Sepak Takraw – Thai Language and Culture
Sepak Takraw, or just kick volleyball, is an ancient sport indigenous to Southeast Asia. It’s basically just an indoor game that uses a ball (a soccer ball for soccer). Many countries have their own version of Sepak Takraw with varying rules. But basically, this game is played with two teams, each team consisting of 12 people. This game has been played since olden times, but it gained prominence in the Philippines and other parts of Asia.
This game has a long history. It was known in the Filipino language as “takraw” or “taklay.” It’s also called “papah,” which in Filipino signifies two; it is also known as the game of two fishes because there are two paddles in the game. In the Chinese language, it is called ping-pong or zhou-shan. In Indonesia it is called making and in Thailand it is called kerat.
Sepak Takraw is played in many different countries worldwide. Countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, China, and Vietnam have their own versions. Most of these countries’ version has a round ball similar to those used in other Asian games, however there are some countries that have been modified to include a regulation-size ball, which makes it more popular in those countries. Some countries play the game with one paddle, while others play it with two paddles.
The basic rules of the game of Sepak Takraw are fairly easy to explain. The rules can be easily found on the internet and in any book on Thai sports. However, if you are not comfortable with reading or understand English, then you may wish to consult with an adult before you begin playing. Any player can quit the game at any time without penalty. If a player feels that he/she is out of the game, they just have to refer back to the book or website for a definition of “out.”
Typically, Sepak Takraw is played with four paddles. Each player receives five cards and each team make up four points. When the sport is over, the player with the most points wins. There are some variations to the game that would require a referee to make a call, but generally, each team is allowed to play for three players at a time.
Since the rules are relatively simple, there are no age restrictions. Most players are children who live near water. One variation to the sport is for players to stand ten feet away from a wall with their paddles, holding both arms out at full length in front of them. This creates a violent wind, as it attempts to whip the ball back and forth between the players.
It’s easy to tell when a person has played this sport due to the colorful attire they wear. Players wear traditional Thai garb, complete with vibrant colors ranging from pastel pink and turquoise to yellow and red. They also sport shirts of varying colors, from bright red to dark blue and everything in between. No other attire is used. However, if a player is found to be wearing shorts or other types of shorts when playing the sport, a direct violation of the law is issued with a citation needed for investigation.
The game of Sepak Takraw is not only a fun way to spend an afternoon, but is also a perfect way to teach basic grammar and sentence structure to young learners. In addition, it allows for the exchange of tips and strategies between the two teams. The rules of the game are simple enough that any child can pick it up quickly and begin playing. While there is no scoring system or leader in Sepak Takraw, it is still a popular sport enjoyed by many and taught at schools in Thailand. If you are a parent looking for a way to introduce your child to the Thai language and culture, this game would be an ideal choice.