From Kabaddi Rules to How To Play|History and Everything you need to know!

Many people have questions as to what kabaddi is and how is it played? Well, kabaddi is a popular contact sport that is native to the Indian subcontinent. The rules of Kabaddi were different in the past. The format, style, and name – each and everything were different. However, over a long period of time, Kabaddi rules have evolved and so has the game. Kabaddi game rules have been modernized and devised to create more appeal among the people, across the seven continents. Today, we’ll help you learn the history of the game and the kabaddi sport rules that exist today. In 2014, India launched an international annual tournament titled ‘Pro Kabaddi League’. Since its inauguration, the sport has grown more professional and popular. So, as we proceed, we’ll also pay heed to Pro Kabaddi rules.

Kabbadi Rules
Kabbadi Rules

History of Kabaddi

As per legends and folk stories, Kabaddi originated 4,000 years ago in the southern regions of the modern-day state of Tamil Nadu in India. There’s a belief that kings in ancient India played the sport to showcase their physical strength, even participated in ceremonial competitions, and the victor was recognized as a deserving bridegroom for a princess.

Early 1920’s

History of kabaddi
kabaddi History. Image Edited by God of Small Thing

Modern-day Kabaddi can be traced from the 1920s. Back then, present-day India was a rural landmass and Kabaddi was a popular game among kids, teens, and young adults. There were no hard and fast rules defining the nature of the game. In the year 1921, the first known framework of rules to define Kabaddi as a sport came into existence in the western state of Maharashtra. There were essentially four styles to the game and all seemed pretty region-specific. Even in many parts of India today, Kabaddi game rules of the region-specific styles still hold relevance. These formats are namely – Sanjeevani, Gaminee, Amar, and Punjabi. Kabaddi rules vary across these styles.

In Sanjeevani, Kabaddi game rules consist of a 40-minute play between two teams with seven players each. There’s a 5-minute break in between. When a team eliminates all the players of the opponent team, it gets 4 points. However, the most distinct feature of Sanjeevani kabaddi rules finds one player revived against one player of the opposite team already declared out. In Gaminee, kabaddi game rules bend a little, though following much of Sanjeevani. The point system remains the same. The variation remains: Gaminee kabaddi goes on for 5 or 7 such points without any fixed time duration. Interestingly, as per Gaminee kabaddi rules, a player declared out remains out until all his team members get out.

Kabaddi in India
Kabaddi in India

Amar style also finds a relation with Sanjeevani kabaddi rules. Nevertheless, the distinct feature in Amar style of kabaddi game rules is that a player declared outstays inside the court while play continues. Lastly, in Punjabi style, the area of play changes. The circle style of kabaddi finds its roots in northern regions of India like Punjab and Haryana. According to Punjabi kabaddi rules, the 40-minute game is to be played on a circular pitch of a diameter of 22 meters.

The 1921 framework adopted the kabaddi rules from Sanjeevani and Gaminee styles. Two years later in 1923, a committee was established to look after the kabaddi sport rules. It amended the 1921 framework and those amended kabaddi rules were followed in the All India Kabaddi Tournament organized in 1923. In 1938, the Indian Olympic Games introduced Kabaddi to the world.

From 1950’s to 2000

Post-Independence, the All India Kabaddi Federation was formed in the year 1950 to look after the promotion of the sport. Next year, during the inaugural Asian Games in India, AIKF introduced Kabaddi as a demonstration sport. By 1952, the Senior National Championships began in India. Two decades later, the sport witnessed a reform. In 1972, the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India replaced the former authority body. The new regulator was affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association. A few kabaddi sport rules were changed with a motive to market the game in the neighboring countries. Under AKFI, the National level championships were also diversified which led to the inclusion of junior and sub-junior categories.

The first Asian Kabaddi Championship took place in 1980. And again, the 1982 Asian Games recognized Kabaddi as a demonstration sport. In this while, kabaddi sport rules were rigorously reformed to find a standard acceptable to the Asian Games. The contact sport found amazing appeal in the eastern neighbor of India – Bangladesh. A decade after the nation was declared free and sovereign, Bangladesh conducted SAF Games and Kabaddi found a place in the international tournament. The domestic spectators loved the game so much that Kabaddi eventually became the national game of Bangladesh.

