Thursday afternoon is boys kabaddi practice, which often includes warming up, wrestling, kabaddi matches and K-Ball. It’s required that all of the boys come. Even if they have permission to study or they’re injured, they sit on the side of the kabaddi field and stay involved. It’s an important part of developing their group consciousness. Mukhia Jethadar, Gurprakash Singh, facilitates these practices.
“There are many benefits to kabaddi practice. With young people, especially young men who don’t have good communication skills, there’s definitely a lot of problems with self esteem and hierarchy issues. If you’re having a hard time talking to your peer – maybe he’s not cleaning his room for inspection – when you get put in a situation where you have to wrestle each other it makes it easier to mention the inspection thing because you’re already close enough to wrestle.
For some people it’s not fun at the beginning, but if you do it on a consistent basis, you get better and over time you feel empowered. This gives confidence to the boys to be strong, rather than to constantly signal that they’re strong. When you experience your own strength from your own hard work, then you have the confidence to be yourself, rather than pander to people you think are stronger or higher. That’s my constant mission with these guys – to develop their confidence and self esteem – because the ones that act out are generally the ones with low self-esteem. Also, these practices help to get out a lot of that aggressive energy that boys inherently have in a way that is productive, and that helps them get over those fear blocks of confronting or even just talking to each other. ”
K-Ball or Kash-Ball is a game that Gurprakash Singh made up. It’s a mixture of rugby, soccer and net ball with some rules borrowed from basketball and dodgeball. Basically, there are two teams and you try to score on the other team by getting your ball in their net. There’s a goal area that no one can cross, except for one defender who’s acting like a goalie. Along the way you can pass forwards or backwards. If you’re holding the ball, you can get tackled but you can’t get tackled if you’re in the air or kicking the ball.
“I made up this game when I was young for fun, but it has the benefit of developing coordination, teamwork and seeing your passing options under pressure. If you catch the ball, you have about a second or sometimes a millisecond before you get creamed. You need to be able to spot your teammates quickly and see your next move. Playing it in the dirt is good for their feet strength, for developing speed and for ankle injury prevention.”