Bokator: A Cambodian Sport That Needs To Be On Your Radar

If you’re looking for an adventure in ancient sports that’s still active today, then look no further than Bokator in Cambodia. This form of martial art has been forgotten in the modern world for the most part, but that doesn’t mean it should be underestimated. Bokator is a martial art form that dates back to the Angkorian period, a great golden age of the Khmer Empire in what is now Cambodia. And despite its ancient origins, it still lives on today as a popular sport for those willing to take up the challenge.

Bokator translates to “pounding a lion” in Khmer and can be seen as a great way to learn self-defense and combat skills. Within Bokator martial arts are in several different categories, such as arm-blocking, leg-blocking and evading. It is a mix of martial arts, modern-day fitness, and traditional weapons training. Bokator also includes the use of weapons such as knives, swords, staffs, and even spears.

While the martial art of Bokator originated in Cambodia, it is becoming increasingly popular in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly in Thailand and Vietnam. Bokator is also gaining attention in the Western world. MMA fighter Johny Hendricks won a 2018 Asian Open Championship title in Bokator, and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme gave an impressive demonstration of the technique during a recent television appearance. This has helped to draw attention to Bokator and keep it from becoming forgotten in modern times.

The beauty of Bokator is the combination of physicality and technique. It is both a mental and physical workout, requiring practitioners to use strategy and discipline to outwit their opponents. While learning Bokator can take months or even years depending on how deeply one wants to delve into the art, its principles can be adopted into everyday life and can help to reduce stress. Bokator can help to ensure the physical well-being and reduce mental fatigue.

Because it is such a unique art form, Bokator is often overlooked or underrated. This is a shame, seeing as it is a martial art that has been developed for over a thousand years and is still practiced today. We should also recognize and appreciate Bokator for the mental, physical and spiritual benefits it can bring. 

This sport has been passed down through generations, but like all martial arts, there are a few details that are no longer clear today. This is why the Cambodian government established a Bokator Preservation Committee in 2014 to carefully record every detail related to Bokator. Because of this hard work, Bokator was recognized by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage in May 2017. 

In a nutshell, Bokator is a martial art that deserves to be recognized and appreciated for its history, function, and its ability to make us healthier and better people both mentally and physically. It is an underrated form of martial art that we should all be paying more attention to. If you’re looking for something to do that is both challenging and rewarding, then look no further than this sport. This ancient art form may just be your next great adventure!

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