you haven't already, take our Exotic Sports Quiz.
If you have, learn about the international array of sports we've uncovered.
You may find your next favorite sport among our exotic finds.
Kabaddi ( Kabbadi) - Though Kabaddi is primarily
an Indian game, not much is known about its origins. There is, however,
concrete evidence that the game is 4,000 years old. It is a team sport,
which requires both skill and power and combines the characteristics
of Wrestling and Rugby. It is a rather simple and inexpensive game,
requiring neither a large playing area nor expensive equipment. This
explains the popularity of the game in rural India. Kabaddi is known
by various names: Chedugudu or Hu-Tu-Tu in southern India, Hadudu
(men) and Chu- Kit-Kit (women) in eastern India and Kabaddi in northern
India. The sport is also popular in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and
Kabaddi two teams compete with each other by touching or capturing
the players of the opponent team. Each team consists of 12 players,
of which seven are on court at a time. The two teams alternate playing
defense and offense. The game consists of two 20-minute halves, with
a break of five minutes for a change of sides. The playing area is
12.50 meters x 10 meters, divided into two halves. The side winning
the toss sends a "raider," into the opponent's court chanting, "kabaddi-kabaddi."
The raider's aim is to touch any or all players on the opposing side.
Any person the raider touches is out.
unusual aspect to this contest is that the "raider" touching the players
on the other team has to do so in ONE BREATH! The winning team is
the one with the most players left. The aim of the opposing team will
be to hold the raider and stop him from returning to his own court
until he takes another breath. If the raider cannot return to his
court in the same breath while chanting "kabadi," he will be declared
out. Each team alternates in sending a player into the opponent's
Pentanque - is more popularly known as Boules, which originated
in France around 1907. It is very popular in Europe but is rapidly
gaining a following in America. It is played outdoors and can be played
by everyone regardless of age or athletic ability. The equipment consists
of a small ball called a jack, six larger balls called boules, a measure
and a carrying case. Players divide up into two teams composed of
one, two or three players. The first player throws the jack, which
is the target the players aim for, from a designated throwing spot.
The other players then try to throw their boules as close to the jack
as possible. After all the boules are thrown the team with the closest
boule receives a point for each boule that is closer to the jack than
their opponents. The first team to earn 13 points wins the game.
the sport of Pentanque the rules of the game are easy. The challenge
comes in trying to master your throwing skills.
Sagol Kangjei - The British learned the sport of Sagol
Kangjei in the 19th century in the state of Manipur, India, and after
refinement it was introduced to other countries as Polo. The "PUYAS"
trace it to the mythological age when the game was played by gods.
game is now played in two styles - the "PANA" or original Manipuri
style and the international style i.e. Polo. The ponies are decorated
fully with various guards protecting the eyes, forehead, flanks etc.
It is played with 7 players mounted on ponies on each side. The ponies
are often not more than 4 to 5 feet in height. Each player is outfitted
with a polo stick made of cane having a narrow angled woodenhead fixed
at the striking end. The ball, 14 inches in circumference, is made
of bamboo root. It is exhilarating to see the Manipuri players in
their sixties and even seventies riding ponies at full gallop and
playing Sagol Kangjei with gusto. The mounted players hit the ball
into the goal.
Kangjei is another sport similar to Polo, also popular in the state
Underwater Rugby (UW Rugby) - is a strange concept and
an even stranger game! It is a ballgame played in a swimming pool
approximately 12 feet deep. The playing "field" consists of the entire
3D-watermass. Each team consists of 11 players. The goal is to put
the ball into a round metal basket on the bottom of the pool at the
opposing team's end of the "field." The ball used does not float!
thing that makes this sport especially unique is the 3D aspect. While
introducing more freedom of movement to the game by playing it in
water, the tactics become more complex. Players are equipped with
a diver's mask, snorkel, fins and water polo hoods with ear protectors.
Underwater Rugby is a contact sport, but the rules and environment
of water prevent serious injuries.
sport originated as a result of diving clubs' need for exercise in
the water during the cold winter months. Players today are a mixture
of very serious and active sportsmen and women and divers who want
to keep in shape. This sport is most popular in Norway and the other
Scandinavian countries, but also has adherents in Germany, Austria,
Tchekkia, Slovakia and Columbia.