At last in 1990, when the sport managed to find a massive appeal across the continent, the 11th edition of Asian Games inducted Kabaddi as a discipline in. The contact sport has gained huge popularity across the globe, featuring in every edition of Asian Games since then. Undoubtedly, India rules the sport at the international level – winning 7 out of 8 Asian Games Kabaddi tournaments.

21st century Kabaddi

By now, Kabaddi game rules have transformed drastically. Fans nationwide understand the kabaddi sport rules and have grown enthusiastic for every major tournament. Noticing the fondness for the sport, India unveiled the Kabaddi World Cup in 2004. While India has won in all the three editions of the Kabaddi World Cup, Iran has been a formidable opponent – being the finalist each time. In fact, the latest edition of the Asian Games, where India secured bronze, Iran won Gold.

As we are indulged in Kabaddi’s story, we should also keep in mind that the contact sport was never just restricted to males. Girls in India have taken this sport in large numbers. Realizing the need for a platform where girls too could exhibit their skills, Asian Women Championship was held in 2005 at Hyderabad, India. Following this, the 2006 South Asian Games held at Colombo, Sri Lanka, included Women Kabaddi as a discipline.

21st century Kabaddi
21st century Kabaddi. Image Credits: Star India

By this time, the contact sport which had emerged from the rural corners of India had found world-class acclaim. In the 2006 Asian Games held in Qatar, authorities built up separate training/ warming up courts and a main field of play made up of Korean puzzle mats. The main field of play stood equipped with a giant public screen, which displayed replays and the running score. Two ‘Tissot’ plasma scoreboards, info terminals for the presentation crew, the ceremony crew, and the media were also built. As a result, Kabaddi reached the spectators from European and American backgrounds. This was a huge win for our native sport at the world level.

Today, the sport has transformed completely from what it was in the early years of the 20th century. New techniques, modern kabaddi rules, and sports equipment have had a major role in this transformation. With the advent of the annual tournament Pro Kabaddi League, the rural contact sport which became an international sensation has attained a professional stature.

How to play kabaddi?

Basically, there are two teams with 12 or 15 players each. However, only 7 players at a time can play on the rectangular court (mat). A single game lasts for 40 minutes divided into two halves of 20 minutes each. After the first half, teams change sides on the mat.

How to play kabaddi is pretty simple. “Players from each team take turns running across the center line (officially called the ‘midline’) to the other team’s half of the court, tagging members of the other team, and running back. The more opposing team members they tag, the more points they score, but if the opposing team can physically prevent them from crossing back to their side of the court, they score no points.” The kabaddi sport rules vary across national and international tournaments and all India tournaments. Though, we’ll cover the standard kabaddi rules followed in India as prescribed by AKFI.

Before we move on to the detailed kabaddi game rules, let’s first understand how a match is played. Both the teams have raiders and defenders. Raider is a player who crosses the midline, enters the side of the opponent, faces the defenders of the opponent team, and attempts to tag run back to his side. While a single raider arrives, the opponent team with its defenders gets ready to tackle and trap that raider to stop him from going back and thereby score tackling (defending points).

The match begins with a coin flip, whichever team wins the toss gets to raid first. The raider then crosses the midline and tries to tag as many opponents as possible, given that each tagged player becomes a point for the raiding team. However, to score points for his team, the raider needs to return within 30 seconds. The kabaddi sport rules grow more complex after this as the point system is more rule-bound. Another interesting aspect of the basic rules of kabaddi is that the raider must always repeat the word ‘kabaddi‘ as he crosses the midline. If the raider stops chanting the word ‘kabaddi‘ and returns to his side without a tag, then the referee awards the opponent with a technical point.

