Martial Arts Odyssey: Training With Shan State Army

In Martial Arts on December 22, 2007 at 7:45 am

 By Dante Scott


In the film Rambo III, Sylvester Stallone pretends to go into the war in Burma with one of the tribal armies. Antonio Graceffo did it for real.


The new episode of Martial Arts Odyssey is filmed inside of Burma, in a war zone, and features the first glimpse most westerners will have of the Shan art of Lai Tai Kung Fu.


Watch it on youtube:


“In the show I am always looking for new and exotic martial arts to feature in the show.” Says host, Antonio Graceffo. “I particularly like giving a glimpse into a martial art that most people have never heard of. So, I chose Lai Tai, the Kung Fu of the Shan people.”


The Shan people are one of many ethnic minorities, living inside of Burma, who are being subjected to brutal treatment by the military forces of the SPDC, the Junta that runs Burma.


“Since journalists aren’t allowed inside of Burma, the only way for me to do the show, was to go through the jungle, under the protection of the Shan State Army, and film on a military base.”


The Shan are a unique ethnic group, who have their own language, culture, and martial arts. The Shan State Army (SSA) is one of the ethnic rebel armies fighting for independence.


In every episode of the show, Antonio tries to tell something about the culture and the history of the country where he is filming. This show, however, has a political undertone. The Shan were independent for centuries, but are now waging a defensive war against the Burmese army who occupies their land.


“I normally steer clear of politics. But, this situation is so sad. The war has been going on for more than forty years. Almost none of the SSA soldiers were born in a time of peace. The Burmese forces (SPDC) use rape, torture, and terror as weapons to control and annihilate Burma’s many ethnic minority people.”


The Shan soldiers knew about the Rambo film.


“The Colonel asked me to bring Rambo when I came back.” Said Antonio. “He said if Rambo would come for just one day, it would make the soldiers know that the American knew about their struggle and that world hadn’t forgotten them.”


“The Shan dream of a day when their children can live in peace in a free country, called Shanland.” Said Antonio.


Sly, if you are out there, please contact Antonio Graceffo


Watch the show on youtube



shan, Shanland, army, SSA, Lai, Tai, Burma, Burmese, Myanmar, Brooklyn, Monk, Antonio, Graceffo, Martial, Arts, Odyssey


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