Bokator - Cambodian: meaning "pounding a lion" is a martial art that includes close hand-to-hand combat, ground techniques and weapons. Possibly the oldest existing fighting system in Cambodia, oral tradition indicates that bokator or an early form thereof was the close quarter combat system used by the armies of Angkor 1000 years ago. 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.
Unlike kickboxing, which is a combat sport, bokator was designed to be used on the battlefield. It uses a diverse array of elbow and knee strikes, shin kicks, submissions and ground fighting. Practitioners are trained to strike with knees, hands, elbows, feet, shins, and head. Even the shoulders, hip, jaw, and fingers can be used to fight an opponent to submission or death. Weapons are also used, primarily the bamboo staff and short sticks.
When fighting, bokator exponents still wear the uniforms of ancient Khmer armies. A krama (scarf) is folded around their waist and blue and red silk cords called sangvar day are tied around the combatants head and biceps. In the past it is said that the cords were enchanted to increase strength, although now they are just ceremonial.
The art contains 341 sets which, like many other Asian martial arts, are based on the study of life in nature. For example there are horse, bird, naga, eagle, and crane styles each containing several techniques. Because of its visual similarity, bokator is often wrongly described as a variant of modern kickboxing. Many forms are based on traditional animal styles as well as straight practical fighting techniques. Pradal serey is a more condensed fighting system which uses a few of the basic (white krama) punching, elbow, kicking and kneeing techniques and is free of animal styles.
Please refer to our references as we have used a few different sources for the basic explanation of each martial art discipline. Many of our direct links, images and text will be from the site Wikipedia which is not known for the most accurate information when it comes to doing a thesis or studying for ones P.H.D. but does have a large collection of data that is well organized. Much of the text regarding martial arts styles on Wikipedia seems to generally sum up each discipline as good as many other sources. We do not intend to re-invent the wheel, but we do want to roll you in a good direction in order to get a glimpse of each style.