Kabaddi Rules
Kabaddi Rules

More about the defending side now. Basic rules of kabaddi suggest – defenders (or anti-raiders) must avoid tags and make complete attempts to stop the raider from going back to his side of the mat. There are generally four defenders at a time, trying to capture the raider in their side of the court. It is important to note that kabaddi sport rules don’t permit the defenders (or stoppers) to grab the raider or hold him by his clothes, hair, or any part of his body other than his limbs and torso.

Not to be confused with how teams accumulate their points. Rules of kabaddi prescribe that teams need to alternate between raiding and defending for two halves of twenty minutes each. As mentioned before, after twenty minutes, teams change sides and continue their play. There’s a break of 5 minutes as the teams change their sides. At the end of 40 minutes, the team with the highest number of points will be declared as the winner.

With this section, we get an impression of how kabaddi is played, however, there are a variety of kabaddi rules which are to be kept in mind while playing. In today’s scenario, the standard rules differ a little from Pro Kabaddi rules. You will read more about the kabaddi rules as we move ahead.

Looking forward to becoming a kabbadi player in India? Here is a list of the best academy in India for Kabaddi

What positions are there in the kabaddi Game?

As mentioned before, there are seven players on the mat at a time. The remaining five play as substitutes. Following are the positions in which the seven players appear on the mat –

positions in kabaddi
Positions in kabaddi
  • Left and Right Corners: Kabaddi rules prescribe that the outermost position in the defense on the right and the left be termed as “corners”. These are the most crucial areas of the defense, for the players occupying these positions are usually responsible for initiating a tackle.
  • Right Corner-IN and Left Corner-IN: IN’s refer to the players next to either corner on the left and the right. In a full defense of seven, the left raider usually takes the Right-In position while the right raider takes the Left-In position. All-rounders generally occupy the IN positions.
  • Right and Left Covers: Players occupying the right and left covers from the center of defense. The defenders on these positions are much focused on stopping the raider from crossing the midline back to his side.
  • Center/Middle: The prime raider of a team occupies the middle. This keeps the flow of the game going as the chief raider has to mid-line and come back often.

Now, that we know all the seven positions, let’s move on to the rules of kabaddi.

 Kabaddi Game Rules

Kabaddi Game Rules
Kabaddi Game Rules

Rules of kabaddi have changed over a period of time, let’s learn about some of the kabaddi rules followed today.

1. Field of play

The 40-minute game is played on a synthetic mat, popularly known as ‘kabaddi mat’. The circle style of kabaddi is however played on soft mud. The size of the mat depends on different categories. While it’s 13 x 10 Metres for Men and Junior boys; 12 x 8 Metres for Women and junior girls; for Sub-junior boys and girls, it’s 11 x 8 Metres.

Find a few terminologies, as per kabaddi sport rules, associated with the field of play as follows:

  • Boundaries: Lines appearing on all the four sides of a kabaddi mat refer to Boundaries. These are usually 3 to 5 centimeters thick.
  • Lobbies: These are areas visible on both the vertical sides. It measures up to 1 square meter of the total field of play. When the game commences, Lobbies become the central area of kabaddi struggle.
  • Sitting Block: The area where out players and extra players appear is called the Sitting Block. It is important to have separate sitting blocks for extras and out players. Generally, the sitting block is at least 2 meters away from the end lines of the field of play.
  • Mid Line: The Midline is the centerline that divides the sides of the kabaddi mat. A raider crosses the midline to approach the opponent’s den and initiate a raid.
  • Half: It refers to each side of the midline on the mat.
  • Baulk Line: In each half, the first parallel line to the mid-line refers to the Baulk Line. The distance between the midline and the baulk line, as prescribed by rules of kabaddi, is 3.75 m in the Men’s and Junior Boys’ categories. While it is 3 m in other categories. Once a raider crosses the baulk line to tag defenders at the deep end, he should have no part of his body in contact with the area between midline and baulk line.
  • Bonus Line: After the baulk line, at a distance of 1 metre, appears another parallel line known as the Bonus Line. After crossing the bonus line, kabaddi sport rules dictate that the raider should not have any part of his contact area between midline and bonus line.

