ARTES MARCIALES DE CAMBOYA.2
Bokator, the martial art of ancient Cambodia, can be seen depicted in bas-relief on the walls of Angkor Wat, the famous temple located in northwest Cambodia, in the capital of the once mighty Khmer empire. A hand-to-hand combat system used by the ancient Angkorean army, Bokator played a crucial role in Angkorean domination of much of the Southeast Asian mainland from around 800 A.D. until the early 15th century.
Thailand, then Siam, defeated Angkor in 1431, beginning a long struggle with Vietnam over control of the Khmer kingdom, before France intervened in 19th century and proclaimed a protectorate over the region. Greater turmoil struck Cambodia in the mid- to late-20th century, when the Khmer Rouge Communist army seized the country's largest city, Phnom Penh. Some 2 million people were killed and the violent influence of the Khmer Rouge continued well into the 1990s.
Though the tradition of Bokator was nearly lost during the bloody Khmer Rouge era it was revived in recent years with the return of relative peace to the region. In 2001, one of the sport's grand masters, Sam Kim Saen, returned to Cambodia some 20 years after fleeing the Khmer Rouge. He and other Bokator teachers worked to revive the ancient art, holding the first Bokator conference in Phnom Penh in 2004. The sport soon spread to other provinces of Cambodia, and the first national championships were held at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in the fall of 2006.
Bokator fighters, known as yuthkhun, train in a wide variety of styles, each based on the fighting motions of a particular animal. Monkey, lion, elephant, crocodile, crab, horse, bird and dragon are only a few of the hundreds of different fighting styles. Instead of belts, Bokator uses colored kramas, or scarves to indicate the fighter's level. In Bokator, any part of the body can be used as a weapon, including fingers, hips, jaws and shoulders. Techniques in Bokator include strikes, throws, trapping, locking, grappling and ground-fighting, as well as sword and stick maneuvers.
Jason Chambers vs OPhou Thong