BE­GIN­NINGS DE­TAILS

Black Belt - - SCREEN SHOTS -

Pradal serey (also spelled bradal serey) traces its ori­gins to the Kh­mer Em­pire, which lasted from 802 to 1431. Kh­mer ter­ri­to­ries en­com­passed parts of mod­ern-day Viet­nam, Thai­land, Laos and Myan­mar. Dur­ing that pe­riod, the sys­tem was known as Kh­mer bo­ran

and kun bo­ran. Roughly trans­lated, those terms meant “an­cient Cam­bo­dian �ight­ing arts.” Phys­i­cal ev­i­dence of pradal serey can be found in the form of carv­ings in Ban­teay Chh­mar Tem­ple, which was con­structed in the late 12th cen­tury. On its walls, bas-re­lief art­work de­picts �ig­ures en­gaged in com­bat us­ing in­stantly rec­og­niz­able knee and el­bow strikes. Mod­ern mar­tial schol­ars have identi �ied Kh­mer in�lu­ences in sev­eral South­east Asian styles, mostly in the form of tech­ni­cal sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween pradal serey and Thai and Burmese box­ing. That’s led them to pos­tu­late that pradal serey, also called Kh­mer kick­box­ing, was the pri­mary pre­cur­sor to muay bo­ran as well as muay Thai — and pos­si­bly other arts. These days in Cam­bo­dia, pradal serey is usu­ally trans­lated as “freestyle �ight­ing.” The moniker re�lects the lim­ited-rules and high-in­ten­sity na­ture of the art, es­pe­cially in com­pe­ti­tion. In its early form, strikes that used any part of the hands, feet, shins, knees and el­bows were le­gal. But that’s not all. Head butts also were

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