2. Age & Weight criteria

As per kabaddi sport rules, like any other professional sport, there is a standard age and weight criteria. Without much details, you may just get a general knowledge in this regard through the following:

Age Criteria: Senior Men and Women above 20 years, have no age restrictions. As for Junior Boys and Girls, their age should be 20 years or below on the last date of a tournament. And sub-Junior Boys and Girls need to be 16 years of age or below on the last date of the tournament.

Weight Criteria: The weight criteria has capping for each category of players. Sub-Junior Boys and Girls should not weigh more than 55 kilograms. Junior Girls should not weigh more than 65 kilograms. Junior Boys should not weigh more than 70 kilograms. And Senior Women and Men should not weigh more than 75 kilograms and 80 kilograms respectively.

As per the rules of kabaddi, including Pro Kabaddi rules, there are various terms that are specific to this contact sport. Let’s check them up to form a better understanding of the game:

1. Cant: It refers to the repetitive loud chant of the word ‘Kabaddi’ which a raider makes as he crosses the midline to tag opponents in their half.

2. Raid: It takes place when a raider crosses the midline to tag the opponents. Raider becomes the player who makes the raid.

3. Defender: A player determined to avoid the tag of the raider and one who attempts to stop the raider from crossing the midline back to his half.

4. To put out a defender: As per kabaddi rules, to put out a defender, a raider needs to tag such a defender and cross/touch mid-line within 30 seconds.

5. Catch: It refers to a situation where the defender(s) trap the raider in their own half of the mat and successfully stop him from touching/crossing the midline. As a result of this, the referee declares the raider out.

6. To reach safely: In order to reach safely, the raider within 30 seconds, needs to cross/touch the midline without losing his cant.

7. Tag: It goes without saying what Tag means. It happens when a raider touches any part of a defender’s body or clothing.

8. Struggle Raid: It refers to a situation where a defender or a group defenders engage with a raider on their half of the mat.

9. Empty Raid: Empty Raid happens when a raider crosses the baulk line of the defending team; but returns without tagging even a single defender.

10. Productive: According to kabaddi game rules, Productive Raid occurs when a side succeeds in scoring a point in a raid.

11. Pursuit: One of the most exciting kabaddi rules is that of Pursuit. It occurs when a defender runs to the opponents half, shouting his cant, with an intention to tag and run back. Note, Pursuit is unacceptable if the defender tries to hold an opponent instead of tag him.

12. Super Catch: This event takes place during the period of the game when three or less than three defenders manage to catch a raider.

13. Do or Die Raid: The Do or Die Raid takes place as the third raid after two successive empty raids. Failing to score a point in such a raid gets the raid count going from 1.

14. All Out: An All Out occurs when a side puts out every player of the opponent team. Moreover, the opponent earns two extra points in addition to the points scored during the raid.

15. Golden Raid: After 5-5 raids, if the referee finds a tie of scores, he or she will proceed to a fresh toss. The team winning this toss will get the chance to make the Golden Raid. This raid decides the winner of the match.

4. Specific Kabaddi game rules

Now, let’s mark up a few rules of kabaddi from the angle of playing a game. Kabaddi sport rules, a lot like the Pro Kabaddi rules, are as follows:

