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Tokyo welcomes bokator

Cambodian bokator practitioners
A team of seven Cambodian bokator practitioners will perform at a ceremony in Tokyo. Sreng Meng Srun

Tokyo welcomes bokator

The Cambodian Bokator Federation is sending a team to Tokyo tomorrow ahead of a special martial arts performance at a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the 60th anniversary of Cambodia and Japan diplomacy.

The seven-strong delegation of five male and two female practitioners will be headed by CBF general secretary Hok Chheang Kim.

The official noted that all costs for flights, accommodation and food had been taken care of by the Cambodian ambassador to Japan, Hor Monirath.

As well as performances of the ancient Cambodian martial art, there will also be displays of karate-style budokan during the ceremony held at the Nippon Budokan indoor hall.

Hok Chheang Kim told the Post: “We’ve decided to select 12 interesting aspects of bokator to be performed by individuals and teams.”

Tuesday’s bokator show is set to include performances of shield breaking, multidirectional breaking, Tiger, Hurricane and Khmer Angkor fighting styles, self-defence moves, as well as movement forms using short sticks, long sticks, double short sticks, wild cat sticks, lotus flower sticks, single swords and traditional scarves.

Performers will be Komara Vathanak, Seng Horn, Van Dat, Hok Chheang Kim and Se Hon Mono, and Kanha Tharoth and Kanha Mala (female).

Ambassador Hor Monirath said the event would help to promote Cambodia’s ancient culture and tradition, adding that the Japanese bodukan practitioners would exchange styles and moves with the visiting bokator delegation.

He also noted that English martial arts enthusiasts have expressed interest in seeing bokator in their country in the future.

While bokator continues to establish itself as a respected ancient martial art at international showcases, some students and advocates have questioned the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s decision to postpone the National Bokator Championship for three years.

Senior officials at the ministry have yet to answer these questions, with most bokator practitioners resigned to training for performances rather than combat.

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