Cambodian Bokator on History Channel
Adventure writer Antonio (The Monk from Brooklyn ) Graceffo is working as a martial arts consultant for the History Channel’s new martial arts TV series, “Human Weapon.” The show features two American MMA fighters who travel around Asia , studying different martial arts. Each episode closes with the Americans fighting a local master or champion. Graceffo had this to say about being selected to work on the show. “When they called me and told me about the show, I laughed. I said, that just sounds like my real life.” Graceffo, a former investment banker, left the financial world after the September 11 terrorist attacks. For the last six years he has been traveling around Asia , studying martial arts, fighting, and writing books and magazine articles. “Basically, my role in the show, in addition to appearing on camera a bit, was to seek out, train with, and spar as many of the masters as I could to see which ones would be good for the show. It’s been grueling, but fun, rolling, wrestling, and kick boxing with some excellent martial artists.” In addition to “Human Weapon,” Graceffo will appear on another History Channel show, called “Digging for the Truth,” in an episode featuring Angkor Wat, which airs in September. “The connection between Cambodian Martial Art, Bokator, and Angkor Wat is a deep spiritual relationship which the Khmer people are very proud of. They asked me to come on the show and demonstrate Bokator and explain some of the history.” Checkout Antonio’s website here.
As Andy Brouwer wrote recently in the last edition of TouchStone Magazine; Massive face-towers and intricate carvings shrouded in mist and jungle foliage conjures up all the romanticism of a lost Khmer city. One such place where this is a reality is Banteay Chhmar in the northwestern corner of Cambodia, close to the border with near neighbour Thailand. Never fully restored or analysed and inaccessible for decades due to Khmer Rouge activity in the area, Banteay Chhmar was constructed late in the 12th century. The Global Heritage Fund is currently working on an assessment of the temple with an eye to restoring it partially. The confusing jumble of ruins comprising the temple's central complex gives the visitor no obvious route or path to follow and in parts the only way to explore is by scrambling over gallery roofs and the large piles of collapsed stones. Large towers with massive faces follow your every move and close by, a building known as the 'Hall of Dancers' houses fine lintels showing human, bird and animal figures, Vishnu and Brahma in excellent condition. Few of the visitors to Banteay Chhmar are aware of the existence of an additional 8 smaller satellite temples all within 500 metres of the main complex. Four of these contain face towers though most are surrounded by dense vegetation and can be difficult to visit. However for the Indiana Jones’ amongst us, they can be a worthwhile challenge. Another large temple called Banteay Top (‘Army Citadel’) lies 14 kilometres southeast of its sister complex.
The festival brings together famous and passionate photographers of diverse nationalities and cultures in the spirit of creativity and sharing. It showcases print exhibitions and outdoor projections by renowned artists and photo-journalists, but differentiates itself from other photographic events with its strong educational goals. By offering free workshops for young Asian photographers and developing outreach projects for disenfranchised Cambodian youth, participants contribute their art and their time, demonstrating that photography can change lives.