Imagine a hall packed with none but the best Nepali exponents of martial arts and all shouting "Whoosh" in unison. There is but one word to describe it: intense. That is exactly what it feels like to enter the auditorium of the Verge Inn Leisure Club in Tahachal, where a month-long Kickboxing and Kobudo Conference is underway.
Some 100 martial arts instructors from all over Nepal are participating at the Conference. Most of them are themselves black belt holders in various forms of self-defence and are receiving further training in kickboxing as well as in the Japanese art of kobudo, which involves using various weapons such as bo, tonfa, sai and the famous nan-cha-ku under the guidance of Enrico Ciampoli.
Ciampoli, a much renowned Italian master of various forms of martial arts who is also the Chief Instructor of the Martial Arts Federation of Italy, has been coming to Nepal every year for the last 10 years and has regularly trained Nepalis in different martial arts forms. In fact, it was with his help that Nepal was able to join the World All Style Combat Organisation (WACO) in 1995.
Speaking of the possibility of Nepalis making it to the upcoming WACO World Championship, Ciampoli says, "Nepali players have the mental stamina, the problem is technical. The lightweight players stand a chance though."
Thaneswore Rai, the equally well-known figure in the world of Nepali martial arts and founder of Shitono Karate in Nepal, feels that with regular training opportunities such as this, Nepalis may be able get some medals at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.
Verge Inn is providing free space in the club for the month-long conference which is expected to go on till 24 August. Not surprising, since the owner Subodh Pradhan is himself a 3rd Dan in Shitorio Karate.