Side by side men and women fought together, often lovers defending each other in the battle field. The original form was meant for battlefield combat and is still used in the armed forces.
These arts all have the same core style and martial arts concepts at their heat, but in Cambodia the Khmer art kept much of the wrestling and clinch work. Like all information that gets passed along and taught, some things are forgotten. Muay Thai is known for their Horse stance style of fighting which was taught within the edges of the Khmer Empire. The styles found more central within the Khmer Empire retained wrestling, throws and clinch. These fighting styles can be found in Battabong and surround provinces such as Neak Pradal Serey and Bokator.
French colonization (1850s – 1950s) of Indochina introduced western boxing, and with it brought the gloves, referees, rings, and others modernizations for sporting. Soon after other countries created and developed in the Indochina Peninsula and made their own version kickboxing sport. Muay Thai took the lead in international awareness and became the most well-known, and figurehead of the South-East Asian arts. Many other the South-East Asian nation’s arts are only now being discovered in the West as the 20th century saw many wars and despotic regimes that either prevented the promotion of the sport, or outright banned the teaching of martial arts, as was the case during the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge.