Kabaddi is the came of attack and defense. Attack is also known as 'raid' and the attacker is called the 'raider' in Kabaddi. The singularity of the game is that attack is an individual effort while defense is a combined effort. Offense in Kabaddi, is a sum total of raiding techniques and tactics in which footwork of the raider plays a crucial role. Since more points are scored through raids, the raider is in the limelight and the recipient of the public adulation or brickbats.

Raid is the focal point of Kabaddi. A couple of good raiders in the team can change the whole tempo of the game in minutes, with their techniques and tactics. For an individual raider to face up to seven opponents or antis, and come back successfully with points for the antis touched by him in the course of the raid, is no mean achievement. This is what the raid i-s all about. Raid is the main tool of the offense for scoring points against the opponent team. It is a continuous process since players from both teams raid on the opponent court alternatively. If, for example, when there are two teams, team 'A' and team 'B', when a player from team 'A' raids on team 'B', the player from team 'A' becomes the attacker or raider and team 'B' becomes the defending team with the players taking on the role of antis. Similarly, when the player from team 'B' raids on team 'A', it is the turn of team 'A' to take to defense.

As per the rules of Kabaddi, the player who enters the opposite court with 'cant', all the while with-holding his breath, is known as the raider. 'Cant' is the continuous chanting of the approved word 'Kabaddi' by the raider without taking a breath. The role of the raider, while in the opposite court, is to touch as many antis as possible, without being caught. Simply entering into the opponent's court with cant and returning to home court unscathed will not make the raid successful. To make the raid successful, the raider must enter the opponent's court with cant and either cross the baulk line or touch one or more antis and return safely with cant to his home court, without breach of rules.

Raid is the backbone of Kabaddi, and the raider plays a very important role in scoring points for the team. He is ca able of scoring a number of points in a single raid with his individual skill and enterprise, while the defense get only one point in the event of his being caught.

The raid is of a complex nature and several factors are to be considered to make it successful. A good raider should have the skill, tactics, counter-action ability to extricate himself from difficult situations, and above all, good footwork to score points. A combination of all these factors, with an ability to make spot judgments of the situation will make the player a top class raider. We shall now go into the structure of a raid and the different steps associated with it, to understand the raid and its constituents.


The main constituents of a raid comprise pre-considerations, cant, entry, settling and path of attack, footwork, skills, tactics, and retreat.,

'Pre-considerations' means planning the technique and strategy to be adopted by the raider before he enters into the opponent's court. This is to mentally prepare the raider to make his move depending on the number of defense players, their positions etc. The raider has to consider the following points before starting his raid.

  • Where to enter?

  • Number of players in the opponent's court and players put out

  • Strong defense positions and abilities there of

  • System of play adopted by the defense

  • Making a mental plan of the attack

  • Choosing the target

  • Situation of the game

  • Bonus line game

  • Entry into the opponent's court will affect the path of the raid, distance to be covered, and retreat to home court. As such, the raider must choose the right place to make an entry into the opponent's court.

    Kabaddi is a game in which, the defense players keep on varying in number during course of play. At any given moment, there may be any number of antis ranging from one to seven. The raider's attack should also vary depending upon the number of players in the opponent's court. While keeping in view the number of antis, the raider must also make a note of the antis out of court, since an ineffective, raid may bring in a strong anti and revive the defense. The raider must be aware of the abilities of the defense players as well as their positions, in order to either avoid their holds or counter act against their main skills.

    The raider must observe the system of play adopted by the defense. In the chain system, there are various types of play depending upon the number of antis in the court. For exam le, with four antis in the court, the team may adopt 2-2, 1-2-1, or 1-1-2 system of play. The raider must try to discern the chain system and the strategy of the defenders before embarking on his raid. This is a vital pre-consideration before a raid.

    Before starting on any venture, one has to preplan and condition one's mind to adopt a certain strategy. So also, the raider must make a mental plan of the raid before embarking on it. A raid without prior mental planning may prove dangerous and cost the offense side a point. The raider, while making. a mental plan of his strategy, must also choose his target and direct his attack towards this target.

    The situation of the game relates to whether the offense side is leading or otherwise. The raider, keeping in view the situation, must decide whether he has to play safe or score pointed and the time to be spent. Some times a successful raid, i.e. crossing the baulk line will suffice, where as, if the situation is critical, the raider may have to go in for an attack in order to score points.

    In the bonus line game, which is now in vogue, the raider must plan his raid keeping in view the number of antis in court on the opposite side. He can score a bonus point by crossing the bonus line, without a struggle if there are minimum six antis. If there are less than six antis, he has to go deeper into the defense stronghold and be prepared for a struggle to score points.

    One of the unique features of Kabaddi is the cant. The raider has to withhold his breath during the entire course of the raid and keep up a continuous and audible chant of the word Kabaddi until he returns to home court. This is known as cant in Kabaddi and if he happens to loose his cant during the raid or struggle before he reaches home court, he will be declared out and the offense side will loose a point. The definition of cant as coined by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India rules reads 'The repeated without break and at a stretch and clear utterance of the approved word "Kabaddi" with in the course of one respiration shall be called a cant'. In other words, cant can also be defined as the i-measurement of raid since the length of the raid can be determined on the duration of cant.

