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Mallakhamb Sport- History, Types, Rules, Competition, Variations – All You Need To Know

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India, is a nation diverse like no other, be it in terms of culture, race, religion, or for that matter, even sports. Amongst these indigenous sports, Mallakhamb is one of the sports that stands out. The sport mallakhamb or mallakhamba (which essentially means a type of Indian gymnastics on a vertical pole) first gained widespread international attention on the sidelines of the Berlin 1936 Olympics. What is interesting to note is that Mallakhamb, along with Kabaddi, were the first indigenous Indian sports to have been demonstrated at Berlin before the beginning of the Olympics. This drew much applause from the crowds as well as the international community. In the vast landscape of traditional Indian sports, Mallakhamb stands tall as an extraordinary blend of art, strength, and discipline. Originating from the vibrant culture of ancient India, this awe-inspiring practice has transcended time, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide.

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What is Mallakhamb?

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Mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport that combines elements of gymnastics, yoga, and martial arts. It is performed on a vertical pole and involves a variety of static and dynamic poses, as well as wrestling grips. Mallakhamb is a demanding sport that requires strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. It is also a very effective way to improve physical fitness and mental focus.


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History 

Mallakhamb Sport- History, Types, Rules, Competition - KreedOn
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The exact origins of Mallakhamb are unknown, but it is believed to have originated in India over 1000 years ago. The earliest known references to Mallakhamb are found in Sanskrit texts from the 12th century. These texts describe Mallakhamb as a training method for wrestlers and warriors.

The game of Mallakhamb became increasingly popular in India during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was especially popular among the Maratha warriors, who used it to train for battle. In the 18th century, Mallakhamb game was introduced to Europe by the British. It quickly became a popular sport in England and other European countries. Furthermore, records exist which prove that eminent historical figures such as the likes of Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, Tantia Tope, and Nana Saheb practiced mallakhamb.

It is of utmost historical significance to note that Mallakhamb first made its appearance as a competitive sport on the national level at the national gymnastics championships in 1958 held in Delhi. Moreover, the first-ever national Mallakhamb championships were held at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, in 1962.

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Mallakhamb declined in popularity in India during the 20th century. However, it has made a resurgence in recent years. There are now national and international Mallakhamb competitions, and the sport is taught in schools and gyms across India.


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Types

The art of Mallakhamb offers multiple types, each showcasing distinctive techniques and challenges. There are three main types of Mallakhamb: pole, rope, and hanging Mallakhamb. 

Pole Mallakhamb

This form involves dynamic movements and acrobatics on a sturdy wooden pole, emphasizing flexibility, balance, and strength.

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Rope Mallakhamb

Performers showcase their skills on a suspended rope, executing gravity-defying poses and transitions that demand exceptional coordination and dexterity.

Hanging Mallakhamb

In this variant, athletes showcase their abilities on a hanging pole, presenting an extraordinary blend of aerial grace and muscular control.

Rules 

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The rules of Mallakhamb vary depending on the type of competition. However, some basic rules apply to all forms of the sport. These rules include:

  •    The pole must be made of hardwood, such as Sheesham or rosewood.
  •    The pole must be polished with castor oil to prevent it from becoming slippery.
  •    The competitor must wear a safety harness that is attached to the pole.
  •    The competitor must perform a variety of static and dynamic poses, as well as wrestling grips.
  •    The competitor must maintain balance and control throughout the performance.

As A Competitive Event

Mallakhamb Sport- History, Types, Rules, Competition - KreedOn
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There are national and international Mallakhamb competitions held every year. The most prestigious international competition is the World Mallakhamb Championship, which is held every four years.

The scoring system for Mallakhamb competitions is based on a variety of factors, including the difficulty of the poses, the balance and control of the competitor, and the overall artistry of the performance.


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Variations and Specifications

Mallakhamb Sport- History, Types, Rules, Competition - KreedOn
Image Source: Olympics

Several variations of Mallakhamb are practiced in India. These variations include:

  • Patta Mallakhamb: This is the traditional form of Mallakhamb, and is performed on a wooden pole.
  • Kadam Mallakhamb: This is a variation of Mallakhamb that is performed on a horizontal pole that is suspended from the ceiling.
  • Danda Mallakhamb: This is a variation of Mallakhamb that is performed on a bamboo pole.
  • Rope Mallakhamb: This is a variation of Mallakhamb that is performed on a rope that is 5.5m long and 2cm in diameter and is suspended from the ceiling.

Each variation of Mallakhamb has its own unique set of challenges and skills. For example, Patta Mallakhamb requires a great deal of strength and balance, while Kadam Mallakhamb requires a great deal of flexibility and agility.


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International Organizations

Mallakhamb Sport- History, Types, Rules, Competition - KreedOn
Image Source: Times of India

Two main international organizations promote Mallakhamb:

  • The International Mallakhamb Federation: This organization is responsible for organizing the World Mallakhamb Championship.
  • The Indian Mallakhamb Federation: This organization is responsible for promoting Mallakhamb in India.

Both of these organizations work to promote Mallakhamb as a sport and a cultural tradition. They also work to develop new training methods and techniques and to organize competitions at all levels.

Conclusion

It goes without saying that Mallakhamb is indeed a challenging and rewarding sport that combines elements of gymnastics, yoga, and martial arts. It is a great way to improve physical fitness and mental focus, and it is also a lot of fun. Moreover, being a indigenous sport, we should be proud of it. If you are looking for a challenging and exciting new sport to try, you can certainly be encouraged to give Mallakhamb a try.


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