Sepak takraw: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A child demonstrating sepak takraw.

Sepak takraw (Malay: sepak raga; Thai: ตะกร้อ "takraw"; Lao: ກະຕໍ້ "ka-taw"; Filipino: "sipa"; Vietnamese: "cầu mây") [1] or kick volleyball is a sport native to Southeast Asia, resembling volleyball, except that it uses a rattan ball and only allows players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. It is a popular sport in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines and Indonesia.

In Malaysia, the game is called sepak raga or "takraw". It is also thuck thay (Lao: "twine" and "kick")[1] while in Thailand it is sometimes called takraw. In Myanmar it is known as "chin lone". In the Philippines it is known as sipa, meaning "kick". In Australia it is known as "footnis", presumably a portmanteau of football and tennis.

Similar games include footbag net, footvolley, football tennis, Bossaball, jianzi and sipa.



Earliest historical evidence shows that the game was played in the 15th Century's Malacca Sultanate, for it is mentioned in the famous Malay historical text, "The Sejarah Melayu" (Malay Annals)[2]. The Malay Annals described in details the incident of Raja Muhammad, a son of Sultan Mansur Shah who was accidentally hit with a rattan ball by Tun Besar , a son of Tun Perak, in a sepak raga game. The ball hit Raja Muhammad's headgear and knocked it down to the ground. In anger, Raja Muhammad immediately stabbed and killed Tun Besar, whereupon some of Tun Besar's kinsmen retaliated and wanted to kill Raja Muhammad. However, Tun Perak managed to restrain them from such an act of treason by saying that he would no longer accept Raja Muhammad as the Sultan's heir. As a result of this incident, Sultan Mansur Shah ordered his son out of Malacca and had him installed as the ruler of Pahang.[3].

In Bangkok, murals at Wat Phra Keow which was built in 1785, depict the Hindu god Hanuman playing sepak takraw in a ring with a troop of monkeys. Other historical accounts mention the game earlier during the reign of King Naresuan (1590 – 1605) of Ayutthaya. The game remained in its circle form for hundreds of years, and the modern version of sepak takraw began taking shape in Thailand sometime during early 1740s. In 1866 the Siam Sports Association drafted the first rules for takraw competition. Four years later, the association introduced the volleyball-style net and held the first public contest. Within just a few years, takraw was introduced to the curriculum in Siamese schools. The game became such a cherished local custom that another exhibition of volleyball-style takraw was staged to celebrate the kingdom’s first constitution in 1933, the year after Thailand abolished absolute monarchy.

By the 1940s, the net version of the game had spread throughout Southeast Asia, and formal rules were introduced. In the Philippines the sport was called "Sipa", in Myanmar, or Burma, it was dubbed "Chinlone", in Laos "Kator", "cầu mây" in Vietnam and in Indonesia "Raga."[1]

This sport became officially known as 'sepak takraw.' Sepak is the Malay word for kick and takraw is the Thai word for a woven ball, therefore sepak takraw quite literally means to kick ball. The choosing of this name for the sport was essentially a compromise between Malaysia and Thailand, the two powerhouse countries of the sport.[4]

International play is now governed by ISTAF, the International Sepak Takraw Federation. The King's Cup World Championships are held every year in Thailand.

United States

The earliest accounts of organized takraw in the United States involve a group of students (Greg St. Pierre, Thomas Gong, Joel "big bird" Nelson, and Mark Kimitsuka) from Northrop University in 1986 in Inglewood, CA, learning about and playing the sport in Los Angeles.[5] Malaysian students attending the University often enjoyed playing the sport on a court on top of the dormitory cafeteria. They taught a handful of curious American students how to play, which in turn inspired the Malaysian Airline system to sponsor a U.S. team from the University to attend the National Tournament in Kuala Lumpur in Nov 1987. The Northrop team played in a bracket of international new teams with Korea, Sri-Lanka, and Australia. The U.S. team beat Sri-Lanka and Australia to bring home the Gold.[6]

Takraw really began to take off, however, in the late 1980s when Kurt Sonderegger, a student taking time off from the University of Maine and working in banking in Switzerland , met a fellow American who showed him a bouncy ball made of woven strips of rattan. The traveller told Kurt that the ball was from Thailand and gave Kurt the ball as a gift. Kurt was intrigued. As a soccer fan, takraw had an immediate appeal to him. On a whim, Sonderegger booked a trip to Thailand to find out more.