Kang Shanaba - is
played on the day between Manipur's New Year's Day and the Ratha Jatra
festival. The kang is an oblong, oval object made of lac or lead with
a spot of ivory in the middle. Manipuris believe that the kang playing
field represents the "Field of Life." The seven players on each side
represent the seven days of the week. The chekphei and lamtha kangkhul
are 15 in number on one side and both sides represent 30 days, making
a complete month. The first chekphei stands for darkness and the second
chekphei represents the day. During the game, the lamtha should be
pushed by each player along his own track (kangkhul). When the kang
crosses the last boundary, it crosses the boundary of life, and a
player who does this is considered dead (shiba) for a particular type
of push. Each player uses his own kang. The kang used in pushing or
throwing is called the kangkap. The kang used as the target is called
the kangkhil. The court is a rectangular area (36' by 16 1/2'), divided
into four sub-courts.
game begins with a chekphei, in which the player throws the kang from
a standing position. For lamtha, the player pushes the kang from a
sitting position. The number of throws and pushes, as well as the
number of hits on the target, makes up the score. A point is scored
when hitting the kangkhul (target) by two chekpheis and one lamtha
continuously. Each player is given one opportunity to throw. The side
with the most hits, wins. The game's duration is four and one-half
hours. Manipuri religiously adhere to this time-frame as popular belief
holds that if the game is played beyond its given limit, evil spirits
invade the minds of both players and spectators.
Yubi Lakpi - This is a form of Rugby played in the
Manipuri State of India. Manipuri Rugby and its name come from "Yubi,"
- the Manipuri word for coconut and "Lakpi," meaning snatching. Contestants
play in teams of seven on either side, and the object of the game
is to score goals in order to win. Yubi Lakpi is played in a field
that is about 45 x 18 meters in area. One end of the field has a rectangular
box measuring 4.5 x 3 meters, one side of which forms the central
portion of the goal line.
score a goal, a player has to approach the goal from the front with
his oiled coconut and pass the goal line. The coconut serves the purpose
of a ball and is offered to the judges who sit just beyond the goal
line. The game is usually played on palace or temple grounds.
Chula-PakPao (Kite Flying) - This type of kite flying is
the most popular sport during the hot season in Thailand. The kites,
designed specifically for aerial fighting, are of two kinds: first,
the Pak Pao, square in shape with a long tail and secondly, the Chula,
a much stronger and bigger kite that is star-shaped and requires strong
winds. The target of the fight is to force the opponent down according
to set regulations. This Chula-PakPao kite flying is in fact a betting
game that has been carried on since ancient times to the present day.
Canopying - This is a recent addition to adventure sports
in Costa Rica and other parts of the world. It involves flying through
the treetops, at over 40 yards from the ground, in the tropical rain
and cloud forests. It originated from rappelling, which itself is
derived from mountain climbing. Safety-climbing harnesses and ropes
are used to propel the participant from one inaccessible point to
technique was actually developed by scientists doing research in the
canopies (tree tops) in an effort to not disturb the natural wildlife,
which would be the case using ladders and other climbing equipment.
As one can imagine, it is an incredibly exciting and sometimes frightening
Tchoukball - was
actually the brainchild of Dr. Hermann Brandt in the 1960's. A medical
doctor from Geneva, Dr. Brandt treated many athletes who had been
injured while practicing their sport. He began to notice that many
injuries resulted from athletes performing movements contrary to their
physiology and from the aggression inherent in some sports. He consequently
conceived of the sport of Tchoukball as a result of his research into
is a mixture of Basque Pelota, Handball and Volleyball. It is a team
sport played with a ball and two rebound surfaces (frames). It was
conceived to entice individuals to practice sport, regardless of age,
sex or physical ability and is characterized by the suppression of
any form of corporal aggression between the opponents.
Hurling - Hurling is one of the most unique sports
in the world and is also regarded by many as the fastest, even faster
than Ice Hockey. It is Europe's oldest field game. Each team tries
to score goals by directing the ball into the opponent's net. Hurling
is similar to hockey in that it is played with a small ball and a
curved wooden stick. When the Celts came to Ireland as the last ice
age was receding, they brought the game of hurling with them. The
stick, or "hurley", is curved outwards at the end to provide the striking
surface. The ball or "sliothar" is similar in size to a Hockey ball
but has raised ridges.
is played on a pitch approximately 137meter long and 82 meter wide.
The goalposts are the same shape as on a Rugby pitch, with the crossbar
lower than a Rugby one and slightly higher than a Soccer one. You
may strike the ball on the ground or in the air. Unlike Hockey, you
may pick up the ball with your hurley and carry it for not more than
four steps in the hand. After those steps you may bounce the ball
on the hurley and back to the hand, but you are forbidden to catch
the ball more than twice. To get around this, one of the skills is
running with the ball balanced on the hurley. To score, you put the
ball over the crossbar with the hurley or under the crossbar and into
the net by the hurley for a goal. Each team consists of fifteen players.
Players may switch positions on the field of play, but this is usually
on the instructions of team officials.
