Thang – Art of the Sword

Thang – Art of the Sword

Thang (Art of the Sword) – Emphasizes Phidup (coil), lowering of one’s body near to the ground to enable a spring action for expansion and attack.

TA (Spear) – Here, PHANBA, that is an opening out of the body with two forms is stressed. The two forms are NONGPHAN (to stimulate the expanse of the sky) and LEIPHAL (emulating the expanse of the earth at the ground level in order to reach out to all directions of space). The spear makes use of almost 75% of the lower extremities in motion. The Sword wielding takes 75% exercise of the upper extremities.

Thang - Art of the Sword, Thang Ta, Martial Arts, Martial Arts Actors, Martial Arts Films, Martial Arts Formats, ActingThe martial system (Thang-Ta) makes optimum use of the body through physical movements in order to make contact with the space of the opponent. The two arts are derived from the physiographic and cultural environment of the Manipur plains and the hills. The Meitei, an ethnic group with considerable sway in the plains, use both sword and spear in their weapon system. The sword is the favorite and used very effectively to protect the body from attack from all sides. The figure of eight is used very often to shield those parts of the body that are likely to be most vulnerable. The Meitei employ a lot of movement as opposed to stillness when getting ready to fight the opponent. Their own self as target is dynamic, moving, and shifting position often. The Meitei also make use of stillness when waiting for the attacking move of the opponent. This depends on the enemy that is being confronted.

Duel between Thang (a sword) and a Ta (a spear)
Thang Ta is practiced in three ways. The first is completely ritualistic in its form and can be compared to tantric practices. The second includes an amazing performance of sword and spear dances that can be converted into real fighting practices. The third is the actual technique of fighting.

According to legend, the dragon god – King Lainingthou Pakhangba, presented King Mungyamba with a spear and sword and ordered him to slay the demon Moydana of Khagi. According to another such legend, God made the spear and sword with creation of the world.

Whatever be the legends, remember that Manipuri martial arts are rich in form and have been well preserved from the times of god king Nongda Lairel Pakhangba. The fascinating Manipuri dance is based on some aspects of martial arts.

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