Friday, 23 May 2014

Takraw - popular throughout Thailand

Takraw (or Sepak Takraw) is a popular game among Thai men of all ages. They seem to play the game anywhere. The open spaces are numerous throughout Phuket are many - popular places are Sapan Hin Park, King Rama IX Park and these photographs are from Thalang Park adjacent to the Indy Market

There is evidence that there is a history to the game being played in Thailand;

In Bangkok, murals at Wat Phra Kaeo which was built in 1785, depict the Hindu god Hanuman playing sepak takraw in a ring with a troop of monkeys. Other historical accounts mention the game earlier during the reign of King Naresuan (1590–1605) of Ayutthaya. The game remained in its circle form for hundreds of years, and the modern version of sepak takraw began taking shape in Thailand sometime during the early 1740s. In 1829 the Siam Sports Association drafted the first rules for takraw competition.[citation needed] Four years later, the association introduced the volleyball-style net and held the first public contest. Within just a few years, takraw was introduced to the curriculum in Siamese schools. The game became such a cherished local custom that another exhibition of volleyball-style takraw was staged to celebrate the kingdom’s first constitution in 1933, the year after Thailand abolished absolute monarchy.
(text is from Wikipedia)

It is played with a woven ball but I see more and more balls which are made of more durable plastic.

The idea of the game is to keep the ball aloft - and the group of players do this with their bodies - it must really be seen to be understood.

Some of the games of Takraw involve two opposing teams and the game is for the ball to go from side to side in the same way that volley ball does.

Then there is a game of Hoop Takraw which I see more rarely and the there is a net suspended above the players and the option of this is to get the ball in the net above them!

In all of these games sometimes the players twist their bodies in what certainly looks like an odd position.

In other circumstances it looks like they are ballet dancers.

So how do you get to play one of these games?

Well I would start off with being extremely athletic!

Have a practice on your own and humbly ask to join in.