  • Toss: The team which wins the toss elects to either raid or defend first.
  • Change of sides: After 20 minutes, a five-minute break takes place. Following the break, teams change sides on the field of play.
  • 2nd Half of the game: The second half begins with the same number of players as they were at the end of the first half.
  • Outside the boundary: In case any part of a player’s body contacts the area outside the boundary, such a player is straight away declared out. If that player resists the ‘out’ decision by the referee, he may get a warning card.
  • Raider not out: If the defense is able to capture the raider in their half but mistakenly touches the area outside the boundary, then those defenders or the defender shall be declared out and the raider would go free.
  • Safe even if touches the outside boundary: A player engaged in a kabaddi struggle may touch the outside boundary; but if a part of his body remains in contact with the field of play, he will not be declared out.
  • Raiding priorities: As per kabaddi rules, a raider needs to cross the baulk line of the opponent’s half. Failing to do so will have him declared out. However, the raider who manages to tag one of the defenders, may not need to cross the baulk line; but only return to his half without losing cant.
  • Use of lobbies: After a struggle, players use the lobbies to return to their halves. It is a mandatory rule.
  • Can’t priority: A raider needs to begin his cant before touching the opponent’s half. The raider would have to restart again if he fails to begin his cant at the right time. As a result, the opponent team receives a technical point.
  • Shouldn’t be out of turn: Raiders take turns to attack the opponent’s half. Nonetheless, if a player raids out of turn, he will have to return; and the opponent would receive a technical point.
  • Not more than a single raider: Only one raider at a time gets to cross the midline to tag the defenders. In case more than one raiders raid at a single time, then all such raiders will have to return to their half. The opponent will gain a technical point, however, the same side would raid again.
  • The 5-seconds rules: Kabaddi sport rules have a special incentive to push the game. As per the rule of kabaddi, a raider needs to raid within 5 seconds of reaching the opponent’s half. If he fails to do so, then the defending team scores a technical point. However, the raid campaign remains intact for the next 25 seconds.
  • Special rule of Pursuit: A raider who escapes the Catch and reaches his half will not be pursued. Defenders can only pursue such a raider who tagsand runs back to his half.
  • The Cant rule: If a raider loses cant while on the opponent’s half, he shall be declared out.
  • Caution for defenders: Capturing a raider violently, stifling to stop cant or misbehaving with in any manner, will not only attract warning cards for the defending team but the raider would also go free.
  • Do or Die Raid: Failing to score a point in its third successive raid, a raiding team gets out. The opponents get a technical point with a revival of an out player of their team.
  • Avoid the raiding half: During a raid, the kabaddi rules prohibit the defenders from coming in contact with the raiding half. Doing so will get the defenders out and the raiding team would earn technical points.
  • The All Out rule: After a team has been entitled All Out. The opponent gains 2 technical points. An All Out team needs to enter their half within 15 seconds. Failing to do, will reward the opponents with a technical point. When the All Out team fails to return within a minute, the opponent gets the winning title.
  • Raider must not be guided: Rules of kabaddi forbid the raiding team from guiding their raider during an ongoing raid. In case it happens, the referee awards a technical point to the opponent.

Prohibition of holding above the shoulders is prohibited: The defenders are not allowed to hold a raider above his shoulders.

The Revival sequence: Rules of kabaddi allow revival of out players. But in a sequential manner. For instance player A went out first and player B went out next. Then at the time of revival, player A will enter the half before player B.

5. Other Kabaddi rules

Other rules of kabaddi concern: the Scoring System, Penalties & Warning Cards, Squad Size, Duration of Play, Substitution,Time Out, Bonus Point and Tie Breakers. Let’s take brief look at these kabaddi sport rules:

  • Scoring System: As mentioned before, a side earns a point for every opponent out. In case of All Out, the side will receive two extra points.
  • Penalties & Warning Cards: As discussed above, whenever a side engages in poor or foul play, it attracts a penalty. Such a penalty results in its opponent earning a technical point. In kabaddi there are three warning cards for foul play: Green as first warning, Yellow as a suspension for 2 minutes and Red as an expulsion from the rest of the match.
  • Squad Size: It depends on the type of tournament. At the national level, a team maintains a squad of 10 to 12 players, while at the international level, a team may consist of 10 to 14 players. Nevertheless, only 7 players play at a single time and the rest stand as substitutes.
  • Duration of Play: For Senior Men and Junior Boys the standard of 40-minute games takes place with a 5 minute break. While other categories play a game of 30 minutes with a break of 5 minutes.
  • Substitution: Kabaddi game rules prescribe substitution of five players to play at any time with the permission of the referee. However, suspended/expelled/out players cannot be brought in as substitutes.
  • Time Out: The organizing committee of an event usually decides the rule of Time Out. Though rules of kabaddi allow 2 Time Outs of 30 seconds in each half. Captain, Coach or any of the players in the team can announce Time Out with the permission of the referee. Such a break extends the whole time of a match.
  • Bonus Point: When at least six defenders appear on a side during a raid, it activates the Bonus Line. In such a scenario, a raider crossing the bonus line earns a bonus point. However, the raider needs to get back to his side within 30 seconds without losing his cant.
  • Tie Breaker: In a knockout match, a tie breaker takes place if both the teams have equal scores. Each team fields all its seven players and are granted 5 raids each. No applicability of the revival rule in the tie breaker. After both sides complete their raids and still find equal scores, the referee allows the Golden Rule to take place.

