Pradal Serey is an unarmed combat sport and martial art in Cambodia. It’s a very popular martial art practiced mostly by young, agile individuals. The original Khmer title for the sport is Kachau Pradang. However, in Khmer, see means boxing or kicking and prad is another name for sparring. The fighting style focuses on power striking to incapacitate an opponent.
Pradal serey is part of a cluster of martial arts called “khmer style” which was created as a response to mixed martial arts styles such as taekwondo, karate and judo. Martial arts experts compare it to Thai boxing, which relies more on the leg and limb strikes. Serey also shares some traits with judo, which relies more on kicks and strikes. Some compare it to Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well.
Most martial arts practitioners regard pradal serey as a lighter version of Thai boxing. Its most striking technique is its elbows strike which is said to be a counter to heavier, bulkier punches. Experts claim that its efficacy is based on a study of ancient martial arts and theories of body alignment. Experts also assert that the elbows strikes work better when they’re combined with kicks and strikes using both the feet and legs. Pradals’ elbows are light in weight, about the size of golf clubs and are held close to the torso.
Serey also has a unique system of training known as timed rounds. Each successive round is more powerful than the preceding one in terms of force and power. Experts claim it improves the stamina and coordination of a boxer. Timed rounds are used by Korean amateur fighters to gauge their strengths, and prevent themselves from being defeated. Experts claim that in a one on one confrontation, the stronger fighter should use timing to outlast and neutralize the opponent.
Pradal’s other martial arts include jujutsu, gung fu, karate, wrestling, and judo. He developed his technique of kicking while staying in perfect balance and using his feet for stepping and his hands for striking. Experts claim that he improved the technique as a method to condition himself for the rigors of a boxing ring. His other forms of karate, jujutsu, and judo were more applied to his kickboxing career.
Pradal Serey first trained with a deadly kickboxer named Kiatren Ramo
who died in a plane crash in the mid-1960s. Serey kept in touch with Ramo throughout his training and even fought against him once but ultimately retired early due to a heart attack. Here’s training with Ramo and the death of the legendary kickboxer created the template for the modern fight coach, Tae Doo. Serey has also trained some of Thailand’s very current professional boxers, including Sang Hyun Lee, Lumpinee’s number one fighter, and Ong Thai’s Khanom Trothong.
Here’s technique is characterized by short, sharp strikes at close range using a low and hard strike to the ribs, hips, and groin. In clinching, Serey frequently uses a low and hard thrust kick. Serey claims that this strategy is designed to soften up an opponent, allowing Seaire to then strike them with his longer, harder strikes. Serey also claims that he does not use the common knee bar in his matches, and instead opts for the Cambodia or bas-relief. He uses both in his matches, but always wins with the thrust kick.
Seaweed’s ability to move in a variety of environments has made him one of the most sought after martial arts teachers in the southeast Asian region. A self-taught fighter who became a choreographer and choreographed dancer, Seaweed has become known for his colorful demonstrations of basic striking and conditioning techniques. His first book of poetry, A Dance With God was critically praised and prompted many martial artists to develop their skills under his tutelage. Seaweed’s style is characterized by fluid footwork and a strong grasp of karate weapons and ancient Chinese weaponry.
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