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What Sport Do Ninjas Play? Sepak Takraw

Eric MContributor INovember 13, 2009

The most common explanation of Sepak Takraw is just volleyball with feet. This is like saying hockey is just soccer on ice, or that squash is just tennis in a box.

Sepak Takraw more closely resembles volleyball with bicycle kicks. If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “If I were a ninja, what sport would I play?”, well, you have your answer.

Don’t believe me? Watch this .

According to legend, Sepak Takraw was first played by a Hindu god and his gang of monkeys. Skateboarding has similar beginnings, since Tony Hawk is widely considered a Hindu god.

The game grew in popularity throughout Southeast Asia, transforming from an informal circular game resembling hacky sack into a team game more closely resembling volleyball. During this same time, Marco Polo made a cameo appearance, opium saw a small jump in popularity, and General Tso’s wife told him to make his own damn dinner.

Today there is an International Sepak Takraw Foundation, the King's Cup World Sepak Takraw Championships, and it is considered the most popular game at the ASIAN Games, an event supervised by the International Olympic Committee.

Both the formal and informal versions can be seen played in every schoolyard and park in Southeast Asia, the same way there are full court basketball games and games of 21.

It is played with three players on each side. The ball, a woven wooden object that answers the question, “what if Betsy Ross made soccer balls,” is served to the other team, which attempts to get it back over the net using a combination of feet, chest, knees, and head. The ball can reach speeds of 100 km per hour. Awesomeness ensues.

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Sepak Takraw is unique in that it has a massive following, yet is nearly unheard of in the United States. Recently, the Malaysian Prime Minister pushed for its inclusion in the Olympics. Yes, the same Malaysian Prime Minister who Mugatu tried to assassinate by brainwashing Derek Zoolander. Why is this sport not really really really ridiculously popular? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

Meet Suebsak Phunsueb. He’s widely considered the world’s best Sepak Takraw player, due to some crazy serving technique called a “horse kick,” which is completely unrelated to a Donkey Punch, though similarly powerful.

Suebsak is a celebrity in Thailand, a country that has dominated nearly every Sepak Takraw competition to date—so big, in fact, that he’s even become a Thai film star, starring in an action movie called Born to Fight .

Not every Sepak Takraw Pro is a celebrity. The elite players can expect to earn about $15,000 for a season. Lesser players hope to make a few hundred dollars a month.

Considering that such athletic superstars as DARKO MILICIC are making $7.5 million this year, probably more than the combined salary of every Sepak Takraw player ever, this makes you wonder: Where could I be getting more entertainment value for the money I spend on tickets, jerseys, and cable TV packages?

My answer to you is this: Visit Takrawusa.com and find an event in your area. I promise you will not be disappointed

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