Jorabin (Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria)

Name of sport (game): Socks playing
Name in native language: Jorabin
Place of practice (continent, state, nation):

Jorabin is a nostalgic game which is played in all regions of Kurdistan, also in other countries where Kurds nation live like Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.


The origin of this game is unknown. Many elderly people believe that it comes from ancient times in Mesopotamia. However, there are not any written documents that could prove this information. This game is a heritage that its philosophy is very interesting and special. During long and boring nights of winter and autumn people in villages did not have many interestings activities to spend free time Therefore, creation of such interesting and competitive game makes spending time joyful and enjoyable. Jorabin is not a game just for entertainment. Players and people connection is an opportunity to exchange ideas and their familiarity whith each other.


Name of this game seems quite logical because it is played by using socks, but the socks which are used in the game are special and knitted by women, therefore they considered as a handcraft in Kurdistan, moreover, they are not wearable. Five or ten pairs of socks are necessary to begin the game. Socks lay in two rows (five socks in the front row and another five are set behind the front row). You can see the arrangement of socks in the photo1. One of the main objects in the game is an apple oak that is shaped and smoothed skillfully (an apple oak is seen in the photo1).


The number of players (Jorab Baz (means player in Jorabin)) in each side are five, six, seven or more (five players in each team is more usual). Interestingly, there is no limitation in age and sex of players in Jorabin. A five years old child can compete with a ninety years old man or woman.
Referee by tossing a coin gives the apple oak to the team which is selected by the coin. The most experienced player usually puts the socks in front of himself (photo2) and hides apple oak in one of his hands and puts his hand in all socks (you are not allowed to use both hands); his task is to put the apple oak in one of the socks. This action needs cleverness because any clue or symptom can be traced by their rivals, therefore they can find the sock with the apple oak in it. To clearly understand the game better in this article we have two teams (team1 and team2).


Success in the first GOAL
In an example, team1 has the apple oak and their leader or one of the other players is putting the apple oak in socks. If team2 finds the apple oak in the first try (at this moment the attacker, before putting his hand on the selected sock, says GOAL and attacks the sock), the referee gives them ten points. When the team is not able to find the right sock, there are different modes that will be investigated in the following paragraphs. Before illustrating other modes, pay attention to pic1 to understand the game efficiently. In picture1 each circle is a sock. As a result of an unsuccessful attack of team2. there is no choice for team2 by guessing and choosing some of the remaining socks. We have two parts with different modes in each of these part. 1. Successful guesses 2. unsuccessful guesses.

Successful guesses
Team2, for example, choose seven socks of nine remaining socks (they can choose from one sock to eight socks in this stage, it depends on their decision).
In this mode the apple oak is in team2 guesses, therefore the leader of team1 says “apple oak is yours”. Now, players of team2 prioritize these seven socks from A to G and the leader or one of the players as an attacker puts his hand on the first sock which has the least priority, in this example sock G has the least priority (pic2). There are three modes. (mode1) If the attacker before putting his hand on sock G says GOAL and the apple oak be in the sock G, team2 is successful in getting its second GOAL and team2 takes 11 points (the second GOAL has 11 points for the team).
(mode2) Suppose that the attacker before attacking doesn’t say GOAL and the apple oak is in sock G in this mode team2 lose 7 points and team 1 gets 7points; the referee writes seven points for team1, because team2 has selected 7 socks of 9 socks.
(mode3) in this mode the attacker doesn’t say GOAL before putting his hand on sock G and also the apple oak isn’t in sock G. Team2 increase the possibility of finding the apple oak and removes the socks G, therefore finding the apple oak is more feasible. After removing sock G, the attacker of team2 puts his hand on the sock with sixth priority, for example, sock F. In this stage mode1, mode2 and mode3 may happen to sock F too. If mood 1 occurs team2 gets 11 points. If mood 2 occurs team1 gets 6 points and if the mood3 occurs the game for team2 is going on. The game will be continued for all socks until finally team2 finds the apple oak and gets 11 points for its second goal It is possible that in any of remaining socks team2 isn’t be able to have a correct guess and gives points to team1 and the leader of team1 again has a chance to hide apple oak in socks. Whenever team2 gets the second GOAL, the apple oak is for its players and they place the socks in front of themselves to hide the apple oak in the socks and team1 has to find it.

Unsuccessful guess
In this level the apple oak isn’t in team2 guesses, therefore the apple oak is the two remaining socks R1 or R2(pic3). there are two moods. (mode1) If the team2 attacker puts his hand on sock R1 and the apple oak is in it, team1 gets 10 points because 7 guesses of team2 added to 2 remaining sock 7+2=9 but in this game, we don’t write 9 points and 9 considered as 10, therefore referee writes 10 points for team1. (mode2) In this mode, the attacker puts his hand on sock R1, but the apple oak isn’t in this sock, surely the apple oak is in R2 sock and team1 gets 8 points.7 guesses of team2 added to 1 remaining sock that apple oak was in it (R2.7+1=8).
When the team1 points are given to them. The team1 leader has a second chance to hide the apple oak in the socks.

