Kun Khmer or Pradal Serey in Khmer English stands for Free Boxing or Khmer Boxing. It is one of the Khmer names for the sport-fighting descendant of the Khmer martial art Bokator. It is similar to sport-fighting arts practiced in several Southeast Asian countries. It is very similar to Muay Thai in Thailand, Tomoi in Malaysia, Muay Lao in Laos, and Lethwei in Myanmar. Pradal and serey are the Khmer words for “fight/boxing” and “free”, respectively. Translated literally, the phrase means “free fighting”. It’s full name romanises as Kbach Kun Boran Khmer Pradal Serey, which translates as “Traditional Khmer Free Boxing”. It is popularly known as Pradal Serey, but is now officially known as Kun Khmer.
While most recognizable by its kicking technique, which generates power from hip rotation rather than “snapping” the leg, Pradal Serey/Kun Khmer consists of four types of strikes: punching with the fist, kicking (with either the shin or the foot), elbow strikes, and blows of the knee. The clinch is also used to wear down the opponent. Compared to the Thai counterpart, the Cambodian style tends to emphasize more elusive and shifty fighting stances. The Khmer style also tends to utilize more elbow techniques than that of other regions. More victories come by way of an elbow technique than any other based technique.
Descended from a true martial (i.e. used in warfare) art, the technique and moves of modern Pradal Serey/Kun Khmer have been altered to create the sport version seen today. It is considered the national sport of Cambodia.