Footbag or Hacky-Sack - Footbag is practiced mainly in
the United States and Canada. The game is frequently referred to as
"Hacky-Sack" and has existed as a competitive sport in several different
forms since the 1970's. The most popular footbag sports are Footbag
Net and Freestyle. The ball is a 32-panel vinyl or leather ball. Footbag
Net is a single or doubles court game where players use only their
feet to kick the footbag over a five foot high net. Players are allowed
three kicks per side and must alternate kicks in doubles. In singles,
players are allowed only two kicks per side. The footbag cannot contact
a player's body except below the knee.
Net combines the court strategy of Tennis with the set and spike strategy
of Volleyball. Footbag Freestyle is the artistic form of the sport.
The variety of different moves makes freestyle competitions very difficult
to judge. Competitors are judged in four areas: choreography, difficulty,
variety and execution. Players choreograph their routines to music
and are also judged on how well the choice of music matches their
moves. Players must also perform specific moves that contain specific
elements exhibiting leg dexterity, spins, fliers and blind moves,
delays, cross body moves and moves involving unusual body surfaces.
Execution is judged by smoothness, confidence and most of all the
ability to keep the footbag off the ground.
Korfball - originated in Holland and claims to be the fastest
growing sport in the world. The word Korfball means Basketball in
Dutch but the game is more commonly described as a cross between Basketball
and Netball with its own rules. It is the only competitive mixed team
sport in which males and females play alongside each other on the
team consists of 8 contestants, 4 female and 4 male. The court is
divided into 2 halves with 2 of each sex at either end. One half of
the team attacks, while the other half defends, until either team
has scored 2 goals. Then everyone swaps ends and positions
the attackers become the defenders and vice versa. Goals are scored
by shooting a ball into a korf (basket), but the shooter must be free
from his or her defender in order to shoot. A korf looks like a Netball
post, except higher, with the game played on a full-sized court as
in Basketball. In proper matches the game lasts about an hour, but
in general a game lasts about 15 minutes. The team with the most goals
at the end of this period wins.
Orienteering - This is a sport in which participants called
orienteers use a detailed, accurate map and a compass to find specific
points on a landscape. A standard orienteering course consists of
a start, a series of control sites', which are marked by circles,
connected by lines and numbered in the exact order they are to be
found, and a finish. The control sites circles are centered around
the feature to be found at that site; each particular feature is defined
by control descriptions (also called clues). On the ground, a control
flag marks the control site. To verify finding the control site, the
orienteer uses a punch hanging next to the flag to mark his or her
control card. Different punches distinguish different control sites.
The route between the controls is not specified, however, and is entirely
up to the choice of the orienteer.
particular element of route choice and the ability to navigate through
the woods are the essence of Orienteering. Most competitive Orienteering
events use various formats such as staggered starts, relays and events
in which an orienteer must find as many controls as possible within
a specified time.
Curling - This sport has Gaelic origins. Curling is played
on ice with approximately 42-pound granite stones. The size of the
playing surface (called "a sheet") is 138 feet long by approximately
14 feet wide. The goal is, after all 16 stones are played (8 by each
team), to have a stone of your team's closest to the center of the
house, called the "tee." This is accomplished by sending the stone
to rest in scoring position (a "draw"), by knocking the opponent's
stones out of a scoring position (a "takeout") and by guarding your
own stones with others. The team with the closest stone inside the
house, scores a point or more if they also have the second closest
stone and so on.
round is called an "end" and consists of 2 stones delivered by each
player on each four-player team. The stones are delivered from the
"hack" on one side of the "sheet" to the "house" on the opposite end.
This consists of the player pushing off from the "hack" with the stone
and releasing it with a spin, or "curl," which gives the sport its
Barefooting - Barefooting is Water Skiing without the aid
of skis or any other device attached to the skier's bare feet. Speed
is an extremely important factor since barefoot skiing necessitates
greater speeds than when using wood or fiberglass skis. Competitive
Barefoot Water Skiing falls into four events. In the slalom event,
the competitor has to cross the wake of the tow boat as many times
as possible within 2 x 15 second passes. Points are awarded for the
number of whole or partial crossings completed. Each skier makes one
pass in the forward barefoot skiing position, the other in the backward
position. Crossings may be on one or two feet.
is primary in the trick event. Each trick must be executed to the
satisfaction of the judging panel riding in the towboat, who operate
under strict guidelines laid down by the International Water Ski Federation.
Some examples of tricks are: tumbleturns, toe holds, toe turns, line
steps, 180 and 360 degree turns and for the top skiers, 540 and even
720 degree combinations are possible. Again, each skier receives 2
x 15 second trick passes. The Australians were the first to really
take Barefooting seriously and make it a competitive sport.