Regenerating nationwide interest in a Bengali martial art
As part of the second phase of the year-long, nationwide project 'Robi Cholo Lathi Kheli,' to revitalise and expand the horizons of lathi khela (a traditional martial art of Bangladesh), Shadhona -- A Centre for Advancement of South Asian Dance and Music and the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) held a 10-day long 'Training for Trainers.' The training session included 14 lathiyal from Sirajganj, Netrakona, Kushtia, Manikganj and Narail.
On the concluding day (yesterday) of the training, a press conference was held at 4 pm at the Rehearsal Room, 7th floor of National Auditorium, BSA.
Martial arts expert Mamunur Rashid Rana and dancer Shabbir Ahmad Khan Biju conducted the training. Martial arts expert Imran Rahman also joined the camp. The lathiyal were also given a demonstration of Raibeshe dance by artistes Mithun and Nayan.
For the martial art session, the lathiyal were shown how karate practitioners train their body and analyse various moves. Based on that experimental work was done to include these concepts in the training. Also, an attempt was made to come up with consolidated rules and regulations for combat within lathi khela to enable lathiyal from different regions to compete with each other.
During the dance sessions, the lathiyal were taught various concepts of choreography to help them enhance the presentation of lathi khela.
A discussion was held with renowned designers of Dhaka to come up with a costume for lathi khela as a national martial art. Designers from 'Deshi Dosh' -- Tahsina Shaheen, Lipi Khondokar, Imdad Hoq; from Jatra -- Shyamoli and Sayeda Sultana; independent designer Shoibal Saha and dancer Warda Rihab participated in the discussions.
The organisers are planning to hold a countrywide competition on designing costumes for lathi khela.
The third phase of the project will include training at divisional level in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Khulna, Chittagong, Barisal, Rangpur and Sylhet throughout October, November and December.
Lathi khela competitions are scheduled for February 2011.
The project is being sponsored by Robi. The Daily Star, Channel i and abc radio are media partners of the event.