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Kabaddi-It's like a childrens game but way more violent

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Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011 9:34 am | Updated: 12:05 pm, Thu Jan 8, 2015.

Working at the News-Sentinel for as long as I have means there isn't much that happens in this area that I haven't shot before. But every once in a while something new comes along.

That something new is Kabaddi.

Until yesterday I had no idea what Kabaddi was. However, I learned quickly that it is an intense athletic competition popular in India, Iran, Pakistan and other eastern countries. It's basically a mix of red rover, tag, and Wrestle Mania.

Let's see if I can explain this without thoroughly confusing everyone. Two teams face off in a large dirt ring with a line down the center. On the center line, in the middle, are two small mounds of dirt about 10 feet apart. At any given time there are five members of each team on each half of the ring. One person on each team is the "Raider." The other four stand together holding each others arms.

The raider from team A approaches the four members of team B on B's half of the ring. The raider then has 30 seconds to make contact with one of the four opponents. If he contacts one he then as 30 seconds to return to his half of the ring through the mounds of dirt while the opponent he contacted tries to stop him. If he makes it back team A gets the point. If he is stopped team B gets the point. Then the whole processes is repeated, switching roles between the two teams.

It was unlike anything I've ever watched before.

Dirt clouding the air and my eyes. The crowd of 3000 cheering as the voice of the announcer calling the fight in Punjabi rang out. Athletes slamming each other to the ground. It was a sensory overload.

Enough with the typing. Time fore the photos and a video. 

The night ended early because a real fight broke out during the tournament, prompting law enforcement for clear everyone out. Hopefully that doesn't prevent the return of the matches next year because I would love to shoot Kabaddi again.

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