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Khmer Culture and Civilization

Friday, October 2, 2009

Khmer Warriors's weapon - Lompang - Spear (Image from The Armies of Angkor - Military Structure and Weaponary of the Khmers, 2008) Khmer Warriors's weapon - Tnoo - Bows and Arrows (Image from The Armies of Angkor - Military Structure and Weaponary of the Khmers, 2008)Khmer Warriors's weapon - Dha or Dao - Swords (Image from The Armies of Angkor - Military Structure and Weaponary of the Khmers, 2008)Khmer Warriors's weapon usage of Dha, Dao, Phkap and Lompang

Khmer Warriors's weapon - Phkap (Image from The Armies of Angkor - Military Structure and Weaponary of the Khmers, 2008)
Khmer Warriors's weapon - Fighting between Khmer and Cham

Khmer swordKhmer Sword with a bronze handle and a iron blade used during the Khmer empireLength: 37 inchesWeight: 691 Kg(Image from Mekong Collection, 2008)

Map History Kingdom of Kambja or Cambodia

A brief history of Cambodia, known at time as Kambuja or Kampuchea, is located in Southeast Asia between today Thailand, the Gulf of Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The people of Cambodia prefer to be called Khmer which means “hill” (greatness and unity) as it is the original name. The country is known to Khmer as Kampuchea or Srok Khmer as oppose to the present day Cambodia. But Cambodia is a well know to the world community. The trace of Khmer evolutions as follow:

  • Mon-Khmer – Daravati (Mons)
  • Mon-Khmer – Haripunjaya (Mons)
  • Mon-Khmer – Funan (Khmer)
  • Mon-Khmer – Chenla (Khmer)
  • Mon-Khmer – Angkor (Khmer)
  • Mon-Khmer – Lovek (Khmer)
  • Mixed Khmer – Champa (Mixed Mon-Khmer/Cham)

The Khmer evolved from the Mon-Khmer ethnic group. The Mon-Khmer inhabited the entire peninsula of Indochina. This region called Sovanna Phum (translated as golden country). The word sovann is a Pali meaning "gold", and phum meaning "land or country." The inhabitants of Sovanna Phum belonged to the ethnic groups of the Mon, the Cham and the Khmer. The Khmer dynasty has broken down to three major eras of Nokor Phnom (Funan), Chenla and the Moha Nokor (Angkor period) between the 9th and 12th centuries.

The Nokor Phnom (Funan) Period

The first Khmer state called Funan, a pre-Angkor and it was an Indianized Khmer kingdom located around the Mekong Delta. The earlier Khmer civilization was dominated by the Hindu which melts in with existing of the Mon-Khmer origin of GEE religion. The culture was a mixture of native beliefs and Indian idea. Sanskrit was the language at the court. Khmer Kingdom of Nokor Phnom (modern historian refer to it as Chinese pronunciation of Funan), the oldest pre-Angkor indianized kingdom, started about 5th century in the Mekong Delta. Though it was very little has been written about the early kingdom.

Funan's Empire (Wikipedia 2008)

The Chenla Period

Chenla was an early Khmer kingdom. It claimed independent and eventually conquered the Funan, absorbed its people, the Mon-Khmer and culture. The Chenla later devided into northern and southern states known as Chenla of the land and Chenla of the Sea. See map below.

Map of Khmer Pre- Angkor Period

The Moha Nokor - Angkor Period (also known as Khmer Empire)

Zhenla (Chenla) make up the Moha Nokor (the Angkorian era) from 802-1431. When the three civilizations had reached its peak, it’s leaving rich culture, heritages and arts to later generation of the Khmer, who lived and scattered all over the Sovanna Phum.

Map of Khmer During the Angkor Period under King Jayavarman VII (also known as Khmer Empire)

The greatest monuments built which symbolize of the Kru Pram mythology, even though the Khmer were practicing the Hindu, hence Kompol Pram (the fives towers represent the five elements.) The mighty Khmer warriors fought and conquered from north to south east to west expanding the territories and built the most magnificent monuments on every corner that the ancient angkorian warriors put their feet on through out the Sovanna Phum.

King Jayavarman II, the founder of the Khmer Empire, adapted the Indian Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Khmers had elite troops called Nayars, who formed their warrior caste. They were scientifically trained in all aspects of combat, including imitate and performing arts to gain a psychological advantage over their enemies. It is said that the Nayarís mime skill was so great, that; 'He could pretend to throw a spear so convincingly, that an enemy warrior would actually feel the pain of his body being pierced.' The historical facts were well documented on the wall of Angkors.