After covering most of the standard rules of kabaddi, let’s move on to Pro Kabaddi rules.

Pro Kabaddi Rules

With VIVO as title sponsor and Star Sports as broadcaster, Pro Kabaddi League has grown into a mega Indian tournament which welcomes players from every kabaddi playing nation and attracts a humongous crowd worldwide. Launched in 2014, with eight team franchises has had a successful journey so far. During its launch, a widespread speculation found PKL emulating the success of IPL – the annual Indian professional league for cricket. Today, the league comprises twelve sensational teams with Bengal Warriors as the current champion.

Aim of the League: Star Sports envisioned “A forgotten village game, reinvented for modern India.” Visiting its official website allows a viewer to understand the Star Sports vision crystal clear. They wished to transform the highly strategic game, which had been neglected as a rural pastime for long, into a world-class sporting event. Statistically, PKL has outperformed its expectations. In its very first season, it attracted a stupendous number of 435 million viewers – second only to IPL. Kabaddi as a sport has won a comparatively bigger number of fans than football and hockey put together. As of now, the league holds an even greater vision: Our dream is for kabaddi to be recognised as an Olympic sport.

Who is the best kabaddi player in India and have more questions around kabaddi? Here is a list of Best Kabaddi Players in India with career stats and Best Performances 25+ Best Kabaddi Players in India with career stats and Best Performances

Given its growing popularity, it becomes essential to follow the Pro Kabaddi rules as well.

1. Field of Play dimensions

SOURCE: Pro Kabaddi League (Official Website)

Pro Kabaddi rules prescribe the mats of size – 17 meters x 18 meters and a maximum of 20 meters x 20 meters. The game takes place on the court, sized approx. at 13 meters x 10 meters. End Lines, with a width of 3 to 5 centimeters, make up the boundary of the court. Lobbies, 1 meter in width, are represented by yellow lines. Pro Kabaddi rules for Midline, Baulk Line, Bonus Line, and Half Court are the same as the standard rules of kabaddi.

2. Terms used in a PKL match

Terms such as Raider, Defender, To put out a defender, To hold a Raider, Cant, To reach court safely, Raid, Empty Raid, and Pursuit remain similar to standard kabaddi sport rules. The term “Touch” replaces “Tag” as per the Pro Kabaddi rules. However, the meaning remains the same. Pro Kabaddi rules prescribe one special term for Super Catch i.e. Super Tackle.

3. General Pro Kabaddi rules

Pro Kabaddi rules resemble most of the basic rules of kabaddi. Let’s explain the similarity. The toss rule where the winning team elects to raid or defend, and part of the body outside court declared out resembles the standard kabaddi rules. The technical point system arising out of poor or foul play bears resemblance to kabaddi game rules. Raiders and defenders even in PKL may not lose, cant or stifle any player inside the court. The five-second rule will not be applicable in case the struggle takes place almost immediately. All Out rule when a side gains 2 extra points favor the basic kabaddi sport rules.

With modern technology, PKL has established a TV Referral System. It depends on the logistics of the broadcaster. Pro Kabaddi rules mandate single unsuccessful per game during the Semi-Final, 3rd /4th place playoff & Final matches. Referrals may be ‘challenge line decisions’ as well as ‘touches’. Considering the TV replays of a match incident, the final decision rests with the referee.

