The Cambodian martial art of Kun Khmer has made a remarkable journey from the depths of an ancient civilization to the global stage.
Today, martial arts fans all over the world are mesmerized whenever a Kun Khmer practitioner steps into the Circle and competes in ONE Championship.
Here is what sets the discipline apart from other Southeast Asian martial arts.
In the 900-year-old temple of Angkor Wat in northern Cambodia, depictions of Yutakhun Khom are carved into its walls. This ancient martial art gave birth to the modern discipline of Kun Khmer.
Using a variety of kicks, punches, knees, and the now widely-feared elbow, Yutakhun Khom might have played a crucial role in the dominant rule of the grand Angkor Empire.
Once reigning supreme over most of mainland Southeast Asia, the Angkor Empire became the largest urban center of its time and was a breeding ground for many of Cambodia’s oldest martial arts.
Flyweight phenom Chan Rothana learned Yutakhun Khom from his father and has kept the tradition alive by merging it with modern mixed martial arts moves, thus building on the Khmer combat sports tradition.
But how did this ancient martial art transform into what we know as Kun Khmer today? Through the spectacle of sport.