Kun Lbokator, traditional martial arts in Cambodia


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Inscribed in 2022 (17.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, 2021

Kun Lbokator is a martial art dating back to the first century. It aims to develop the mental and physical strength and discipline of its practitioners through self-defence techniques and a philosophy of non-violence. The training of Kun Lbokator is not only about physical techniques and skills, but also about mental disciplines on how to respect nature and behave with decorum in society. Masters, some of whom are believed to have healing and protective powers, lecture their apprentices about their roles and responsibilities in society so that, once they have mastered the necessary skills, they can protect vulnerable communities and the natural environment and stand up for justice and peace. Kun Lbokator is still actively performed as part of ritual offerings to local deities and in other festive events, along with elements such as dance, music and traditional medicine. An embodiment of the country’s social, cultural and religious values, Kun Lbokator is widely practiced among Cambodians, regardless of their age, gender and educational backgrounds or status.