Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Another Kabaddi Legend

August 20th, 2009 · 5 Comments


The rest of our day is all about the Now the Hell Will Start screenplay, so we’ll outro with yet another clip of kabaddi mastery. Today’s legend is the late, great Harjit Brar Bajakhana, perhaps the best Indian raider to every play the game. Keep in mind that he performed at such a high level while having to hold his breath—one of the sport’s most important rules. Here’s to hoping kabaddi makes it into the Olympics one of these days—we much prefer it to, say, racewalking.

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • buskertype

    I’m trying to figure out how they tell that the raider is holding his breath?

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    I wondered the same thing. I guess it’s all on the umpire, who does seem to stand pretty close to the action. But I wonder if the sport’s ever been rocked by a cheating scandal over the matter of breath–sort of like how that one Sri Lankan cricket bowler with the crooked arm is often accused of bending.

  • eraserhead

    I went to the kabaddi site you linked to, selected “rules”, and couldn’t find the rule about holding the breath. I’m not doubting you (we’re not talking ferrets here, after all) and the rule *is* awesome. I seem to remember a game where you had to yell to prove you weren’t breathing (although “circular breathing” horn players could cheat, I guess).

  • buskertype

    I believe that “circular breathing” involves using the cheeks as an air reservoir, allowing a quick breath through the nose. In other words you couldn’t sing a note (or yell) while you were doing it.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    I’m still trying to sort out the rules of kabaddi myself. But according to the International Kabaddi Federation Rules, the holding of breath (or lack thereof) is determined in a most unusual manner:

    “One of the unique features of Kabaddi is the cant. The raider has to withhold his breath during the entire course of the raid and keep up a continuous and audible chant of the word Kabaddi until he returns to home court. This is known as cant in Kabaddi and if he happens to loose his cant during the raid or struggle before he reaches home court, he will be declared out and the offense side will loose a point. The definition of cant as coined by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India rules reads ‘The repeated without break and at a stretch and clear utterance of the approved word “Kabaddi” with in the course of one respiration shall be called a cant’. In other words, cant can also be defined as the i-measurement of raid since the length of the raid can be determined on the duration of cant.”

    At this point, I guess I need to figure out a way to watch one of these matches live. I bet you dollars to donuts there’s a kabaddi league right here in NYC.

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