What is the difference between Martial Arts and Bokator? 

Martial arts are most popular worldwide as it comes with various benefits including physical and mental health. Martial arts have methods of numerous armed and unarmed combat that originated years ago in Asia. The most popular styles include karate, kungfu, judo, aikido, tai chi, wrestling, Muay Thai, etc. Some martial arts emphasize one purpose over the other but the root cause is combat or defense. 

Martial arts are equally popular among men and women, there are several hundred styles and variations with a unique regimes. It represented a large number of offensive and defensive fighting techniques and one can practice BJJ, judo, and karate while wearing BJJ gi, judo gi, and karate gi to ensure protection. 

Bokator is an ancient Cambodian martial art, and other martial arts have their unique benefits and drawbacks. It has ancient roots in Southeast Asia going back centuries. It dates back to the 9th century and highly effective form of self-defense that involves the techniques of striking and grappling. Initially, Bokator was famous for its use of weapons such as knives, sticks, and swords. Cambodia has its marital art which was born in the Angkor period as it is evident everywhere on the wall of Angkor Wat. 

If we compare Bokator with other martial arts, it is the deadliest one this art is to kill not to fight. It is the fastest and most efficient art and a proper close-quarter combat system. Many practitioners are putting a lot of effort to revive ancient art but it is close to the brink of extinction. 

Unlike the combat sport of kickboxing, the bokator has the main purpose to win and winning the battlefield. It includes a diverse range of knee and elbow strikes, submissions, shin kicks, and ground fighting. One can use knees, hands, elbows, shins, feet, head, shoulder, hip, jaw, and fingers to strike an opponent into submission but in Angkorian times it could cause death. 

Bokator is better suited for dealing with multiple attackers while using the most appropriate technique for the attackers, so better for self-defense as compared to any other martial art. A traditional martial art so a complete system, there are belts, and learning of movements, forms, and techniques. It includes weapons like double sticks, double swords, a long staff, and a scarf. 

Traditional wrestling, kickboxing, and weapons are part of bokator. In the bokator fights, fighters do not wear gloves and they can fight on the ground while fights end in submissions or chokes. Although ground fighting is not as effective as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or western wrestling but still the only notable ground fighting art in Southeast Asia. Ground fighting changes the landscape of fighting in Mixed Martial Arts and Bokator as well. 

Being a regional martial art, bokator moves have bases from animals such as tigers, horses, and eagles as moves originate stemming from the animals’ styles. Like other martial arts like BJJ, Judo and Karate practitioner use BJJ gi, Judo gi, or Karate gi, so in bokator fighters use bokator traditional uniform which is a krama around the waist. The color of the krama portrays the fighter’s level of skill, like white is for first grade, followed by green, blue, red, brown, and finally black. And the gold krama is the highest level and only great masters can attain that. To be an achiever, fighters usually wear black krama for at least a decade and be completely devoted to the art, and fighters must achieve something great for bokator as well.  

Kim Sean’s fight for survival  

Kim Sean started learning bokator at the age of 13 from his elders. To enhance his abilities, he traveled across Cambodia to learn about the details of art countrywide. He went through the genocidal era and survived it and fled to America as a refugee and relocated to California. 

Of his devotion to his art, he started teaching while moving back to his native country. He wanted to revive the art and people to recognize it internationally. He did not want that thousands of years of history went by.

Black karma in bokator

Antonio Graceffo holds a black karma in bokator and has practiced muay Thai for years as well. He has been trained for several years and is an adventure and martial arts author living in Asia. He was lucky enough to find the last survivor of the bokator master, Kim Sean. 

A concluded note

To sum up, bokator is a complete art that would be better than any other martial art. Humans created it to fight wild animals such as lions and tigers, so it is the deadliest one. 

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