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Learn About Ancient Sports

Dr. Jeffrey Wimer in Cambodia

Dr. Jeffrey W. Wimer, wellness and sport sciences, recently traveled to Cambodia as a representative of Millersville University to participate in a National Science Foundation supported Chautauqua short course for college teachers sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin.  The goal of the Chautauqua program is to allow invited scholars to stay current, while exposing them to innovative concepts related to their teaching.

“Experiencing daily life in Cambodia was remarkable,” Wimer said. “From a wellness and sport sciences perspective, I was able to study Bokator, which is an all encompassing ancient fighting art that includes grappling and punches.”

The first known references to Bokator are in the carvings on the walls of Angkor Wat Temple—a site Wimer visited and researched with an expert guide. “Learning more about the culture and history of this ancient sport, based on Cambodian warrior practices, is important because there has been a surge in the popularity of mixed martial arts within the United States among many boys and young men,” Wimer said.

Having studied in Cambodia will allow Wimer to better inform his students, many of whom embrace mixed martial arts and openly discuss training techniques and injuries with him in his classes. In addition, Wimer was able to learn more about the dietary patterns of both Cambodian and Vietnamese families by visiting a typical village (see photo) and asking questions through a translator about the nutritional habits of the residents.  Wimer’s work at Millersville University focuses on childhood obesity prevention strategies and eating disorders.

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