There has existed in Cambodia for over a thousand years a martial art which is fought without using any weapon. Further information on it can be obtained in relief on the wallof Elepfant-Terrace in AngkoTom. This relief of the golden age of Khmer in Angkor reveals a scene of fighting and, as well, that of (the bridegroom) receiving blessing from his teacher. This sporting art is known in Cambodia as Serey Boxing (Pradal Serey) or Khmer Boran Boxing (Pradal Boran Khmer).
This boxing art (fought with fist, forearm, elbow, feet, shin, and knee in the ring, with wrestling techniques together with mental cum spiritual exercises as in Khun Khru) is practised also in the neighbouring countries. In Cambodia , it is known as Khmer Boxing or Serey Boxing, in Thailand as Thai Boxing or Muay Thai.That the art is now known world – wide as Thai Boxing is due to a variety of factors including the aberrant communist regimes, the civil war and the revolution which overtook almost the whole of South East Asia . Pol Pott’s reign in Cambodia was characterised by terror, mass murder and concentration camp, and several great and intelligent people were eliminated, the generality of the people brutally suppressed and the economy systematically destroyed. Because Thailand never experienced any of this, it was able to develop its economy. An important aspect (of the economy) which received sustained attention was tourism, a development which made it possible for the country to show – case different aspects of its culture to the whole world. It was during this process that the country came to also earn recognition for “Thai Boxing.”
Today, national pride and political rigidity has continued to prevent Thailand sporting association to form a common union with those of other countries. Actually, it is forbidden for Thailand fighters to participate in any competition arranged by the boxing organisations of neighbouring states. The request by the sporting union of Cambodia , Burma and Laos that the Thai union put an end to the use of the term “Thai Boxing” has, expectedly, not been accepted. This arrogant, unsportsmanly attitude has continued to prevent this martial art from growing stronger; hindering, for example, the groundwork which needs to be carried out in the struggle to establish a world – wide association for the sports, and, as well, the efforts to adopt a new name the meaning and relevance of which will transcend national boundaries. A little democratic and sportsmanly attitude is good!