While in Thailand, Sonderegger discovered the actual sport of sepak takraw and was hooked. He connected with the major wholesaler of the balls, Marathon, and returned to Maine with a load of plastic balls and the idea of starting a business. He had heard about the takraw team at Northrop and decided to move out to Los Angeles to start his business there.

L.A.'s Asian community and Northrop's team had already established a takraw community in and around Los Angeles. Kurt dove head in and by 1989 with his ball selling business established, as well as founding the United States Takraw Association. That year he was sent an invitation from the International Sepak Takraw Federation and Kurt along with a few of the Northrop group travelled to represent the United States in the World Championships.

The team was beaten badly but the takraw world was enchanted with the fact that non-Asian teams had competed at the World Championships.


This sport has become very widely known. So much so that it has also spread to Canada, with Canadians having founded their own "Sepak Takraw Association of Canada"(STAC) on December 11, 1998. This was due to Rick Engel, the current president of STAC. STAC


A Japan team comprised of university students debuted—along with the sports itself—at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. While there are no professional teams in Japan, schools such as Asia University, Chiba University, Waseda University and Keio University.[7]

Rules and regulations

Measurements of court and equipment often vary among tournaments and organizations that operate from a recreational to a competitive level; international competitive rules and regulation are used in this section.


‘Sepak’ is the Malay word for ‘kick.’ ‘Takraw’ is the Thai word for the hand-woven ball originally used in the game. So the game is essentially ‘kick ball.’ Regu is Malay for "team" ( four people, three starters and one substitute player).[8]


Sepak Takraw court diagram

The sepak takraw sport is played on a similar to badminton double sized court.[9]

Area of 13.4 m x 6.1 m free from all obstacles up to the height of 8 m measured from the floor surface (sand and grass court not advisable). The width of the lines bounding the court should not be more than 0.04 m measured and drawn inwards from the edge of the court measurements. All the boundary lines should be drawn at least 3.0m away from all obstacles. The center line of 0.02 m should be drawn equally dividing the right and left court.

At the corner of each at the center line, the quarter circle shall be drawn from the sideline to the center line with a radius of 0.9 m measured and drawn outwards from the edge of the 0.9 m radius.

The service circle of 0.3 m radius shall be drawn on the left and on the right court, the center of which is 2.45 m from the back line of the court and 3.05 m from the sidelines, the 0.04 m line shall be measured and drawn outward from the edge of the 0.3 m radius.[10]


The net shall be made of fine ordinary cord or nylon with 6 mm to 8 mm mesh. Similar to a volleyball net.[11]

The net shall be 0.7 m in width and not shorter than 6.10 m in length and taped at 0.05 m from tape double at the top and sideline, called boundary tape.

The net shall be edged with 0.05 m tape double at the top and the bottom of the net supported by a fine ordinary cord or nylon cord that runs through the tape and strain over and flush with the top of the posts. The top of the net shall be 1.52 m (1.42 m for women) in height from the center and 1.55 m (1.45 m for women's) at the posts.[10]


A sepak takraw ball made out of rattan.

The sepak takraw ball shall be spherical in shape, made of synthetic fiber or one woven layer.

Sepak takraw balls without synthetic rubber covering must consist of the following characteristics; Have 12 holes. Have 20 intersections. Have a circumference measuring not less from 0.42 meters (1 ft 4+12 in) to 0.44 m (1 ft 5+14 in) for men and from 0.43 m (1 ft 5 in) to 0.45 m (1 ft 5+34 in) for women. Have a weight that range from 170 grams (6 oz) to 180 grams (6.3 oz) for men and from 150 grams (5.3 oz) to 160 grams (5.6 oz) for women.

The ball can be in plain single colour, multi-colour, and luminous colours, but not in any colour that will impair the performance of the players.

The sepak takraw ball can also be constructed of synthetic rubber or soft durable material for covering the ball, for the purpose of softening the impact of the ball on the player’s body. The type of material and method used for constructing the ball, or for covering the ball with rubber or soft durable covering must be approved by ISTAF before it can be used for any competition.

All world, international, regional competitions sanctioned by International Sepak Takraw Federation, including but not limited to, the Olympic Games, World Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and SEA Games, must be played with ISTAF approved sepak takraw balls.[10]


The Tekong performing the service during a match in Strasbourg

A match is played by two regus (teams), each consisting of three players.

