Sepak takraw is an exciting volleyball-like action played with a woven rattan ball and has gained enormous popularity throughout Southeast Asia as an internationally competitive sport governed by ISTAF.
In this study, anthropometric and cardiopulmonary profiles of sepak takraw players were assessed, as well as testing for skill level in playing this sport.
It is a sport
Sepak Takraw is an extremely athletic team sport, which requires agility, flexibility, and teamwork to play on a court. Players use their feet, knees, chest, and head to hit a ball across a net using various parts of their bodies – like volleyball but with some variations in rules and equipment used. Originating in Southeast Asia but becoming increasingly popular worldwide particularly where there are large Asian populations such as in North America or Canada.
Sepak, which originates in Malay and Thai, refers to the act of kicking a rattan ball while its name, takraw, refers to its traditional woven ball used in sepak takraw sport. It is thought that sepak takraw evolved from sipa which still is played today in the Philippines, and can also be traced back to Cuju in China, Da Cau in Vietnam, and Jegichagi in Korea – ancient military games which preceded sepak takraw.
Origami is an exciting and fast-paced game that requires athleticism, concentration, teamwork, coordination, balance, agility, discipline and respect towards opponents and other people in the community. Additionally, it provides students an effective means of improving academic performance through this disciplined activity. Origami offers students an ideal solution to focus on and strengthen academic performances at school.
Sepak takraw was introduced to Canada through Laotian refugees who immigrated as refugees during the 1970s, but it gained wider exposure when Rick Engel, a Saskatchewan teacher introduced it to his students in 1998. Soon thereafter, its popularity skyrocketed and in 2000 Regina hosted its inaugural Canadian Open Sepak Takraw Championships; simultaneously STAC was formed to manage and oversee this sport nationally while becoming a class E member of Canadian Olympic Committee.
The game of Sepak Takraw involves two teams, each consisting of three players. Players have up to three contacts with the ball per contact limit to try and get it over the net without touching it with their feet on either team, with 21 points being awarded to the first one who achieves this feat. It is governed by the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) with its rules being different than football yet having similar techniques and equipment (for instance using soft, durable materials to reduce impact on bodies) used as balls – similar to football but more flexible in terms of handling impacts when dealing with opponents compared with opposing teams!
It is a team sport
Sepak takraw (literally “kick volleyball”) is an ancient Southeast Asian team sport combining the ball skills of volleyball with the acrobatic moves and instinctive reflexes associated with competitive badminton players. Played on a volleyball-style court equipped with a net across the middle, players use their feet, heads, knees, chest or shoulders to contact a rattan ball before touching it with their hands is considered a fault that results in one point for their opponent.
International Sepaktakraw Federation governs this sport. A match consists of two sets and is won by whichever side has amassed the highest number of points at match end; winning team advances to next round; sets are considered won when either 21 points are scored by either team or 25th point accumulated (whichever occurs first).
To advance this popular sport, it is imperative that we understand the physical characteristics of top sepak takraw players. The goal of this study was to assess anthropometric and physiological parameters of national and state level sepak takraw players in Malaysia. Thirty-nine male sepak takraw players were chosen and their height, body weight and cardiopulmonary capacities measured; their results were then compared against population norms as well as players of other court games from other countries; overall values for these sepak takraw players were lower than for other court game players in Malaysia.
Sepak takraw was brought into Canada by Lao refugees as refugees during the 1970s, yet not widely promoted until 1997 when Rick Engel introduced it through Asian Sports Education and Culture International’s school presentation program in Saskatchewan. Two years later, STAC was established and later sent teams competing internationally and received class E membership of International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) while holding its inaugural Canadian open sepak takraw championships held May 1999.
It is a competitive sport
Sepak takraw is an exciting fast-paced sport requiring agility, flexibility, strength, teamwork and team strategy. A match is won when one side wins two sets; otherwise it goes to tiebreaker. When tied at 21-21 or greater a tiebreaker will take place; here it means the first team to open up a two point lead or reach 25 points will win. Sepak takraw can provide incredible entertainment; players frequently perform gravity-defying stunts and spectacular shots that captivate an audience.
ISTAF was formed in 1988 to oversee modern sepak takraw. Major international tournaments, such as ISTAF World Cup and Malaysia’s Khir Johari Cup are managed by them. Sepak takraw is closely related to native sports of Southeast Asia like Sepak Raga in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia; Takraw in Thailand; and Sipa in the Philippines.
Teams of three compete on a volleyball-like court equipped with a net, using the ball to hit over and onto the opposing court’s ground to score points. Touches on the ball from feet, head or torso may count towards scoring; arms cannot.
Players can use various kicks and spikes when playing the game, from simple techniques such as basic kicks and spikes, to more complicated techniques requiring training and practice to execute perfectly. However, being physically fit is important and players should avoid kicking at or near their knee area to prevent serious injuries from occurring.
Rule and equipment used in sepak takraw competition must comply with ISTAF specifications, with balls covered either with synthetic rubber or soft durable materials to reduce impact on players’ bodies and any colors not interfering with seeing it clearly by players. Furthermore, all events sanctioned by ISTAF must have at least two International Referees who are approved by their Referee Committee as referees.
It is a recreational sport
Sepak takraw is an intriguing hybrid sport, drawing parallels between volleyball and soccer. Players use their legs to hit the ball over a net, while using arms is forbidden according to regulations. Sepak takraw requires high levels of athleticism as players must use spectacular jumps in order to avoid contact with the ball; additionally it incorporates elements of traditional martial arts with acrobatics and gymnastics for an exceptional experience.
Sepak takraw, or kick sepak in Malay, and “takraw”, or woven rattan ball, was developed in Southeast Asia. Its popularity can be linked to the development of modern nation-states in Southeast Asia; Thailand was especially fond of playing this form of kick sepak to stay physically fit while socializing among peers; murals at Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaeo depict the Hindu god Hanuman playing this sport accompanied by monkeys!
Today, over 30 nations have national sepak takraw organizations. The International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) oversees international play and tournaments; sepak takraw has become an official event at both Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games as well as featuring in both ISTAF SuperSeries tournaments and King’s Cup World Championships.
At both the local and regional levels, sepak takraw remains predominantly recreational sport. Most players are amateurs juggling training with day jobs; in Singapore for instance, the national team trains three nights every week after work; to create spring in their gravity-defying leaps, Rijal performs sets of jumps onto a wooden box that stands chest high to build spring for his leaps.
Although sepak takraw has had a relatively low profile, its popularity is rapidly expanding. Grassroot enthusiasts in the US are working to raise its profile, particularly among Asian immigrants and students. Meanwhile, US sepak takraw association promotes players, teams, leagues and pathways leading towards Olympic participation; grassroots enthusiasts also hold clinics at schools and physical education teachers’ conferences across Canada and the US, while their website and social media pages serve to increase international audiences’ knowledge of sepak takraw.