back to top

10 Traditional Sports That Should Be Explored More In The US

Unleash your untapped athletic potential. Break barriers and explore the versatility of the The All-New RAV4 Hybrid.

Posted on

1. Sepak Takraw / Sepak Raga / Sipa / Da Cau / Rago / Kator

Country/civilization of origin: disputed throughout Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos)First played: ~1829Why it needs to be stateside: Think volleyball meets soccer meets hackie sack. This action-packed game puts aerial maneuvers and gravity-defying kicks on display. With rules similar to volleyball, the three-person team is only allowed three touches (only using their feet, chest, knee, or head) to get the ball returned to the other side of the court.
Adib Wahab (CC BY-ND 2.0) Flickr: adibwahab

Country/civilization of origin: disputed throughout Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos)

First played: ~1829

Why it needs to be stateside: Think volleyball meets soccer meets hackie sack. This action-packed game puts aerial maneuvers and gravity-defying kicks on display. With rules similar to volleyball, the three-person team is only allowed three touches (only using their feet, chest, knee, or head) to get the ball returned to the other side of the court.

2. Kabaddi

Country/civilization of origin: IndiaFirst played: 1918 (with ancient origins)Why it needs to be stateside: Kabaddi is a contact team sport that requires no equipment played on a rectangle court. The point of the game is to tag defenders out on their side of the court while holding your breath. If the defenders wrestle you to the ground and force you to inhale while on their side, you are considered out.
Arivazhagan89 (CC BY-SA 3.0) en.wikipedia.org

Country/civilization of origin: India

First played: 1918 (with ancient origins)

Why it needs to be stateside: Kabaddi is a contact team sport that requires no equipment played on a rectangle court. The point of the game is to tag defenders out on their side of the court while holding your breath. If the defenders wrestle you to the ground and force you to inhale while on their side, you are considered out.

3. Yabusame

Country/civilization of origin: JapanFirst played: 12th centuryWhy it needs to be stateside: A former training regiment of samurai, Yabusame is an art of precision and accuracy while skillfully controlling a speeding horse with only the use of the rider's knees. Audiences will be awe-struck by the skill and technique required to master mounted archery.
Nikita (CC BY:2.0) Flickr: malfet

Country/civilization of origin: Japan

First played: 12th century

Why it needs to be stateside: A former training regiment of samurai, Yabusame is an art of precision and accuracy while skillfully controlling a speeding horse with only the use of the rider's knees. Audiences will be awe-struck by the skill and technique required to master mounted archery.

4. Pato

Country/civilization of origin: ArgentinaFirst played: 1610Why it needs to be stateside: Replace broomsticks with horses, quaffles with a rope-covered ball, and what do you have? A real-life form of quidditch! A mix of polo and basketball, Pato is a sport where two teams go head-to-head trying to score in each other's goals all while riding horseback. Formerly played with a duck in a basket (where the game gets its name – pato is Spanish for duck), the game has evolved to use a ball with six handles.
Beatrice Murch (CC:BY 2.0) Flickr: blmurch

Country/civilization of origin: Argentina

First played: 1610

Why it needs to be stateside: Replace broomsticks with horses, quaffles with a rope-covered ball, and what do you have? A real-life form of quidditch! A mix of polo and basketball, Pato is a sport where two teams go head-to-head trying to score in each other's goals all while riding horseback. Formerly played with a duck in a basket (where the game gets its name – pato is Spanish for duck), the game has evolved to use a ball with six handles.

5. Dragon Boat Racing

gifsoup.com / Via youtube.com

Country/civilization of origin: China

First played: Third century BC

Why it needs to be stateside: Some 18–20 paddlers rowing in unison to the beat of a drum? Yes, please! The time-honored tradition of the dragon boat racing exemplifies strength, endurance, and teamwork.

6. Insuknawr

Country/civilization of origin: IndiaFirst played: UnknownWhy it needs to come stateside: Contrary to the principles of the tug-of-war, insuknawr calls for participants to use their strength and leverage to push their opponent outside the ring.
H. Thangchungnunga (CC BY-SA 3.0) en.wikipedia.org

Country/civilization of origin: India

First played: Unknown

Why it needs to come stateside: Contrary to the principles of the tug-of-war, insuknawr calls for participants to use their strength and leverage to push their opponent outside the ring.

7. Kho Kho

Country/civilization of origin: IndiaFirst played: 1935Why it needs to come stateside: An organized game of tag. Nine people on one team sit/kneel in the middle of the field. Three chasers from the opposing team are tasked to tag all within a 8–9 minute time span. The person who tags all opposing players is awarded the points.
Hindustan Times / / Getty Images

Country/civilization of origin: India

First played: 1935

Why it needs to come stateside: An organized game of tag. Nine people on one team sit/kneel in the middle of the field. Three chasers from the opposing team are tasked to tag all within a 8–9 minute time span. The person who tags all opposing players is awarded the points.

8. Jai Alai

Country/civilization of origin: SpainFirst played: 1798Why it needs to come stateside: Deemed the "fastest sport on Earth," jai alai uses an extremely hard ball,pelota, that can travel up to 180 mph. Similar to racquetball, jai alai is started by the serving the pelota out of a long, curved basket worn on the hand, known as a cesta. Opposing player(s) have one bounce to catch the pelota and fling it back to the wall in one continuous motion. The pelota is volleyed until it is either missed or goes out of bounds.
AFP / Stringer / / Getty Images

Country/civilization of origin: Spain

First played: 1798

Why it needs to come stateside: Deemed the "fastest sport on Earth," jai alai uses an extremely hard ball,pelota, that can travel up to 180 mph. Similar to racquetball, jai alai is started by the serving the pelota out of a long, curved basket worn on the hand, known as a cesta. Opposing player(s) have one bounce to catch the pelota and fling it back to the wall in one continuous motion. The pelota is volleyed until it is either missed or goes out of bounds.

9. Mallakhamb

makeagif.com / Via youtube.com

Country/civilization of origin: India

First played: 12th century

Why it needs to come stateside: Astonishing gymnastics performed on a wooden pole. Those who practice mallakhamb must exhibit strength, agility, balance, and flexibility to incorporate holds, contortions, and transitions throughout their performances.

10. Stilt Racing

Country/civilization of origin: ChinaFirst played: UnknownWhy it needs to come stateside: Racing is one thing, but racing with stilts takes things a whole new level. At varying distances, competitors attach 3-foot-high bamboo stilts to their feet as they try to accomplish the fastest time.
Nick Hubbard (CC BY:2.0) Flickr: nickhubbard

Country/civilization of origin: China

First played: Unknown

Why it needs to come stateside: Racing is one thing, but racing with stilts takes things a whole new level. At varying distances, competitors attach 3-foot-high bamboo stilts to their feet as they try to accomplish the fastest time.

Which traditional sports do you want to be more explored stateside? Comment below!

Explore your untapped potential in The All-New RAV4 Hybrid. Let's go places.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com