In a significant boost for Cambodian martial arts, special features of three different styles practised over hundreds of years will be merged into one discipline and used as a compulsory training tool for military personnel, beginning next year.
In a meeting yesterday at the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia headquarters, federations representing l’bokator and yuthakun khom martial arts, kun Khmer boxing and the military reached an agreement to introduce a combined martial art style for those entering the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
This agreement is considered to have great historical significance.The Memorandum of Understanding involved Vath Chamroeun, president of the Cambodian Bokator Federation, Tem Moeurn, president of the Cambodian Boxing Federation, Yu Sinet, chairman of the Yuthakun Khom Association, and Hun Manet, deputy chief of the Kbach Kun Organising Commission of the RCAF.
The agreement was witnessed by Tourism Minister Thong Khon, who is also president of NOCC, and General Ith Sarat, deputy commander of the RCAF.
“It is a remarkable first step of great historical value both for our heritage and for military excellence,” said Vath Chamreoun, secretary-general of NOCC.
“We will soon send all the relevant documents to UNESCO to seek its recognition of l’bokator as an intangible asset of humanity,” the secretary-general added.
“In 2023, we will host the SEA Games for the first time in history and we will introduce ‘Khmer boran’ [ancient Cambodian] martial arts as a medal discipline,” Thong Khon said.
“The combined style of [our] traditional martial arts will serve as an excellent tool of training for the military,” said Hun Manet, who is also the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen.