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Traditional Khmer Martial Art with Kru Serey

Cambodia, a country famous for its rich history of culture dating back to hundreds of years ago is very open to visitors. 1,700 years ago the Khmer empire was one of the biggest empires  in the world and the art of war was at its peak. The armies in the angkor era were the strongest and the healthiest with countless victories which expanded cambodia all the way to the chinese border. This was all possible due to the great martial arts known as labokaor. What is labokator and what amazing things can be achieved with it?

A brief history into labokator

Labokator is a type of martial arts practiced by soldiers and kings since the Angkor period hundreds of years ago. With the help of Labokator the khmer empire rose to become one of the biggest powerhouses in asia. However, after the civil war in the 1970s, many masters were killed and most of the remaining fled to other countries. Since then this amazing martial art became endangered and masters are rarely found. To find it, you have to go deep into villages where the martial arts is passed on from father to son as a mission to preserve what our forefathers created. Although in the town labokator center exists there is no better way than to go to the roots where labokator is passed down. 


What is labokator?

The labokator martial arts consists of both hand and weapon techniques. The martial art is agile, swift and powerful. The name itself “labokator” means pounding a lion. Not only is it powerful it is also healthy, many of the techniques and breathing exercises are extremely beneficial to the practitioner’s health. There are a total of 341 sets of techniques and all of which are based on the study of nature, for example horse technique or horse style where the user can mimic the power of a horse through. Mastering it would take years and years of practice, hard work and determination. Only through a great deal of training, though blood and sweat can a person truly become a master and be strong enough to pass down the techniques to others. 


Why try? What can you gain? 

One of the few masters in Siem Reap is known as Lok kru Rous Serey. After 29 full years of experience he is now open to pass it onto others who are interested in learning or just experiencing. Lok kru Rous Serey is one of those who are fortunate enough to inherit this, since he was a young boy when his father passed it down he was given a mission, the mission of spreading and preserving this art and save it from disappearing for it is the creation of our ancestors. Even after all these years, every night after coming home from a long day of work Lok kru Rous Serey still practices, no matter how tired he is he stills strives forward. He said, “life doesn’t last forever but this will last due to Cambodians’’. To live is to try something new, It matters not if you are inexperienced regarding martial arts or if you are already a great master in other arts, what matters is that you are going to experience a rare and endangered martial arts which you’ll get to know and most importantly enjoy. Life is to have fun right?


Who will teach me?who are haystome?

Labokator is truly one of the greatest beauties in cambodian culture. Although, it is true that in order to become a master, countless years of experience is needed. However  learning, experiencing and understanding it is another story. Haystome is here to help, both, you to discover and experience khmer culture to the fullest and the artists to fulfill their mission of sharing and to earn a living. Lok Kru Rous Serey will teach you in a full one on one class. As of right now he has many students and 3 are almost as good as him. Everyone there is absolutely friendly and everyone works their hardest since this is what they enjoy. At his house, the great master will teach you practical exercises from labokator that is beneficial for our health. After that, his students will have a performance in order to give you a clearer picture of what and how amazing this martial art is. This is followed by the teaching of easy and strong techniques from labokator which you can learn and practice inorder to defend yourself and impress your friends back at home. 


Why am I so interested in this martial art?

Since the moment I first laid my eyes upon a labokator performance, I felt extremely proud, the first time I came across it was in khmer new year at Angkor wat. Two well built men were having a performance, they were fighting, one equipped with a sword and the other with dual swords. Although the fight was nothing but a performance the technique they displayed was spectacular, each move was vigorous and precise. This lead me into researching about labokator and the results deeply surprised me. It was invented back in the 9th century and was practiced by soldiers and kings in the angkor era. Considering how old this martial arts is no wonder it is so powerful and no wonder the khmer empire was one of the powerhouses. 


What makes this class so special?

Beyond materialistic items and monuments that signifies and symbolises khmer culture, the best way to truly experience a country’s rich history is no doubt is to meet the Cambodians that possess the knowledge and skills from history. This is what makes our masterclasses so special. The master, Luk kru Rus Serey believes that together the art of labokator can be revived or at least preserved. This is his passion, what he has been doing, enjoy doing and will do until his last breath. 

Still not convinced? Try it out. All I can say is that it is a unique and fun way to experience a whole new culture. If you ever have the opportunity to visit cambodia, try labokator out, you’ll discover a whole new world.

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