Bokator: The Khmer Martial Art on The Edge of Extinction

 Bokator, a centuries-old martial art from Cambodia, is on the verge of extinction. We take a look at the traditional Khmer martial art's origins, how it has developed, and the struggle for its future as efforts to revive the ancient art continue.

Cambodia is the owner of Bokator. Our extraordinary, incredible, incredible granddads and incredible lords from millennia prior rehearsed it," says Grandmaster San Kim Sean, one of a small bunch of bokator aces who endure the repulsions of the Khmer Rouge system.

The martial art has a long history, with carvings of bokator fighters all over the walls of Angkor Wat. It was developed by Angkorian armies to help the Khmer Empire maintain control of the area from the 9th to the 15th centuries.
Bokator is regarded as the forefather of other Southeast Asian fighting styles. It was made into a deadly weapon to help the empire crush its enemies who were invading.
However, over time, bokator has been replaced by other martial arts like Cambodian kickboxing (kun Khmer) or Muay Thai in neighboring Thailand.

Bokator masters and other artists and intellectuals were also targeted during the Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge's rule of the country from 1975 to 1979 due to the skills' oral transmission, which was typical of the Khmer culture. Very nearly a fourth of the populace was killed or died under the socialist system.

However, the few remaining masters are passing on their knowledge to the next generation of fighters, who are taking on the responsibility of keeping their heritage alive and kicking. As a result, bokator is now fighting back.

Bokator: what is it?
Officially alluded to as lobokkatao, bokator is an old Cambodian military craftsmanship that was created by Angkor as a nearby quarter battle framework.
The word "pounding a lion" comes from the words "bok" and "tor," which mean "lion."

Not at all like the battle game of kickboxing, bokator was planned with one primary reason: to win on the combat zone. This means that it includes ground fighting, submissions, a variety of knee and elbow strikes, and shin kicks.

You name it, you can use your knees, hands, elbows, feet, shins, head, shoulders, hip, jaw, fingers to beat an opponent to submission today or kill them in Angkorian times.

And the fighting involves more than just body parts; weapons structure part of it as well, with bamboo sticks, lances and, surprisingly, the krama — a conventional Cambodian scarf — utilized in a significant number of the huge number of bokator moves.

In the same way as other of the district's hand to hand fighting, bokator moves depend on creatures, like the tiger, pony, hawk and naga, with the moves' beginnings originating from the creatures' styles. Masters will choose one animal from 341 sets for the artwork.

Fighters still adhere to the traditional bokator uniform, which consists of a krama that is worn around the waist as well as blue and red silk cords (sangvar) that are toed around the biceps and waist. The combatant's level is indicated by the color of the krama, with white representing the first grade, followed by brown, green, blue, and black.
For the white krama, 100 moves must be learned, while 1,000 of the more than 10,000 moves for the black krama must be learned. The gold krama is the highest level, and only great masters of the art, like Kim Sean, can achieve it.

Fighters must wear the black krama for at least a decade, be completely devoted to the art, and do something great for bokator in order to achieve this.

Battle for endurance
Kim Sean began gaining bokator at 13 years old from his uncle and different elderly folks in the distant town he experienced childhood in. Doing right by be a characteristic, he traversed Cambodia gaining the fine subtleties of the work of art from aces countrywide.

Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975, and the genocidal regime began its four-year campaign to make the country agrarian.

At 30 years old, Kim Sean, similar to his kinsmen and ladies, was cleared into the open country and compelled to work the land. Kim Sean only managed to survive by concealing his occupation because there was a lack of food and death was always close by. The Khmer Rouge targeted a number of intellectuals and artists, including Bokator fighters.
After the Khmer Rouge was removed, Kim Sean escaped to America as a displaced person, ultimately getting comfortable Long Ocean side, California, where numerous Cambodians were moved.

He moved back to Cambodia in 1992 with the intention of reviving bokator in his homeland and elevating it to international fame. Devoted to his art, he began teaching it to Khmers there.

According to him, "I had dedicated my life to martial arts and was very concerned and sad when I saw bokator was dying." I stressed a lot of that it will get lost — millennia of history gone. Many Cambodians were unaware of it at all. I realized I needed to follow through with something."

Kim Sean attempted to eliminate the few surviving bokator masters, but he encountered resistance. The few he did find were old and terrified. In the wake of enduring long periods of abuse, they stayed careful about transparently showing the military craftsmanship.

Be that as it may, Kim Sean's influential ability saw them at last concur and in 2004, with government endorsement, he sent off Cambodia Bokator League and Cambodia Bokator Foundation.

He started training youth from his Phnom Penh-based school and encouraged masters across the nation to establish classes to pass on their knowledge.
Additionally, Kim Sean has collaborated with the Cambodian National Olympic Committee to secure bokator's inclusion in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Apsara moving and Sbèk Thom, or shadow manikin theater, have previously been added to the rundown.

Kim Sean declares, "This is my ultimate dream." That's what on the off chance that we get, my life is alright. I can be happy when I die.
Present day bokator
Since the initiation of Cambodia Bokator Organization, a progression of rec centers and preparing focuses have expanded the nation over, with a greater amount of the country's young fellows and ladies taking up the game.

It has likewise been given an enormous lift by the arrival of a line of local combative techniques films, including Escape (2017) and the ascent in ubiquity of Blended Combative techniques (MMA), with driving warriors, for example, bokator master Chan Rothana, taking to the worldwide ring.

Students in grades seven through nine are beginning to learn bokator as part of their sports classes, and the government is also recognizing its significance to the country's rich culture and heritage.

Kim Sean, the main character in the recently released documentary Surviving Bokator, who fights to revive the custom, says, "We are definitely seeing more of the country’s young taking an interest in bokator." This is very encouraging.

Post a Comment

Gallery Drama

Recent Post

Watch China