The other day I was asking my friend, who is originally from India, about typical games kids would play. I thought it would be fun to learn a simple game from another country, that doesn’t require special equipment. She mentioned a game called “kabaddi,” which is like tag with a twist. I was wondering if I would be able to find any rules or information on-line and imagine my surprise when I found the International Kabaddi Federation. Not only did I find out that they host the Kabaddi World Cup, but it is usually held in November, and you can stream the World Cup games for free here!
So what is kabaddi, and why is it so popular?
According to kabaddi.org, Kabaddi is a 4000 year old tag-like game that is extremely popular in India, and now is also played in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan and Pakistan (among others). Remember that India is the 2nd most populous country on earth, and its population is over 1 billion people. An even more impressive fact is that India’s population is very young- with 400 million kids under 18 years old, it is the world’s largest child population. India is an extremely diverse country in terms of religions, languages, and customs, but many sports, such as kabaddi, are widespread throughout the country.
- Kabaddi can be played anywhere outdoors: in your yard, in a field, on the playground. All you need are 2 teams of people (preferably each with at least 3 players), and rope or chalk dividing the playing field into 2 separate territories. The teams line up about 20 feet back from the center line, on their corresponding sides. Teams take turns between offense and defense.
- A player from one team stands near the center line. To begin the game, this player runs into the opposing territory and tries to tag one of his opponents. While doing this, the player must keep yelling “kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi” the entire time she is on the opponent’s territory, without taking a breath, until she makes it back to her side. Everyone she touches is out.
- The opponents can try to capture that player and prevent her from getting back to her side. If she does not make it back to her original side before she runs out of breath (ie if she stops saying kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi) then she will be out.
Get a group of kids with good vocal chords and a lot of energy, and have a go at kabaddi!