What is sepak takraw?

Kick+Volleyball

via.wikimedia commons

Kick Volleyball

The total collection of sports is staggering- a total of 800+, with over 200 being internationally recognized. Among these many sports, one that has shot to global fame is sepak takraw. It originated from Malaysia and has furthered its scope ever since. This activity is also called “kick volleyball” and is very popular in Asian countries. 

The rules and regulations of sepak takraw are quite similar to those of volleyball, where two teams of players both try to get the ball over the net to the other team’s side. But this is where things start to get different. In volleyball, players are supposed to use any body part above their waist to hit the ball over the net; in contrast, sepak takraw’s rules state that only the knees, head, chest, and feet can touch the ball. The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible. This is achieved by causing the opponent to “commit a fault,” or let the ball drop on their side. Sepak takraw also has official terms for positions, including “Teukgong,” which is the person who stands at the back, and “Inside Right” and “Inside Left,” which are the people who are closer to the net on both sides. Each team consists of 3 people, and those three players assume each position. The ball used to play is a rattan ball, woven of synthetic materials, and which the “teukgong” serves. The game usually consists of 3 sets, each worth 21 points, and the team who wins two sets first wins the game.

With interesting gameplay and rules, sepak takraw also has a unique history. The sport was born in Malaysia around 500 years ago. In the 15th century, only the royal court played it, but around the 16th century, it became more and more popular in other countries, most notably, Indonesia. In 1940, sepak takraw had already spread among many Southeast Asian countries, and regulations were developed. The first competition for the sport was held in Penang at a swim club, and after that, in the 1950s, the game slowly transgressed to being played in almost every school in Southeast Asia. However, not only is sepak takraw popular in Asia, but it also is being familiarized in Western countries, like the U.S. and Canada, and also European countries. The popularity of the sport is quickly spreading, and growing communities of avid players are popping up all over the globe.

With humble beginnings, the sport of sepak takraw is becoming one of the world’s most beloved sports. Involving components and rules much like that of volleyball, it has a simple infrastructure, but once actually played, it is really fun and competitive. This is why many all over the world like to participate in this sport and why so many schools in Southeast Asia incorporate it into their fitness classes.