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Plan to teach bokator in schools discussed

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Audience members watch on as two men exchange blows during a bokator match in Phnom Penh late last year. Sreng Meng Srun

Plan to teach bokator in schools discussed

Students in Cambodia may soon practice the ancient Khmer martial art of bokator if a proposal under discussion at the Ministry of Education is approved.

The Cambodian Bokator Federation is drafting a proposal to have the ministry require the sport be practiced in schools across the country.

Further details about the proposal – such as which grades would require the sport – are still under discussion, said Vath Chamroeun, the federation’s president.

However, Education Ministry spokesman Ros Salin said the ministry was already discussing the scheme.

Salin said the proposal had “good timing”, as revamped versions of the country’s curricula – which currently include sports such as football and volleyball – would be released at different stages over the next three years.

Grandmaster San Kim Sean, founder of the Cambodia Bokator Academy, said the move was “good news for me”.

“This is our traditional martial art, I want everyone in Cambodia to use it,” he said

Kim Sean added that Bokator was already taught in some private high schools.

According to oral tradition, bokator was used for close combat by the armies of the Angkorian Empire.

In 2012, preparations began to have the ancient art recognised under UNESCO World Heritage status. Kim Sean said that the process was “70 per cent” complete.

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