One of the three players shall be at the back; he is called a “Tekong”. The other two players shall be in front, one on the left and the other on the right. The player on the left is called a “Left Inside” and the player on the right is called a “Right Inside”.[10]

Start of play and service

The side that must serve first shall start the first set. The side that wins the first set shall have the options of “Choosing Service”.

The throw must be executed as soon as the referee calls the score. If either of the "Inside" players throws the ball before the referee calls the score, it must be re-thrown and a warning will be given to the thrower.

During the service, as soon as the Tekong kicks the ball, all the players are allowed to move about freely in their respective courts.

The service is valid if the ball passes over the net, whether it touches the net or not, and inside the boundary of the two net tapes and boundary lines of the opponent’s court.[10]


Serving side during service

  • The "Inside" player who is making service throws, plays about with the ball (throwing up the ball, bumping, giving to other "Inside" player, etc.) after the call of score has been made by the referee.
  • The "Inside" player lifts his feet or steps on the line or crosses over or touches the net while throwing the ball.
  • The Tekong jumps off the ground to execute the service.
  • The Tekong does not kick the ball on the service throw.
  • The ball touches his own player before crossing over the opponent court.
  • The ball goes over the net but falls outside the court.
  • The ball does not cross to the opponent side.
  • A player uses his hand or hands, or any other part of his arms to facilitate the execution of a kick even if the hand or arm does not directly touches the ball, but it touches other objects or surfaces instead when doing so.

Serving and receiving side during service

  • Creating distracting manner or noise or shouting at his opponent.

For both sides during the game

  • Any player who touches the ball on the opponent side.
  • Any part of player's body crosses over into opponent's court whether above or under the net except during the follow-through of the ball.
  • Playing the ball more than 3 times in succession.
  • The ball touches the arm
  • Stopping or holding the ball under the arm, between the legs or body.
  • Any part of the body or player's outfits e.g. shoes, jersey, head band etc., touches the net or the post or the referee's chairs or falls into the opponent's side.
  • The ball touches the ceiling, roof or the wall (any objects).[10]

Scoring system

When either serving side or receiving side commits a fault, a point is awarded to the opponent side including making next service.

The winning point for a set is 21 points, unless the point is tied at 20–20, the set shall be decided on a difference of two points, up to a ceiling of 25 points. When the score is tied at 20–20, the referee announces “Setting up to 25 points”.

The game is played in 2 sets with 2-minute rest in between.

If each "Regu" wins one set, the game shall be decided in the third set called "Tiebreak" with 15 points unless the point is tied at 14-14, then the set shall be decided on a difference of two points, up to a ceiling of 17 points. When the score is tied at 14-14, the referee announces “Setting up to 17 points”.

Before the tiebreak set takes place, the referee shall toss a disc or coin, and the side winning the toss shall have the option of “Choosing Service”. The change of sides takes place when one “Regu” reaches 8 points.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Shawn Kelley. "Takraw: A Traditional Southeast Asian (mostly in Malaysia and Thailand) Sport". Retrieved July 30 2007. 
  2. ^ Dunsmore, Susi (1983). Sepak Raga. University of Michigan. p. 2. 
  3. ^ Brown, Charles Cuthbert (1970). Sejarah Melayu; or, Malay annals: an annotated translation [from the Malay]. Oxford University Press. p. 89. 
  4. ^ Hackworth, M. (2006). Sepak Takraw. Sierra Star Journal,644, 858-101.
  5. ^ The Log, Northrop University Student Newspaper, November 5, 1987, Vol 35, No. 3.
  6. ^ Northrop University Magazine, December 1987, Vol 3, No. 4.
  7. ^ "Sepak Takraw: By Fred Varcoe". Metropolis Magazine. February 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  8. ^ Kalish,J. (2004). Talking Takraw[Electronic Version]. Journal of Mens Fitness, Vol. 20, Issue 10.
  9. ^ Sportsmatchmaker. (2005). Sepak Takraw.Retrieved March 23, 2009, from the sportsmatchmaker website:
  10. ^ a b c d e f g International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) (2004). "Sepaktakraw: Laws of the Game" (PDF). Retrieved July 29 2007. 
  11. ^ Sportsmatchmaker. (2005). Sepak Takraw.Retrieved March 23, 2009, from the sportsmatchmaker website:
  • Pogadaev, Victor. “Let’s Play Volleyball… By Foot!” - “Vostochnaya Kollektsia” (Oriental Collection). M.: Russian State Library. N 3 (34), 2008, 129-134. ISSN 1681—7559

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address