Kabaddi is a team sport that requires quick thinking, strength, and the ability to hold your breath! People of all ages play and enjoy kabaddi. All you need is friends to play with and a large court. Today, kabaddi is one of the most popular sports in India.
To play kabaddi, two teams of seven players alternate between playing offense and defense. To start a round, the attacking team (offense) sends out one player to be the “raider.” The raider’s job is to cross the court and enter the defending team’s territory. They must score points by touching as many of the defending players as possible. The raider must then escape past the line in the middle of the court and return to their own territory. To make things tougher, the raider has 30 seconds to score. And, as they are trying to tag players, the raider must continually chant “kabaddi” out loud in a single breath! If the raider loses their breath and stops chanting “kabaddi”, they are out. Once a raider touches a player, the defending team tries to tackle the raider before the raider passes the midline. If the defending team tackles the raider and the raider loses their breath, the defending team gets a point. The two teams take turns defending and raiding. At the end of 40 minutes, the team with the most points wins. There are three different styles of kabaddi, but they all have these rules in common.
Kabaddi has a rich, long history in Indian culture. It is believed that kabaddi began in India and has been around for thousands of years. One major source of evidence for this is The Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is an epic poem that was written over 2,000 years ago in ancient India. It mentions a military operation that resembles the sport of kabaddi. It describes a warrior named Arjuna, who mastered kabaddi skills with the help of the Hindu god Krishna. He would climb over walls to attack his enemies and escape unharmed. Throughout history, Indian princes would often play kabaddi to demonstrate their strength and skill. The game continued to develop over the years in India. In many parts of India and South Asia, kabaddi was played in schools for physical exercise. It was and still is a very popular game in India’s rural areas, since it does not require any special equipment.
The basic rules of kabaddi were formalized in India in 1923. India introduced the sport to the world during the 1936 Berlin Olympics at a demonstration before the games officially began. Many people enjoyed watching the sport and wanted to learn. In 1972, the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India was founded. Today, this organization wants to make kabaddi an official Olympic sport to continue sharing this exciting sport worldwide.
Millions of people from as many as 65 countries play kabaddi in various forms. This fun, fast game continues to be extremely popular in Asia and beyond.