4. Match rules in PKL

Just like the national rules of kabaddi, PKL prescribes 10 to 12 players in a team. Only seven-play while others serve as substitutes. Duration of Play mirrors the rule for Senior Men and Junior Boys i.e. 40 minutes divided into 20 minutes each, with a 5-minute break. The system of scoring remains the same – one point for every out player, 2 extra points in case of All Out, and other technical points.

The rule of Time Out has been modified. As per kabaddi sport rules of AKFI, 30 seconds of Time Out was allowed twice. Pro Kabaddi rules authorize 1 Time Out of 90 seconds each per match. Also, In-play Coach consultation finds a place in Pro Kabaddi rules – once per half per match.

Pro Kabaddi rules pertaining to substitution, league system, golden raid, tiebreaker, and bonus point bear significant resemblance to the AKFI rules of kabaddi.

5. Other conditions

The weight criteria for Pro Kabaddi League is 85 kilograms or below.  Three rounds of official weigh-in take place during the course of the event for every member of all the teams playing. At every official weigh-in, a PKL team appears with its Coach and Team Manager. The 3 official rounds take place as follows:

  • 1st Round: One day before the start of the season
  • 2nd Round: After mid-season break and before the 8th match of each team
  • 3rd Round: Day prior to the play-offs round

In case a player(s) weigh more than the 85 kg weight limit, they shall not be allowed to participate in Pro Kabaddi for that season. Another important mandate relates to doping tests. Random dope tests are conducted by the International Kabaddi Federation with the assistance of the National Anti-Doping Agency. If a player is found guilty, the concerned individual shall be debarred for the rest of the season.

6. Teams in Pro Kabaddi League

The 12 teams competing in the annual mega event of Pro Kabaddi League: 

Bengal WarriorsKolkata
Bengaluru BullsBengaluru/Nagpur
Dabang Delhi KCDelhi
Gujarat Fortune GiantsAhmedabad
Haryana SteelersSonipat
Jaipur Pink PanthersJaipur
Patna PiratesPatna/Ranchi
Puneri PaltanPune
Tamil ThalaivasChennai
Telugu TitansHyderabad/Vizag
U MumbaMumbai
UP YoddhaLucknow
SOURCE: Wikipedia

List of kabaddi international teams

Pro Kabaddi Teams
Image Credits: Kreedon.

Following are the teams recognized by the International Kabaddi Federation:

1. Afghanistan17. United States
2. Australia18. West Indies
3. Austria19. Kyrgyzstan
4. Bangladesh20. Malaysia
5. Bhutan21. Maldives
6. Cambodia22. Nepal
7. Canada23. Norway
8. France24. Oman
9. Germany25. Pakistan
10. England26. South Korea
11. Hong Kong27. Spain
12.  India28. Sri Lanka
13. Indonesia29. Sweden
14. Iran30.  Chinese Taipei
15. Italy31. Thailand
16. Japan32. Turkmenistan
SOURCE: Wikipedia

Some Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is Cant in kabaddi?

Cant refers to the repetitive chanting of the word ‘kabaddi’ a raider ought to say when he’s in the opponent’s side of the court. If a raider fails to recite the chant of ‘kabaddi’, then he’s out and the opponent team gains a point. Watch cricket celeb Kapil Dev do a Cant to better understand how it’s done: Tap Here

How many rules are there in kabaddi?

There are more than 60 rules in Kabaddi. Some of the general rules include: 7 players in each team while playing, Cant rule, tag, pursuit and more. There are specific rules pertaining to Scoring system, Tie breaker, Substitute, Time duration, Categories and more. Although Pro Kabaddi League and International Kabaddi are two different forums, both share several rules in common.

What are the basic rules of kabaddi?

The basic rules of kabaddi relate to the number of players per team (10 to 12); size of court (13 x 10 m); age & weight criteria (85 kgs or below); duration of a match (40 minutes); point system and type of tournament. More related to the style and venue of play. For instance, the boundaries, lobbies, sides etc. constitute the rules related to venue of play. While, rules like Do or Die raid, Cant, Pursuit, All Out etc. come under the style of play, All of these are common, or say basic rules of Kabaddi.

