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Bokator battles rage

The ancient Cambodian martial art of Bokator will see its moves showcased over the weekend at Olympic Stadium as part of its annual Bokator Championship. The tournament, contested over five days from Thursday through Monday, attracts 211 competitors from provinces including Kandal, Siem Reap, Takeo, Kampot, Phnom Penh, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham. Sessions are held from 8am until 11am, and 2pm until 5pm each day, with the finals and medal ceremony scheduled for Monday. The close-quarter combat form, which utilises staffs, sticks and swords as well as a fighter's arms, was developed over a thousand years ago by Angkorian armies as a means to defend against enemy attack and attack from wild animals such as lions and tigers (bokator literally translates as "strike lion"). There are two disciplines on show: kata, the display of movements from the martial art, and individual combat. Kata is competed during the morning hours, while combat is reserved for the afternoon.

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