The Ancient Art of Combat
The Khmer art of Bokator has fascinated me since I first heard about it when watching the Youtube show Martial Arts Odyssey with Antonio Graceffo. At the time it felt like a dream scenario to be able to travel and record martial arts videos like that guy did. Last year, I got the chance to go to Cambodia with my girlfriend. The whole trip was a true adventure – I’m not gonna journal the crazy, fun and at one point dangerous – experience, but if you’re curious check out this vlog… and at Mr. Ly Gym in Siem Reap I got my chance to train and record some Zen-Dragon content.
Bokator looks in many ways similar to Muay Boran, the ancient art upon which the sport of Muay Thai was based. There’s even a modernised form of Bokator designed for sports combat in Kun Khmer, so the comparison to Muay Boran/Muay Thai is obvious. I’ve heard several locals in Cambodia claim that Muay Boran came from Bokator, but I don’t know enough about the rich combat history of South East Asia to confirm or deny that.
Like Chinese Kung Fu (and Kalari from India), Bokator has animal styles as well as more Boxing like fists.
Watch below and see how traditional Bokator techniques can be used for countering my Kung Fu kicks.
Wanna watch more on Bokator? I’ve got you covered. The video below covers the various animal styles of Bokator and demonstrates striking and blocks from Kun Khmer (or Cambodian kickboxing).