What are the things needed to play kabaddi?

Things needed to play kabaddi include: Kabaddi mats, knee caps, shoulder bands, clip pads & scoreboard, stopwatch, marking tapes, and whistles. More specifically, at least 400 pieces of mat each would be required (size 1 m* 1m ea.) to hold a tournament, a set of benches for the extras to sit, ice coolers for comfort, electronic machine scales for weighing players and more. Check out this website to learn about all the things you might require:

What is Super 10 in kabaddi?

As per Pro Kabaddi Official Website, a raider achieves Super 10 when scores more than 10 points in a single game. The points could be either bonus or touch points but not points awarded to the overall team, such as technical points. A touch point is considered a more difficult feat and the only one where a raider can revive multiple players of his team, bonus points are a much safer option for a raider to keep the raid points ticking.

What is Green Card kabaddi?

Referee shows a green card in kabaddi to a player who misbehaves or engages in aggressive/foul play. Some of the actions for which a player can be penalized include: Persistently protesting or objecting the official’s decision, making derogatory remarks about the officials & their actions, stifle a raider by shutting his mouth or throat in any way, violent tackling leading to injuries and so on.

What is Raid in kabaddi?

A raid in kabaddi occurs when a player from the attacking team crosses the midline of the court with an intention to tag opponents and rush back to his half within 30 seconds. Like a striker in football and opening batsman in cricket, the raider is usually the one who becomes the focus in a kabaddi game. Two strong raiders can change the result of an uncertain match. There are several raiding techniques which you can learn on this website:

Who started kabaddi?

Historical evidence suggests that Kabaddi has its origins from the southern regions of ancient India, dating back approx. 4,000 years. As per Wikipedia, Kabaddi was said to have been popular among the Yadava people; an abhang by Tukaram stated that the lord Krishna played the game in his youth, while the Mahabharata contains an account of Arjuna being able to sneak into hostile areas also take out enemies unscathed, which they are claiming that parallels the gameplay of kabaddi. There are also accounts of Gautama Buddha having played the game recreationally.

What are the types of kabaddi?

In India there are mainly four types of kabaddi, namely: Sanjeevani, Gaminee, Amar, and Punajbi. In modern day, kabaddi is played on mats. India’s new kabaddi phenomenon is best seen in its annual grand event called the Pro Kabaddi League. On reading the article above, you would find the differentiation among all the four native Indian styles of Kabaddi. Each one differ in rules, however, their combined characteristics gave birth to modern-day kabaddi.

Do you have to say kabaddi?

Yes. If you’re a raider, you need to constantly chant ‘kabaddi’ in a loud and clear voice as soon as you enter the opponent’s half. In Kabaddi terms, this is called Cant. On failing to repeat the chant for 30 seconds straight, while on the opponent’s side of the match, the raider is deemed out.

What are the fouls in kabaddi?

There are many fouls in kabaddi, usually known as penalties. To note a few: misdemeanor on court, protesting against referee decision, aggressive play against opponents etc. Nonetheless, the final decision in this matter is reserved with the match referee who can warn, suspend and expel a player from the match, showing green, yellow and red cards respectively.

If you want to explore more about Kabaddi specifically, you can head over to our Kabaddi section under the sports tab to explore more articles and videos over kabaddi. Kabaddi – God of Small Thing


1. History of Kabaddi - Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI)
2. Wikipedia - Kabaddi Variations
3. WikiHow - How To Play Kabaddi
4. "How to tackle in Kabaddi: Types, effective methods, strategies and other scenarios" (AU. The Silent Spectator, Medium Blog)
5. Rules of Kabaddi - Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (PDF)
6. Star TV - Pro Kabaddi League Success Story
7. Kabaddi Rules - VIVO Pro Kabaddi League

Debojeet Chakravarty

I'm a first year grad student and have been exposed to the world of writing for over two years now. Though I'm new to the professional field of writing, I'm confident of finding myself in a suitable position that complements my style, very soon enough.

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