Biography and Bando
Muhammad Ashraf Tai
(Pride of Performance)
Grandmaster and Founder of Karate and Martial Arts in Pakistan
Grandmaster Muhammad Ashraf Tai started his and Pakistan’s first ever Martial arts centre in KGA Gymkhana in early 70’s.
Grandmaster MA Tai tells us that he used to be, what we call, a “street urchin” and use to wander around. Being a Rohingya Muslim, there were not any rights that he was given except to sustain on what he gets along the way. He used to travel long distances to participate in fights and get paid off through the fights. His fights were mainly against Buddhist students. One day, he followed one of his opponents (Dibash) who turned out to be a disciple of Bando. He (MA Tai) reached out to the top monk and requested to be taken in as a student. Lee Phow Shin took MA Tai in at the age of 9 as his student and taught him the art of Bando. MA Tai git his black belt when he was 16 years of age.
Foundation in Karachi
It all began when he with his 7 friends went to a local cinema and were harassed by a few security guards there which ended up in 11 security guards single-handedly beaten up by Grandmaster MA Tai.
This is when the Grandmaster realised the need for a martial arts institute that teaches people how to defend themselves against aggression and other forms of offences and to teach them ways to achieve tranquillity and peace within the inner-self.
Equal Opportunity for Female Students
Tai’s Karate Centre was the first martial arts institute of its kind that was based on the principles of equality and diversity. The first batch of students included the same 7 friends including TWO female student who all went on to accomplish black belts around 1978. This makes Tai’s Karate Centre as one of the rarest of institutes who installed black belts to female students in the earliest of times. During this era, there aren’t many names in the history of martial arts that can demonstrate equal opportunity to female students to go on and become black belts and instructors.
What is Bando?
Bando is derived from the words Ban (trap) and do (beat). The monks to this date, practice it as a part of their religious rituals to observe a closeness to their lord Buddha.
Sandwiched between China and India is what we know today as Myanmar (or formerly, Burma). Since the days of King Anawratha (1044-1077), Buddhist monks started teaching a handful of students, in extreme secrecy, the art of skilled combat to fight the crimes committed by other Buddhists in those days. The core of this form of art (Bando) was based on foothold, breathing and meditation. Over time, it then evolved into blocking and parrying forms. Finally, offensive strikes were evolved and included to use with care.