The art of fighting has long been part of Cambodian society. While sports like football, Petanque and volleyball have recently gained more popularity, martial arts and boxing have been popular for centuries.
A lot of the draw of boxing is the athletic prowess of the boxers, but people also like the thrill of knowing that at any time one of the fighters can take down their opponent. A boxer’s body is a weapon, and people around the world have enjoyed watching their weapons in action for thousands of years. In fact, before boxing became a sport it was a way of life.
In the past Cambodians used martial arts to fight in real wars, where their boxing ability was the difference between life and death. Today boxers wear gloves and mouth guards, but if you have ever seen a fight, you know it can still be a bloody scene. Some places even put a coffin in the ring to suggest the potential fate of the loser.
While most of the readers of this magazine have probably seen boxing at one time or another, I doubt that many of you have tried it yourself, and I am here to tell you that it does not have to be a painful experience – it can actually be a great thing for your life.
Boxing has helped me improve my life in many ways. Earlier in my 20s, I spent time with a lot of people who liked to drink a lot. I felt terrible every morning and eventually realised I needed to find a new way to spend my free time.
One day my boss took me to the gym. She loved kick-boxing, and as soon as I stepped into the gym I fell in love with the sport myself. We started going there two or three times a week.
Now it is one of the most important things in my life. When I am angry with someone, not happy with my work or stressed out, I just go to the gym to practice my kick boxing with friends. It’s an excellent way to take out your anger. After an hour or two I am tired, but my mind has been cleared and I am ready for the day or night ahead of me.
Besides the mental benefits, it also makes my body strong, healthy and if something really goes wrong, I know I can defend myself and my family.