“Free fighting” is the literal English translation of a Southeast Asian martial art form known as Pradal Serey. This “traditional” form of combat is said to have originated from Cambodia. This form of martial art is known for its “kicking technique” that includes powerful “hip rotations” and “leg snapping”. Furthermore, a fighter generally tends to use more “elbow strikes” in this form of combat. In addition, a Pradal Serey bout consists of five rounds (each of three minutes), and is fought in a ring that is about 6.1 meter in size.

a. History/origin of the Pradal Serey:

According to the cultural history of Cambodia, this form of martial art is said to have existed during the era of the Khmer Empire. Furthermore, it was during the Khmer regime that many martial art forms were practiced.  However, it is said that in the kingdom of Angkor there was a martial art form similar to Pradal Serey which was known as “Yuthakun Khom”. It was thus fusing elements belonging to Yuthakun Khom that the this the Serey was eventually developed in Cambodia. In addition, it was during this period when the Angkor Kingdom had total control over the Cambodian, Laos, and Thai culture that many forms of kickboxing such as Muay Thai began developing rapidly in the Southeast Asian region.

b. Weapon used in the Pradal Serey:

“Hands and legs” of a fighter is mainly used as a weapon in this form of physical combat.

c. Technique involved in the Pradal Serey and training availability:

In terms of technique, a fighter basically makes use of “clinch fighting” and “striking” techniques in this form of combat. Furthermore, “knee and elbow strikes” are also used quite frequently by a fighter during a Pradal Serey duel. In addition, it is said that more victories in this form of martial art is obtained by using the “elbow” than any other part of the body. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” form of martial art is mainly practiced in Cambodia.

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