Bokator can be traced to thousand years ago as attested by the 1000 year-old carvings at Angkor Wat. Unlike kickboxing, which is a sport fighting art, Bokator was a soldiers art, designed to be used on the battlefield. The ancient martial art practice became nearly extinct under the Khmer Rouge regime but is enjoying an unexpected revival. A school has been opened since 2004 to revived the art and teach it to new generations.
It uses a diverse array of elbow and knee strikes, shin kicks, submissions and ground fighting. Bokator 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.
When fighting, Bokator practitioners still wear the uniforms of ancient Khmer armies. A kroma (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 kroma (a cotton scarf worn around the waist) shows the fighters level of expertise. The first grade is white, followed by green, blue, red, brown, and finally black. After completing their initial training, fighters wear a black kroma (scarf) for at least another ten years. To attain the gold kroma one must be a true master and must have done something great for Bokator.
Recently, Cambodians have started adapting western sports and have come to love football. It is currently the most popular sport. The Cambodian national football team has been a member of the FIFA since the early 1950’s and the Asian Football Confederation in the late 1950’s.
Basketball and Sepak Takraw which is a lot like volleyball but is played with a rattan ball are also very popular.