The Cambodian Bokator Federation on March 29 sent national martial artists Moeun Bunly and Deb Nget to participate in the “International Center of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement (ICM) under the auspices of UNESCO” in Chunju, South Korea. They will stay there for up to 7 months.

This mission is a special opportunity for Bunly and Nget to promote Bokator on the international stage, and both of them will train with athletes from many different countries to improve their skills, ahead of the 32nd SEA Games 2023 – which Cambodia will host for the first time.

General secretary of the bokator federation Our Dara told the Post on March 30 “We sent athletes to this event once before, in 2019, but they only stayed there for 5 months. This time around they will be there for up to seven. The event gathers martial artists from different countries and aims to build a culture of exchanging experience and techniques. The group will train together and will perform demonstrations at various sporting and cultural events across South Korea.”

“UNESCO established this program to encourage youth to recognize martial arts as a tool for self-cultivation and to globally promote the positive role of martial arts in creating peace and reconciliation,” he added.

Cambodian Bokator practitioner Deb Nget (left) and Moeun Bunly head to South Korea to participate in the ICM and train. SUPPLIED

With the content of the event, and the activities they will participate in, Dara considers this a huge opportunity for Cambodian bokator artists to spread their fame on the international stage.

“Participation in this programme is very important for both our sport and our athletes because they will have the opportunity to measure their technical abilities and study and exchange experiences with martial artists from other countries and backgrounds. They will balance and develop themselves and hopefully improve on their weaknesses,” added Dara.

Bunly and Nget will use the opportunity to strengthen their skills and discipline as preparation for the 2023 SEA Games.

“Bokator is the kind of martial art that demands discipline. Both of our practitioners will use the event in Korea to measure their technical abilities against foreign martial artists. They hope to acquire new skills and develop new techniques – and fill in any gaps in their fighting styles,” said Dara.