Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

“Like When We Used to Climb the Rope in Gym Class…”

January 27th, 2010 · 3 Comments


If you’ve heard of the traditional Indian sport of mallakhamb, it’s likely in relation to its supposed role in the creation of modern pole dancing. But there’s an offshoot of the sport that involves rope tricks rather than pole stands, and it’s quite a sight to behold (see above). While mallakhamb may be little know outside the Subcontinent, it’s apparently making great strides in Germany these days. And why is that? An Indian master endeavors to explain:

“I have coached players in Japan, France, Malaysia and Mauritius but I found Germans most receptive. Their body structure, willingness to learn and fitness gives them an advantage.”

Body structure?

Update Looked like we picked a fortuitous time to talk about this sport. Superstar Shrinivas Havaldar recently launched this site, billed as the first Web destination dedicted exclusively to mallakhamb. Perhaps that’s a bit hyperbolic, but who are we to argue?

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    I’ve definitely seen that performed before, though it seems to more often be done with very long strips of cloth. Additionally, there often seem to be two of them instead of the single rope shown here. Different strokes and all that.

    The sheer physicality of it all is just mind-boggling. And I’m saying that as someone who’s been rock climbing for over a dozen years.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan: I’m also impressed by the fact that the Indians seem so intent on sticking with their traditional games, rather than transferring these skills over to sports recognized the world over. Looks like this woman could make it as an Olympian gymnast.

    Also, how do they score this? Must investigate further.

  • Jordan

    I’m sure they could argue that the west hasn’t picked up on a lot of traditional sports from outside of Europe. What percentage of the sports we have right now are derived from Greek or northern European origins?

    The converse is that of course those are where the money is, but everyone has their own priorities. But martial arts have made it in and there seems to be a growing willingness to take up new sports, so time will tell.

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