Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kids carry the mantle of bokator

Kids carry the mantle of bokator

Kids carry the mantle of bokator

FRESH from celebrating its success at the National Bokator Championships in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap NGO The Green Gecko Project is hoping that other schools and organisations in the province will join together to promote bokator among school children.

Green Gecko attempts to provide a safe haven for Siem Reap street kids, and three of its kids – Chieng Eng, Sophy and Nott – won silver medals in the short-sticks dance competition held at the beginning of August.

Together with the more than 70 children in residence at Green Gecko, they’ve been studying bokator for only one year. But this is not the first success that the organisation has seen at national level.

Green Gecko took a medal in the single performance display at the championships last year, after only two months of training.

The men responsible for this success are Say Teven and Pich Pouv. Say Teven was the national champion at the 2009 bokator championships and he and Pich Pouv have been working with the Green Gecko kids every week.

Bokator is the traditional Cambodian martial art and can be traced back to the Angkorian period. Clem Velasco, the development coordinator at The Green Gecko, recognises the importance it has for the children’s comportment.

“The training has had an effect on their behaviour and their health,” she says. “They look healthy and strong and they’re learning discipline, self-respect and emotion management skills.”

As the children drill in the background, tumbling to learn how to fall without hurting themselves, Pich Pouv affirms the idea that the discipline of bokator is about so much more than learning how to fight.

“It goes deeper than that. It’s about how you discipline yourself, how you carry yourself. It’s about your values”, he says.

He also feels bokator is important for re-connecting with Cambodia’s culture.

“We own this,” he stresses.

The children have given public performances of their new skills at events including International Women’s Day and the ploughing ceremony at Angkor Wat, and at venues such as the Peace Café and the Hotel de la Paix.

MOST VIEWED

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Kingdom’s exports to US mushroom 25.94% in first five months to $2.4B

    Though Cambodia’s exports to other countries have been stalled amid the evolving Covid-19 environment, the Kingdom’s shipments to the US were worth 25.94 per cent more in the first five months of this year than they were in the year-ago period. Bilateral trade between

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the