Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters begin medal push

Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters begin medal push

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
From left: Jessa Khan, Vivaddhana Khaou, Jayson Panathong and Paas Jasper. AFP

Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters begin medal push

World-renowned martial art Brazilain jiu-jitsu caused a stir in downtown Phnom Penh a couple of years ago when French-born Cambodian Vivaddhana Khao began to passionately promote his H/Art Academy.

Inspired by his training and competition experiences in Japan’s Axis Jiu Jitsu, Khao’s mission went far beyond just training young men and women in the self-defence oriented style of fighting – he wished for recognition from the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia so that the Kingdom could enter the competitive stage.

After nearly two years of hard lobbying and promoting, the now 29-year-old Khao achieved that goal – and at 10am on Friday he will line up in the men’s -69kg class at the JCC Convention Center in Jakarta as the first Cambodian BJJ competitor, in a discipline that had never previously been part of the Asian Games protocol for all these years.

Born in Paris, Khaou’s father is Cambodian and his mother French, and an urge to try “something challenging” after his studies in Phnom Penh drove him to this hugely popular style of martial arts, and he has in turn driven it as an attractive choice for Cambodia at the Games.

The Kingdom is fortunate enough to find a female co-competitor with Khaou who also has an impressive track record.

This year’s double gold Pan Am champ Jessa Khan, who also has Cambodian lineage, trains out of Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy in California.

She has a slew of grand performances in Organge county, San Diego, World Championship and LA Super Championship and can make her class count in the women’s -49 kg class.

According to team leader Jayson Panathong, there are high expectations of the 23-year-old Khan and Khaou doing the country proud, and Dutch coach Paas Casper is also guardedly optimistic that the two stand a good chance of a podium finish.

Panathong said: “If Jessa fights to her full potential and uses her skills and strength the way she has done in so many high-profile events, she should be among medals.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in