Pradal serey

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

Pradal Serey in Khmer language means “free fight”. It’s the most ancient form of fight, coming from the South-East of Asia. There are several historical attestations that the Khmer boxing was already practiced at the time of Angkor Wat, in the actual Cambodia, in the eleventh century. The Khmer boxing ran the risk of disappearing together with its teachers, during the Pol Pot and the Red Khmer regime (1975-1979). With the intention of creating a society based on agriculture, with an ultra-Maoiste print, many categories of intellectuals, doctors, teachers, artists, actors and boxing practicings were exterminated. The Khmer boxing reappeared by the end of the eighties, when the first schools, often ruled by fighters escaped from the horrors of the Red Khmer, appeared in Phnom Penh. In 2003 Pradal Serey has been officially supported by the Government as an inseparable part of the Cambodian culture, and has started to appeal an increasing number of athletes. (text by Luca Catalano Gonzaga).