Search

Search form

Building up bokator

Building up bokator

Cambodian national kickboxing champion Say Tevine and his trainer Phearom Hok are teaching lucky Western disciples roundhouse kicks and kidney punches at Siem Reap Hostel every Thursday night.

The classes, which introduce the traditional Khmer art of bokator, start at 7:30pm, cost $5 and have been running for three weeks.

At the classes, the fighters instruct flabby barang on the correct way to punch downward from the head and how to grab a kick, twist the opponent into an awkward position and deliver a bone-breaking blow to the leg.

Muscular Say Tevine, 22, has Khmer tattoos across his chest and a sparkly, faux-diamond stud on an incisor tooth. He’s still buzzing from winning the gold medal in the 65kg weight class at the Bokator National Championships, held at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in September. He didn’t win a lot of money, but he did gain a lot of pride and a nice medal. “I was incredibly happy to win,” he says.

Say Tevine and Phearom Hok were asked by Grand Master San Kim Sean, the boss of the Cambodia Bokator Federation in Phnom Penh, to move to Siem Reap and start a bokator club 10 months ago.

They established the Mohanokor Club in a dirt road neighbourhood near Psar Leu market on National Road 6, where they hold nightly classes for Siem Reap boys and men.

Phearom Hok says Mohanokor is the only bokator club in Siem Reap, and adds, “Most of our students are workers and tour guides. I love my culture and I want to keep it alive. I want the next generation to learn about the culture, so I love teaching. If you go to Bayon or Angkor Wat temples, the carvings on the wall show the history of bokator. It makes me proud."

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all