Martial Arts Gaining Popularity with Bhutanese Youth
The President of BIMA, Damber Singh Rai, said that the programme is aimed at engaging students during the winter break. “It is an exercise that focuses on the spirit of an individual and to improve one’s self-esteem and confidence. It can also help them overcome difficulties.”
The Bhutan Institute of Martial Arts (BIMA) is conducting a month-long coaching class that began on January 1. More than 60 students have attended the programme.
The President of BIMA, Damber Singh Rai, said that the programme is aimed at engaging students during the winter break.
“It is an exercise that focuses on the spirit of an individual and to improve one’s self-esteem and confidence. It can also help them overcome difficulties.”
He said that when an individual engages in martial arts, his energy level is renewed and he begins performing better in other fields.
Martial Arts skills learnt
Students learn Karate, Judo, Wingchung Kungfu, and the techniques of using oriental weapons.
Damber Singh Rai said that performances of the students depend on how the training is facilitated. “There has been positive response even from parents.”
Fifteen-year-old Tashi Phuntsho said that he did not want to miss the opportunity to learn martial arts. “It is also a way to prepare for the future as I want to serve in the armed force.”
He said that his favourite part of the course was the kata.
Martial Arts gaining popularity in Bhutan
Damber Singh Rai said that martial arts are becoming popular in the country. “They’re mostly picked up by students who are between the ages of eight to fifteen.”
He said that a team of 33 students brought home 26 medals last year.
The class is open to all students.
Jamyang Gyeltshen, who joined the class in 2015, helps one of the trainers, Dhanraj Rai, teach martial arts in the Changzamtog Lower Secondary School.
The 13-year-old said that his passion for martial arts brought him to the institute. “I want to learn martial arts and become one of the best martial arts teachers in the country.”
Kelden Deki Wangmo, 12, has taken up martial arts to stay healthy and fit. “I feel like I have become more confident. I really enjoy learning with friends.”
About 500 youth have registered with the institute so far.
(This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)