The game of Kabbadi is one of the oldest games of Indian origin.
While some believe that the sport has a history dating to pre-historic times and was probably invented to ward off group attacks, many believe that the game has its beginning some 5,000 years ago during the Kurukshetra War.
The ancient Indian epic Mahabharata describes the battle between the Pandavas and the Cauravas and how Abimanyu managed to penetrate the Cauravas seven tiered defense, but died because he did not know the way out.
Legend has it that as an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable the seven tiered defense called Chakravyuha.
It is said that Lord Krishna tutored Abhimanyu’s father Arjuna the technique of attacking and escaping from various army formations.
However, it is said that Abimanyu’s mother Subadhra Devi decided to retire when Lord Krishna was explaning the method of escaping from the Chakravyuha. Thus Abhimanyu never got the chance to learn on how to escape the Chakravyuha.
On the 13th day of the Kurukshetra War, the courageous dashing Abhimanyu, was called upon to break through the Chakravyuha formed by the Cauravas.
The sixteen year old gallantly broke through the formation but after a fierce battle was killed by his enemies.
It is believed that the sport of kabaddi was created in remembrance of Abhimanyu the Warrior.
Kabaddi (sometimes written Kabbadi or Kabadi)is a team sport that sees two teams occupy opposite halves of a field and take turns sending a “raider” into the other half, in order to win points by tagging or wrestling members of the opposing team; the raider then tries to return to his own half, holding his breath during the whole raid.
It requires both skill and power and combines the characteristics of wrestling and rugby.
It is believed that Kabaddi was invented to develop a defensive responses by an individual against group attacks and group’s responses to an individual attack.
This is the only combative sport in which offence is an individual effort whereas defense is a group effort.
History reveals that kabaddi was played by princes of the past to display their strength. Buddhist literature also mentions of Gautama Buddha playing kabaddi with his peers.
The game, known as Hu-Tu-Tu in Western India, Ha-Do-Do in Eastern India and Bangladesh, Chedugudu in Southern India and Kaunbada in Northern India, has changed through the ages.
Modern Kabaddi is a synthesis of the game played in various forms under different names.
The excitement and thrill provided by the game has made it very popular and is rightly called the Game of the Masses.
Millions of people from as many as 65 countries of the world play this game in its various forms.
The game in most popular and played in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Iran, Korea, Argentina, Canada, U.K, Mauritius, Australia and many more countries.
Kabaddi is played in three styles – National Style Kabaddi, Beach Kabaddi and Circle Kabaddi.
The National Style Kabaddi was introduced as a medal sport at the Beijing Asiad in 1990.
The Circle Style Kabaddi was a demonstration sport at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The demonstration was made possible by the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Amaravati, Maharashtra.
Beach Kabaddi was included at the Bali Asian Indoor Games in 2008.
The three styles of kabaddi are also played in three different formats.
In the Amar format of Kabaddi, there is no out or revival rule. When any player is touched, goes out of bounds or is caught, he is not sent out of the court but point is awarded to the rival team.
In the Surjaveeni format, the revival and our rule is in play. When any player is touched or goes out of bounds, or is caught, the player concerned is sent out of court. Points are awarded to the rival team in addition to having their out players being revived.
In the Gaminee format, a player touched, caught or out of bounds, has to remain out until all his team members are out.
The team that is successful in putting out all the players of the opponent’s side secures a point.
After all the players are put out, the team is revived and the game continues.
Kabaddi is gaining popularity in many parts of the world, because apart from being a competitive sport, it is also a simple and inexpensive game.
While the game strived on being played outdoors, international competitions are now played on approved EVA Foam Mats.
Playing on mat and on traditional clay courts have their own benefits. While playing on clay required skills like sliding, playing on mat has made it more dramatic.
Despite the differences, kabaddi calls for tremendous fitness of body and mind and the ability to concentrate as well as anticipate the opponent’s moves.
The Game demands agility, muscular co-ordination, breath holding capacity, speed, strength, stamina, catching, kicking, as well as quick responses and a great deal of presence of mind.