Kabaddi Brief History & Popular Types

Kabddi is a super sport with a wonderful history behind it. There are different types of Kabaddi, played at different levels across the world.

Let’s explore in depth to understand; Kabaddi history with popular types, brief timeline, etymology, skills & facts that we need to know about Kabaddi sport.

Kabaddi Name Meaning


Etymologically the word “Kabaddi” is a combination of two words, “kai+pidi”, which collectively means “to hold hands.” This game, however, involves holding/touching opponents, if not their hands in particular.

Popular Types of Kabaddi Sport

Kabaddi, similar to its different names, is played in different forms. These forms may differ in terms of the rules, manners of playing, and the courts. Let’s have a look at its variant forms.

1. Standard Style (Rectangular Indoor Court)

This format is adapted for international competitions and “Pro Kabaddi League.” In this format, each team should have 7 on-field players and 5 substitutes.

The indoor court has to be 13 m long and 10 wide with sidelines, end lines, baulk lines, bonus lines, and a center line that divides the court into two equal half.

This game lasts for 40 minutes, which comprises of two halves of 20 minutes.

One team is known as defending team, and the other is the attacking team. The defenders of defending team have to protect their court from the raider of the opposing team.

To score points, on the one hand, the raider (of the attacking team) has to enter the opponent’s area and cross the baulk line and touch any of his opponents or enter the bonus line and return to his court without getting caught for a period of 30 seconds.

During his raid, the raider must keep on chanting the word “Kabaddi” breathlessly.

On the other hand, defenders should try to hold the raider and prevent him from returning to his court after touching them for a period of 30 seconds.

Each point results in the exclusion of one opposing player and the inclusion of one teammate. The aim is to send all the players of the opposing team out of the court in a designated period.

2. Pro Kabbadi

This is the most famous form of Kabaddi in India. It follows the same rules and regulations of the standard style. However, it has additional rules of raids and tackle that are given below:

a) Empty Raid (Zero Point)

A raider can raid twice. If his first raid earns no point, it is known as an empty raid. His second raid becomes “do or die,” which suggests that he should either get the point or lose it go out of the court.

b) Super Raid (three or more points)

This raid is highly rewarding. When a raider, on his raid, scores three or more points by touching antis or stepping into the bonus line.

c) Super Tackle (two points)

The super tackle comes into play when the defending team has four or fewer players on the court, and they manage to capture the raider and retain him for 30 seconds in their court.

A super tackle offers 2 points to the defenders.

Note: In Standard Style Kabaddi, the raider is captured by the entire defending team, no matter who has been touched by the raider.

2. Circle Style (Circular Outdoor Court)

This variant is popular in various regions and rural areas. This variant of Kabaddi is monitored by Amateur Kabaddi Federation.

Circular Kabaddi has four major forms that are played in different parts of India and outside of it. Those forms are as follows:

a. Sanjeevani

This form is similar to the standard style in terms of playing manner and object. This form is played on a circular court with 9active players on each team.

When a player scores a point, his opponent has to go out, and his teammate makes the entry.

Once a team sends out all its opponents, gets four extra points for this remarkable feat. This form also remains to continue for 40 minutes as a standard game.

b. Gaminee

This variant of Kabbadi is also played on a circular court with seven players on each side. However, it is slightly different in terms of scoring points.

When a team scores a point, its opposing team loses on a player who has to go out.

Once a player is out, he has to remain out until his entire team is expelled. Once the entire opposing team is out, the other team gets the point.

This game is timeless and continues until a team scores 5 or 7 points in this manner.

Note: In Gaminee, there is no concept of revival of players after each point.

c. Amar

This form is similar to Sanjeevani in terms of its duration. It lasts for 40 minutes.

It is known as “Amar” probably because it allows an out player to be inside the playing area during the whole course of the match. The word “Amar” means alive.

So, the player who has been touched by the opposing player remains alive and active on the court and is not expelled.

For every successful touch, a team gets the point. It is time that plays a crucial role in this form of Kabaddi. The team that has more points at the end of the time wins the match.

d. Punjabi Kabaddi

This variant is famously known as Panjabi Kabaddi because it originated in Panjab, India. It is adapted byKabaddi World Cup and the World Kabaddi League. This form has other sub-forms such as:

e. Lambi Kabaddi

This form is known as Lambi (which means long) because of its unlimited playing area. It is played with 15 players on a 15 to 20 ft circular court.

