Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New book traces bokator’s historic roots



New book traces bokator’s historic roots

Bokator grandmaster San Kim Sean holds up illustrations from a new book on the martial art.
Bokator grandmaster San Kim Sean holds up illustrations from a new book on the martial art.

New book traces bokator’s historic roots

As Cambodia awaits Unesco’s verdict on Angkor-era bokator getting its due as a World Heritage tangible asset of humanity, a new book on the martial art was released three days ago to enhance its historic, cultural and social impact on the Kingdom’s way of life.

Penned by 70-year-old grandmaster San Kim Sean, who after the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s revived bokator to its present status as a national treasure, the book offers spectacular insight into how and why this particular fighting style has been such an integral part of Cambodian life for well over 1,000 years.

According to the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), the book serves the dual purpose of documenting bokator’s history over the centuries and makes a strong case as to why it should be promoted among the next generations and preserved as a tangible asset of humanity.

“It has taken me more than 10 years to complete this work. Artefacts in the Angkor Wat temple complex depict hundreds of techniques of which I have chosen a bunch of traditional ones to highlight while tracing the roots of bokator as deeply as possible,” Kim Sean told The Post from Siem Reap, where he heads the Kingdom’s first bokator academy.

A collage of bokator depictions at Angkor Wat adorns the cover of this 200-odd page book filled with illustrations and photographs.

The Korea Heritage Foundation and the NOCC jointly financed the printing of the book, which has been priced at around $10 per copy.

The release of the book took place during an extraordinary congress of the Cambodian Bokator Federation (CBF) convened at NOCC headquarters as incumbent President Vath Chamroeun relinquished office due to personal reasons.

The congress installed Nem Sowath, president of the Cambodia Martial Art Council as the honorary president of the CBF, with Chan Sarun taking over the presidency in place of Vath Chamroeun, who will now serve the federation as its first vice president.

The other vice presidents named were Kim Sean, Hok Chheang Kim and Heng Meng Ho. Ou Dara assumed charge as secretary-general, with Penh Song Chhun as his deputy.

Delegates to the congress also reviewed a video presentation of material presented to the Unesco by the Cambodian government to support its plea for declaring bokator a world heritage asset of humanity. According to NOCC sources, a decision is likely by September of next year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The