The number of practicers of the thousand-year-old Boxkator, or Cambodia's traditional martial arts, has been pared down to no more than 1,000 and extinction is almost in sight, local paper reported in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
The Khmer Martial Arts Association has been trying to locate them all over the kingdom and the total number is expected to rise after the whole census is over, said Sin Chew Daily.
Meanwhile, the association has been carrying out some programs to promote the national treasure and draw more investment to develop it into fashion sports.
One of the association's projects was the First Khmer Boxkator Tournament held in September, 2006, when 307 boxers and coaches from 23 Fight Clubs in nine provinces and cities exchanged fists in honor of the long-cherished gem of sports.
The association also tried to train teenagers into professional fighters in preparation for weekly or monthly league matches, which are yet to be started as soon as sponsors are in place.
Boxkator can be traced to thousand years ago, when warriors invented it for self-defense. It can be practiced with bare fists, clubs or knives.