Chinlone – Myanmar Traditional Sport


Thiri Khit Oo (NP News) – May 11

Every country has its own traditional sports that are derived from culture, inventions, or creations. Of course, Myanmar has its own. One of the Myanmar traditional sports, playing Chinlone is Myanmar men's favorite. In the evening, men gather at least five to play Chinlone in every town and village for fun.

Chinlone is also called cane ball made from hand-woven rattan. The Chinlone is played in a circular by at least five players. The players must play only with legs kicking the ball into the air to pass the ball to each other. The other players are circling the main player while passing the ball. In this game, the different methods of controlling the ball will be learned which is like dancing. The main player is called a soloist who must show the talent to entertain the sport with dance moves.

While playing with legs, the players must use parts of the foot such as the top of the toes, the sole, the instep and outstep of the foot, the heel, and the knee. Hands are not allowed to touch the ball. The game ends when the ball is grounded making the game restart as a new round. In this game, the blind spot (catching the ball or playing the ball while the ball is behind the player) is the master skillful part to perform which is the most difficult to play. All plots or game tactics playing with legs are like dance moves.

Chinlone has been played for more than 1,500 years in Myanmar since it has a performance-based style. It was first created as an activity in demonstrative means which is heavily influenced by tradition for entertaining Myanmar royalty. The martial arts and dance moves are the significance of the Chinlone. It is such an old game with many variations of hundreds of moves for the ball. Years later, Chinlone was considered as a sport.

Starting from the 1960s, Myanmar Government strongly promoted traditional and historical preservation with efforts on native cultural pride. The government also began implementing physical education in schools for Chinlone teaching children to produce new blood and to increase pride in our own culture.

In 2019, the national governing body, Myanmar Traditional Chinlone Federation (MTCF) was established for Myanmar Chinlone to develop and grow preserving the traditional methods and sustainable elite-level performance.

These days, it has been modernized with three main types not losing the original play tactics. The three main types are based on each of their difficulty levels with 10 mastery skills. The first type is well known as Chin Gyi which is the oldest and most difficult skill with advanced level. The second is Chin Latt which is the medium range and every player can play. The third is popular as Khit San or Modern Chin Lone which is simplest.

Chinlone sport is unique to Myanmar culture but also it is quite authentic to the core. The MTCF introduced and shared this sport to the world officially playing in the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which was hosted by Myanmar.

Chinlone at SEA Games
Chinlone has become a feature part of Myanmar’s Buddhist Festival. The Chinlone competitions are also traditionally held at stadiums and the Chinlone season is Warso in the Myanmar Calendar (July) every year.

References - Myanmar Traditional Chinlone
Federation (MTCF)
Inside Asia
Frontier Myanmar

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