If you have ever been to Thailand then you would have surely seen Thai people by the side of the road playing takraw. This is a very informal game of about half a dozen people standing in a circle. They then have to kick a rattan ball to each other trying their best to keep it off the ground. Every part of the body is allowed to be used apart from the hands. The students at my school sometimes play this game which dates back hundreds of years. To be an expert takes years of practice and you have to be very athletic in order to be successful. That is the informal game which you see playing everywhere. Then there is the more recognized sepak takraw game which is also played in other Asian countries. For this they use a badminton size court with a net. It is played a bit like volleyball though of course you are not allowed to use your hands.
Another variation of this game is called lawd huang or hoop takraw. The only time I have seen this being played is at temple fairs. I saw them playing last week when I went to watch the buffalo racing in Chonburi. For this version the players stand in a circle. High above them is hoisted a three sided hoop. The players are given 25 minutes to place the ball inside one of the three hoops as many times as they can. The team with the highest score wins. As in takraw, hands cannot be used. However, as you can see from the first photograph, they are allowed to use a padded head bandage. I can tell you those balls are pretty hard and do hurt unless you are used to them. In the picture above, one of the players managed to get the ball into the net. This was then lowered so that they could retrieve the ball. The game then continued.
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