Cambodian-Americans in Tacoma, Washington, have started a traditional Cambodian kickboxing school.
Srab Sroeuy, who founded United South East Asia Culture Association, told VOA Khmer he wants to showcase a traditional fighting style he learned from his grandfather.
“I want to tell other countries that Cambodians also have martial arts,” he said. “In the near future, I hope we’ll have boxers from Cambodia to help us and compete here at my place.”
His trainer, Seng Bunsang, said the school can provide training for international boxing. “We are proud to have it,” he said. “We want to show that we are leading in martial arts, too, in Southeast Asia.”
Students can be of any nationality, age or gender, he added. The school currently has around 50 students, including whites, hispanics and Cambodian-Americans.
Boa Thangkeo, a middle school teacher who has instructed boxing for 20 years, said a diligent student can be ready for the ring after about six months of intense training.
“To be a strong boxer, I would like to say, takes patience and endurance and a tolerance for pain,” Seng Bunsang said. “Even if you practice for 10 or 20 years, you can’t [necessarily] defeat your opponent.”