About Kabaddi

What is Kabaddi?

Kabaddi is a popular team sport, which needs skill and power, and conflates the characteristics of wrestling and rugby, with the foot techniques of badminton and fencing. 

It originated in India 4000 years ago and is played widely across the Indian subcontinent and around the world. Originally it was intended to develop self-defense. 

It is a simple and inexpensive game requiring a little space and a vest and shorts to play in.

Known as the Game of the Masses because of its simplicity, public appeal, and accessibility, it requires less expensive equipment, it is very popular in the developing nations. It is primarily an outdoor sport, which is played on a clay court, but with kits increased global popularity it is being played indoors on synthetic surfaces (mats).

Kabaddi is known by various names, i.e., Chedugudu or Hu-Tu-Tu in southern India, Hadudu (for Men) and Chu - Kit-Kit (for women) in eastern India, and Kabaddi in northern India. It is far more popular in the villages of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.


Two teams compete for higher scores, by touching or capturing the players of the opponent team. The main objective of this game is to grab points by raiding into the opponent's court and touching as many opponent players as possible without getting caught on a single breath (30 seconds). Each player chants “Kabaddi! Kabaddi! Kabaddi” repeatedly on entering their opponent’s court and tries to touch the defense players nearest to him, while the defenders, often referred to as Antis, attempt to make tactical coordinated efforts to catch raider.

Team Size

Every team consists of 12 players, of which seven are on court, and five in reserve. The two teams fight for higher scores, alternating defense (Anti) and offense (Raider). Participants from various countries form teams for major tournaments or championships conducted across the globe. 

A Little History of Kabaddi

Tracing shows its existence since prehistoric times. It was used both as an entertaining game and to build physical strength and stamina needed to deal with the day-to-day work. Kabaddi was also used for self-defensive. This was demonstrated in the great Hindu mythology Mahabharata, and Abhimanyu’s Chkrabyuha Trap, where it is said that Arjuna was very good at art of Kabaddi. He used to go into the enemy’s wall to destroy them and used to come back unhurt. Gautama Buddha was also using this game as a means to know his inner strength and stamina and manuscripts say that only through this game, he got his bride; so, combining Gym membership with a dating website.

In the year 1918, kabaddi was given national game status. All rules and regulations were also formulated in the same year but officially implemented after 1923. It would take until 1938 to be introduced into the Olympics as a demonstration sport. BKL is affiliated with World Kabaddi and supports its aim to achieve International Olympic Committee (IOC) Status.

Participating Countries

Since Kabaddi originated in India, the neighbouring countries could easily access and learn the game. Over the years, Asian countries have dominated this game and they are considered to produce world’s best players in Kabaddi. However, the Europeans have taken the sport to heart and Poland have consistently been in the World top 3 rankings.

Apart from India, millions of people from countries like Sri Lanka, Japan Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, Nepal, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Oman, South Korea, Thailand, Iran, and Pakistan participate in Kabaddi. Most of these Asian countries also have their own Kabaddi Confederation bodies.

Kabaddi is gaining popularity in countries like Argentina, Sierra Leone, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Australia, England, Italy, Kenya, Norway, Scotland etc. and have also formed their Kabaddi federations. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and United States have also picked up the game and it is rapidly gaining popularity amongst the citizens.

Kabaddi Styles

The entry level for beginners is as an absolute novice and introduction to the sport is through the Tag variant often played by school children in the UK. There are four styles of Kabaddi played:

Rectangular or National Kabaddi promoted by BKL

Circle Kabaddi a team sport of 1 raider v 4 Antis but on first contact becomes a one-on-one ‘fight’ to score points.

Beach Kabaddi, think Rectangular Kabaddi with smaller numbers on a beach, think beach volley ball’s relationship with volleyball.

Tag Kabaddi can be played by mixed ages and sexes and is light contact.