Malaysia–Sepak Takraw

Sepak Takraw, one of the most popular sports in Malaysia, is essentially a cross between volleyball and hackeysack. The sepak takraw ball is a small-ish one, made of rattan (a kind of palm). The three players on each team stand on each side of what looks like a volleyball/badminton net. As in volleyball, they must keep the ball from touching the ground on their side. As in hackeysack, they may only touch ball with their feet. The foot-only nature of the game leads to some significant acrobatics — jumps and kicks and cartwheel turns. Check out this YouTube video of the Malaysian and Thai national teams squaring off to see how the pros do it. The first team to get 21 points wins the set, and the first team to win two sets wins the match.

By the way, the Wikipedia entry on sepak takraw grants us the gift of the following two wonderful sentences: “Similar games include footbag net, footvolley, football tennis, bossaball, jianzi and sipa. These similar games all involve keepie uppies.”

In class we’re going to try a bit of sepak takraw, attempting to master the “keepie uppy.”

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