KHMER TRADITIONAL WRESTLING- CAMBODIA

Also commonly referred to as “Bok Cham Bab” is a Southeast Asian form of combat known as Khmer Traditional Wrestling. This “grappling” form of fighting is said to have originated from Cambodia. Apparently, this form combat was initially called “Maloyuth”, and was first developed in 788 AD by Brahmin Timu. Furthermore, this form of wrestling was initially practiced by both the male as well as the female sex. However, as of today it is practiced mainly by males. In addition, this form of combat is mainly performed during Khmer New Year and other public holidays celebrated in Cambodia.

a. History/origin of the Khmer Traditional Wrestling:

According to the cultural history of Cambodia, the Khmer traditional wrestling was first created by the Khmer Rouge. It was developed so that they (Khmer Rouge) could select the strongest men capable of leading their military. In addition, the Khmer Rouge also included this form of combat into the syllabus of its military training. Furthermore, apart from this form of traditional wrestling, the soldiers belonging to the Khmer Rouge Army were also taught to use swords, sticks, and other weapons.

b. Weapon used in the Khmer Traditional Wrestling:

The “hand” of the fighter is mainly used by a fighter in this form of physical combat.

c. Technique involved in the Khmer Traditional Wrestling and training availability:

In terms of technique, a fighter basically uses “grappling” techniques in order to overcome an opponent. In addition, a fighter also needs to “pin” down an opponent to eventually obtain victory. Furthermore, before the dual between the two fighters begins, they have to perform a “pre-match dance” which is to be undertaken to the rhythm of music produced by two drums referred to as “skor ngey” and “chhmol”. As for training schools/centers, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” form of combat is mainly performed in Cambodia.

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