Oum Ry in the Sunday Times UK

Kun Khmer fighters etched into a historic bas relief at an ancient Cambodian temple. Photo: Michael G. Vann

Oum Ry was interviewed in the UK’s Sunday Times by Asia correspondent Philip Sherwell, who has been following an international row. The article outlines the contested ownership of ancient martial arts between Cambodia and Thailand. Cambodians refer to their style of fighting as Kun Khmer, whereas Thai fighters call their similar kickboxing practice Muay Thai.

The legendary Kun Khmer fighter and titular subject of I Am Oum Ry, tells Sherwell about how the Khmer Rouge completely devastated his country, “I’m the only famous kickboxer that survived [the Cambodian Genocide] and I feel like I was the chosen one to stay alive and pass the knowledge of Kun Khmer down.”

““It is crucial that we see Kun Khmer at international events. We want the world to know about Kun Khmer because our country went through a genocide. Cambodia has such an old and rich history. We had an empire before other countries were formed. History reveals itself. Go look at Angkor Wat,” Oum Ry said, referring to the complex of Cambodia’s iconic ancient temples, whose walls are adorned with 12th-century bas-relief sculptures that depict martial artists deploying Kun Khmer’s distinctive knee attack moves.

Read the full Sunday Times UK piece here. For more information on Oum Ry and his incredible life-story, as told to Zochada Tat and Addi Somekh, click here.