    Raid begins with cant and ends with cant, immaterial as to whether the raider reaches home court. If raider stops cant in the opponent's court, he will be declared out, even if the antis do not catch him. As such, cant is the inseparable part of the raid and the raider must continue the audible utterance of the word Kabaddi in one breath until he returns to home court, for a successful raid. Together with physical prowess, & technical supremacy a raider has to maintain proper cant. Any break in cant, lack of clarity or chance of the approved word may prove detrimental to the raider.

    The cant in Kabaddi has a close relation to Pranayama of yoga. This is a game, probably the only one, in which physical prowess and vital capacity, i.e. respiration go hand in hand. Pranayama associates mental processes with respiration. It is a proven fact that Pranayama or taking a deep breath and withholding it, is good for the heart, helps to calm down oneself and assists longevity. Dr Sunder Ram, who studied the cant and its implications in great depth, brought out a paper, which states that fast, and shallow breathers are easily excitable where as slow and deep breathers are' calm and cool and enjoy a longer life span. He compares the life span of a monkey, a fast breather to that of a tortoise, a slow -breather. Dr Ram relates a sound cant to a sound mind, and concludes that Kabaddi exercises the internal organs through respiration control along with external organs and thus realizes the ultimate aim of sports viz.
    'A sound mind in a strong body'.

    Cant has a long history and went by different names in different parts of the country. While it went by the name Chedugudu or gudu-gudu in southern India, it was known as Ha-du-du in Eastern India and Hu-tu-tu in Maharashtra in western India. All these forms were synthesized to form the present word'Kabaddi', which has universal approval.

    Many physical educationists and experts have conducted innumerable experiments on cant and its impact on players and have established the fact that Kabaddi players have more vital capacity as compared to non-Kabaddi players.

    The entry of the raider in the opponent's court depends on three considerations, i.e.

  • The position of the raider when he is part of his team's defense system

  • The side from which he starts his attac
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  • The direction in which he moves.

  • The raider can take an entry from either the right zone, left zone or the center zone. Normally the raider playing fight comer position starts from the right zone, the left comer players star from the left zone and the center zone players start from the center zone, which ever is nearest to avoid delay. However, this is not compulsory. The raider can take an entry from any of the three zones but care should be taken to start the raid within 5 seconds after the opponent's raid, for any delay will render the raid unproductive. The raider must also take care to start cant before entering into the opposite court. If he touches the opposite court without cant, a late cant will be declared and the raid will be cancelled. At times raid takes the form of a pursuit to take the retreating raider of the opponents by surprise. Here the entry has to be very quick without breaking any rules of play.

    Settling means getting set before an attack. Normally, after entry into the opponent's court, the raider takes a few seconds to study the situation and decide upon the path of attack. In these few seconds, he chooses a target and makes his moves accordingly. If he does not get set but charges blindly into the opponent's court, there is more likelihood of his being caught. For example, in pursuit, when the raider charges without getting set, he exposes himself to the risk of being caught, since he does not take time to plan the path of attack or think of the consequence of his moves. The raider must take care not to go too deep into the opponent's court or be surrounded by the antis. He must also plan his path of retreat to home court. He must invariably select a path to the centerline for retreat after attack, for which he may choose to turn, go outside, or take a side ward movement.

    Footwork in Kabaddi means the movements made by the raider with his feet, during the course of the raid. The factors influencing footwork include the stance of the raider, body position, movement, speed, agility, etc. A raider has to move quickly from one spot to the other during raid, complete his task and reach home safe. For this he depends largely on footwork. Footwork can broadly be classified into four types, i.e. Leading Leg Raid, Shuffling Raid, Natural Method and Reverse Step Raid, which will be gone into in detail in the chapter on basic offense skills.

    Skill is the automatic application of technique without conscious thought. Skill can also be defined as the ability to co-ordinate different muscles in order to perform a combination of specific movements smoothly and effectively. Technique should be applied with dexterity, economy of movement and easily, without tension. Mastery over the techniques of the game is called skill. The skills used by the raider in Kabaddi are called- offensive skills, while the skills used by the antis are called defensive skills. During raid, the raider has to make maximum use of his limbs to come in contact or touch the opponents in order to score points. This is accomplished through leg touches such as toe touch, foot touch, squat leg, thrust, kicks etc, with lower limbs and through hand touches with upper limbs.

    Apart from these basic skills, the raider must also learn advanced skills, such as counter action for escape from different holds. A skillful raider is one who has gained mastery over all these techniques.

    Tactics means exploiting a given situation to one's advantage or creating a situation to suit one's purpose.

    In Kabaddi, the raider is the principal performer who can change the tempo of the game. Depending on the game situation, the raider may increase or decrease the tempo of the game. In order to do this he may adopt a passive raid or an aggressive raid by creating a situation for a struggle. Some times the raider may pass time in the last few minutes of the game, especially when his team is leading and the opponents are playing an aggressive game. All these are the tactics adopted by the raider keeping in view the game situation. Tactics and techniques go hand in hand for any successful raid.

    Unless the raider returns to home court, safely after. the raid, the raid cannot be treated as successful. This is called retreat. The raider has to pre-plan his path of retreat before starting his raid. While retreating to home court, the raider should keep the following points in view.

    • He does not give room for pursuit.

    • He regains his defensive position quickly before the opponent team's raider begins his raid. Unless he does this, he may disrupt his team's defense system. For example, when the raider assumes left comer positioning his team's defense, but enters from the right, the opponent's raid may begin before he reaches his defense position, putting the defense in jeopardy.

    • To return to home court, the raider must pass through the midline only.
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