Friday, November 03, 2006

Takraw Balls

Thailand (and Laos) have what have to be, in my opinion, two of the most interesting sports in the world to watch: Muay Thai or Thai kick-boxing is a brutally tough yet almost dance-like, ritualized martial art. Takraw, played with the kind of hollow rattan ball pictured below is an incredible display of leg-and-foot agility. I took this photo of takraw balls for sale in Luang Prabang, Laos, this summer

"Cross soccer with volleyball and mix in a bit of gymnastics and kung fu, and you’ve got the ingredients for one of Southeast Asia’s favourite and most spectacular pastimes: sepak takraw. Countless variations of takraw are played throughout the region, but the basic objective of each is to keep the hollow, grapefruit-sized ball from touching the ground by keeping it airborne with the feet, knees, head, shoulders, elbows — or nearly every part of the body except the hands. "

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