The Development of Kbach Kun Boran Khmer

“KHMER JET CHEA and KHMER POOCH NAK JAMBANG” translating as Khmer gentle and warrior from birth. The Khmer will fight to the death and stands tall as DEUM TNORT (the Palm Tree of Cambodia), expression of the Khmer people, or Phnom, which era historian calls Nokor Phnom (hill). KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER was developed through more than 2,000 years of wars exspecialy during the three major eras of the Nokor Phom( Funan ), the Chenla and the Moha Nokor known to historian as Khmer Empire period. Kbach Kun Boran Khmer revolutionize through two majors of Khmer religion eras: GEE and Hindu. Each can be found in the KUN_KRU.

Deum Tnort - the ancient Khmer palm tree

Such claims can be found in the martial art itself of Twai Kru or KUN_KRU, the preflight rituals and bout, giving respect to the four elements or KRU, which is the origin of Mon-Khmer called GEE.

KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER based on the four elements of earth, water, winds, and fire. As the first Khmer hunted, using spears, bows and arrows, the MAES KUN (hand-and-combat forms) of KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER were invented for self-defend. The MAES translates as foundation techniques mainly for defends, probably about first century A.D. long even before Khmer were wearing any cloth, according to my KRU, Ny Euer.

“KBACH” is method or way of. “KUN” is martial art. “BORAN” is a Khmer word translated as ancient. It is essential in order to acknowledge the root of KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER, is to establish an understanding of Khmer’s background, her people and her rich historical monument spreads all over South East Asia and the ancient Angkorian military system as it carved in the wall of Angkors, pre-date the today Khmer Boxing (aka PRADAL SEREY), or the Thai Boxing (aka MUAY THAI).

Below historical facts and prove of the ancient Khmer warrior, traced on the bas-relief for the Khmer and our ancient Angkor’s monument as living proof to the world communities of the ancient angkorian culture and heritage.

Bayon bas-relief of the Khmer warriors

Bas-relief illustrated the bout for the king. During the Ancient Angorian era, the winner well rewarded as general, tribal or regional leaders to control the new acquired land mass, but loser rewarded with coffin. Techniques illustrated of the used of JRO BAB (join-lock), SRO NGAIR PANE, Kbach Lompang (staff)

Khmer Sankrit

This is Khmer Sanskrit from the monuments wall of ancient temple in Siam Reap, Cambodia. This written survive the many civil wars has been major sources of information about the Khmer Kingdom of Khmer Empire about daily life of Khmer during that era.

(Image from LEARN NC, 2008)

The Dark Side of Khmer History

The Khmer has seen the darkness side of history when the empire collapsed and declined to nearly extension in the Pol Pot year zero eras (genocide). The Khmer fought many wars from civil wars, wars among neighbor countries and to the Indochina Wars.

The Khmer have a 2,000-year history distinguished by greatness, territorial expansion, and decline to near extinction. In a decline of Angkor period after the death of Preah Batt Jayavarman VII and with the European expansion and colonization on the rise, Cambodia was caught in the middle, to the north she lost Khmer Surin and to the South she lost Khmer Krom. According to Wikipedia, there are over one million Khmer, mainly in Surin, Buriram, and Srisaket provinces, in today Thailand. In addition, there are estimated vary from 1.1 million Kampuchea Krom in formally South Vietnam. Further more, due to the Cambodian Civil War, thousands of Khmer now resides as refugees in the United States, Canada, Australia and Frances. Most of those Khmer are also POOCH NAK JAMBANG, the fighting skill that passes down from family ancient angkorian generation.

Map of Kampuchea Krom, incorrectly known as South Vietnam

To understand further of KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER, one must not over look at the ancient Khmer architectural temple in the north-eastern of Thailand, calls “Issan” in Thailand, where 60% of the population main language is Khmer. This location called Nokor Reashama. Politically belong to Thailand but the ancient Angkorian cultural of Khmer still practices of such as dance, art, or Kbach KUN PRADAL SEREY aka “Muay Thai”. For this reason, Thailand and Cambodia are close neighbors with common border and cultural relations.

The Thai people received and adopted major arts and culture from the Ancient Khmer, including the KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER with some claims as “Muay BORAN”. In addition to arts, much like the KBACH KUN BORAN KHMER, the Thai also adopted the pre-Thai scripts and spoken words from the Khmer native language which they are still using today. The Thai alphabet is derived from the Khmer alphabet. The Thai adopted and modified Khmer script to create their own writing system. While the oldest known inscription in the Khmer language dates from 611 CE, while the Thai writing began to appear around 1292 CE.

Sours reference: http://www.kunkhmerwarrior.com/history



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