the mythical characteristics of) animals such as the boar or the python.
Kachin animal systems embody both the physical and mental attributes of the animal described. Systems are further tied into human attributes as well, because it is believed that a fighting method must fit the individual’s nature rather than forcing the individual to adopt and conform to the system. As an example, the Bull system with its “charging, tackling, [and] power striking” is for a big, strong, aggressive person who likes to deliver punishment to an opponent, but does not mind receiving punishment in return. In a confrontation, the Bull will attempt, as far as possible, to remain at a distance from an opponent until the opportunity to deliver a devastating attack arises. The Boar is a smaller, quicker version of the Bull who attempts to get inside and work from clinching range. Lethwei is therefore said to be a combination of the Bull and Boar sets. Nevertheless, neither Bull nor Boar is simply a form of standup striking; they incorporate ground fighting as well. However, the ground fighting in these sets seeks less to grapple than to pin the enemy to the ground so that he can be struck at will. Thus during a takedown, bodyweight drives through the opponent’s legs and torso along with twisting and lifting slams. In contrast, there are several Snake systems that are very supple, quick and relaxed. For example, the Python subset is grappling intensive. Here the purpose of strikes is to stun so that the opponent can be taken to the ground for the finishing techniques. Python takedowns rely primarily on imposing one’s body weight on an opponent. The Kachin style also includes a “Monk” system, which utilizes internal martial methods and yogic practices.
In the practice of thaing all techniques are considered appropriate to the point where biting and eye gouging and other related "fouling" techniques are turned into a science. These techniques are woven into and practiced along with your other skills so that in any situation be it grappling or standing the practitioner learns to put himself in position to deliver the technique while protecting himself from reprisal.
The attitude is to do as much damage as possible very quickly and leave your enemy unable to commit further attack. All forms of striking and grappling is used as wherever the fight would go you accept it and just continue fighting.
In the practice of Thaing it becomes obvious as to why the lineage holder's family is trained differently than outsiders are in that it gives him usage of a much larger toolbox in all ranges. He has no limitation in either technique or movement pattern as he has a knowledge of all the animal systems.
As with other segments of the Burmese arts sporting versions were organized to better prepare warriors for battle. These sporting versions are needed so a practitioner can work timing ability to absorb punishment etc. The sport version of Thaing is NHB with biting removed and all other techniques being legal. As with most Burmese combat sport Thaing matches are held in a sand circle. Over the years it has not been uncommon for participants to die or be maimed.
Thaing is in a nutshell is out and out no rules style combat covering anywhere and any situation one may find himself. You accept the totality of combat and go about fighting to survive by any means necessary. I personally feel this attitude and training methodology is paramount in a modern self defense scenario.
Thaing is the overall system that has spawned the smaller components known as Lethwei , Banshay, Naban and sporting versions of Thaing itself.
is a natural step in this progression.