Introduction to Kabaddi

Kabaddi, similar to wrestling is a combative team game. Pinning the opponent and scoring points remains the main part, but there is a lot more to it. The game is said to have originated in ancient India and is even mentioned in various Hindu legends. According to  folklore it is believed that various kings and princes in ancient India used Kabaddi as a medium to demonstrate their physical strength and dominance. Nonetheless, the game has evolved into several forms and remains highly popular in the subcontinent, particularly in the region of Punjab. It also attracts tremendous international attention, and is played at the Asian Games. Starting in 2004 the Kabaddi Federation also starting hosting the Kabaddi World Cup in which over 12 countries participated.


The game is played on a rectangular court, either out-doors or indoors with seven players on the ground for each side. The basic idea of the game is to score points by raiding into the opponents court and touching as many defense players as possible without getting caught on a single breath. The playing surface varies and can be either played on grass, dirt or hard court surface. Unlike most other sports, both the attacking and defensive efforts can bring points for the team.

Offense: “Raid”

The offensive part of the game is called raiding. Subsequently, the player who enters the opponent area is the “raider”. Kabaddi is perhaps the only combative sport in which attack is an individual attempt while defense is a group effort. The defensive side at this point forms a trap and doesn’t allow the raider to easily touch them.

The raider primarily has two goals:

1) To hold his breath the whole time he is in opposing territory and keep chanting “kabaddi.

2) Touch as many opponents and successfully escape. If the defense is not able to succeed in catching the raider before he returns to home court, the defensive players that he touched are ruled “out” and the offense is rewarded the points.

Defense “Antis”

The goal is simple, to trap the raider and not let him escape, or simply break his breath. The defensive team is awarded points for each successful trap that they perform, and the raider is declared “out”.

The succession of attack and defense continues, until the required set of points is reached or the entire team is declared out.

How to Succeed in Kabaddi

Since Kabaddi originated in India, it is not surprising that there is a huge focus on yoga, body control and breathing.

A Kabaddi player requires both physical, mental and cardiovascular strength. If you can perform intense physical activity and still be able to control your breath then Kabaddi is the game for you. The game calls for agility, good lung capacity, muscular co-ordination, presence of mind and reflexes. There is a huge focus on judgment and decision making of both the “raider” and the “antis”. Any play can change the entire outcome of the game.

To learn more about Kabaddi in NYC: Click Here

Additional detailed rules and regulations: Kabaddi Federation


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