However, as soon as the raider comes to touch his opponent, his opponent can run, wherever he wants, to escape himself from getting touched.

While the raider, for touching his opponent, has to chase his target wherever he goes.

Note: In this form of Kabaddi, the rule of out of bounds is not applicable. Hence, the players can play out of the circle of the playing area.

f. Saunchi Kabaddi

This game is played on a circular court, with an unlimited number of players. This form of Kabaddi is unique and more challenging in terms of its scoring mechanism.

To score, the raider has to hit/touch his opponent on the chaste only. While the defender, in an attempt to hold the raider, can only hold him with his wrist.

If the raider hits his opponent other than his chaste, it is a fault. On the other hand, if the defender grabs the raider other than by his wrist, it is a foul.

g). Goongi Kabaddi

This form is Kabaddi is known as Goongi (which means mute/silent) because the raider has to raid silently without chanting the word “Kabaddi”. This is probably the only format where the raider has to be mute.

To score, the raider has to simply touch his opponent with silence and return to his court soon enough.

While the defender has to stop the raider by holding him in possession for a specific period.


In Circular Style Kabaddi, the raider is stopped by one defending player who has been touched by the raider.

Other defending players do not try to assist their teammate when he is scrambling with the raider

History of Kabaddi, Timeline & Types of Kabaddi

Kabaddi, a primitive Indian Subcontinent game, is one of the oldest games ever played in history.

It is a game that features fighting, raiding, and aggressive spirit, which was right there when human was dependent on hunting and warring for survival.

As human beings have always tried to find entertaining and recreational sources, be it killing animals, fighting with enemies, or playing crude games.

Apart from other deadly adventures, the games have been loaded with entertainment and fun, and particularly they involved rare untoward deadly occurrences. Thus, humankind resorts to sports for recreation.

History of Kabaddi, Kabaddi types & Skills

There emerged many games that are still ruling the arena, but one significantly old and exceptionally sprightly game that has achieved colossal popularity recently is Kabaddi.

As per historical evidence, the earliest form of Kabaddi evolved in ancient India’s southern regions, particularly in Tamil (now Tamil Nadu), about 4000 years ago. It started off as a game of running and hitting and vice versa.

As per one seemingly believable story, some boys used to play a game of hitting and chasing for the reward of something sweet like candies.

When a boy is hit by the other, the one who was hit runs behind the hitter to retaliate, and that goes on and on.

Spread of Kabaddi

This game spread to other parts of India and Asia by means of traders. Kabaddi, within India and across Asia, is known by different names such as Hu-Tu-Tu (Western India), Ha-Do-Do (Bangladesh, Eastern India), Chedu-Gudu (Southern India), Gudu (Sri Lanka), Theechub (Thailand), Bhavatik (Maldives) and Kapardi (Nepal).

Brief Timeline of Kabaddi

Kabaddi, after passing a considerable period in lackluster, rose to prominence in the early 19th century.

Let’s trace a brief chronological history of Kabaddi.

  • 1921: The formation of the rules of Kabaddi.
  • 1923: The revision of existing rules of the game.
  • 1923:First ever tournament, “All India Kabaddi Tournament,” was held in this year.
  • 1938:Inclusion of Kabaddi in Indian Olympics Games (now National Games).
  • 1950: The formation of the All India Kabaddi Federation.
  • 1972: The formation of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India.
  • 1980: In this year, the first Asian Kabaddi Championship was organized.
  • 1982: The year, the Kabaddi was included in Asia’s biggest sports event “Asian Games”.
  • 1984: Kabaddi got included in the games organized by the South Asian Federation.
  • 1990-94-98-2002: Kabaddi was part of all Asian Games that held in these years.
  • 2004: First ever Kabaddi World Cup was organized in India and won by the same country.
  • 2005: The First Asian Women Championship was held in India.
  • 2006: For the first time in Asian Games, Kabaddi was played on a dedicated indoor stadium.
  • 2007: Included in Second Asian Indoor Games.
  • 2014: The inaugural season of “Pro Kabaddi” made this game immensely popular overnight.
  • 2016: Third Kabaddi World Cup was held this year.
  • 2018: The Super Kabaddi League was inaugurated by Pakistan.
  • 2019: The biggest Kabaddi World Cup which included 32 (male teams) and 24 (female teams) was organized by Malaysia.


Kabaddi is the sport of activity and enthusiasm. Coming with a rich history behind it, matchless popularity, and understandable game variants, Kabaddi is indeed a super sport on the list of all popular sports in the world.