1. The game will be continued until one of the team gets 150 points earlier and that team is the winner
2. Only one player can put his hand on socks and attack or say the decision of the team to their competitors.
3. In all parts of the game, referee investigates the game and writes the points to teams, Moreover, any conflict can be solved just by referee decision.
4. Spectacles are not allowed to intervene in the game or disturb the concentration of players.
5. The size of socks is identical and they are made of the same materials.
6. During the game you should respect your rival and referee controls any harsh of players.
7. hen the leader is putting the apple oak in the socks, the players of another team are not allowed to touch the socks until he finishes his activity.
8. It is very important that before attacking to the GOAL the attacker must say GOAL, otherwise, the referee doesn’t accept the GOAL and rejects it.

Current status:

Fortunately, Jorabin in spite of all other alternatives in this modern time is very popular among Kurdish. Kurdish respect for their customs and traditions is famous among other nations in the middle east.


Importance (for practitioners, communities etc.):

Many people believe that Jorabin is the most popular and well- known traditional game in Kurdistan and it is registered as intangible heritage in Iran.



Some clubs during these years have established in different cities although these clubs are not registered in official and governmental centres. There are a lot of players (Jorab Baz) from different generations that is one of the unique characteristics of Jorabin.


Sources of information : HYPERLINK "برگزاری-دوازدهمين-دوره-مسابقات-جورابين-شهرستان-مهاباد-جام-فجر"6435985 HYPERLINK "برگزاری-دوازدهمين-دوره-مسابقات-جورابين-شهرستان-مهاباد-جام-فجر"/ HYPERLINK "قهرمانی-تیم-معلم-مهاباد-درمسابقات-جورابینجوراب-بازی-جنوب-آذربایجانغربی"2032723 HYPERLINK "قهرمانی-تیم-معلم-مهاباد-درمسابقات-جورابینجوراب-بازی-جنوب-آذربایجانغربی"/


Kalaripayattu or Kalari (Kerala, India)

Name of sport (game): Kalaripayattu
Name in native language: കളരിപ്പയറ്റ് – from Malayalam - Kalari (school) payattu (fight)
Place of practice (continent, state, nation):

Kerala state, South West coast of India.


Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest martial arts practiced to this day and its origins can be traced back to the ancient times. The very first mention of the Kerala martial art existence comes from the third century AD Tamil literature. However, it was not until the eleventh century that Kalaripayattu took the form we know today. It comes from the Malabar coast of the Ćera kingdom on which the Brahmins, or Hindu monks, have been practicing the martial arts in shrines called salad and ghatika since ancient times.
Kalaripayattu owes its existence to the war that broke out between the kingdom of Ćera and the kingdom of Ćola. This conflict lasted (with intervals) a hundred years and claimed hundreds of victims. At that time, many people were called to the army and brahmins were often responsible for their training. It was during the decades of trainings when Kalaripayattu eventually developed, and yet, the state of Ćera got defeated losing its lands to many feudal lords.
After the war it were the brahmins who contributed greatly to the survival of Kalaripayattu; they kept chronicles and trained new adepts. Some brahmins have been associated with this martial art for centuries - for example, the commander of the Calikut forces during the war with Portugal in 1509. This is where the connection between this martial art and Hinduism comes from. However, many of them abandoned monastic lifestyle and are described in medieval writings as cutthroats with bloodstained swords. Another factor that influenced the popularity of Kalaripayattu was instability in the region. Small feudal states led constant battles with each other, which led to the necessity of knowing the fighting techniques by the lower castes. In some parts of Kerala, compulsory education was in force and children from the age of 7 had to learn martial arts.
The golden age of Kalaripayattu ended in the eighteenth century with the arrival of the British. They brought firearm, the use of which meant that knowledge of martial arts was no longer necessary. Furthermore, Europeans banned the practice of Kalaripayattu what as a result, almost eradicated the martial art and its traditions.
Since India regained its independence in 1947, Kalaripayattu is experiencing a renaissance, not only in Kerala, but throughout the entire subcontinent. Numerous Bollywood films contain references and threads about this martial art. In 1995, the Indian Federation of Kalaripayattu was established.


Kalaripayattu is practiced in a special building called kalari. In the past there were several types of kalari. To this day, only two of them have remained popular – ceru (used for traditional medicine purposes) and kuzhi (training place).
Traditional kalari were built around a rectangular pit with dimensions of 12 x 6.5 meters. The bottom was encircled by clay walls and these on the other hand were strengthened with wooden beams. The 9 meters building was topped with a gable roof made of coconut leaves. This specific construction helped keeping the temperature as low as possible in very hot Keral climate. It was thanks to the light roof which made it possible for the cool wind to get inside at the same time blocking sunlight. What is more the high ceiling facilitating the circulation of air and the way kalari was build into the ground helped keeping the inside temperature low.
It is worth mentioning that even in Kerala, many masters transfer their kalari from traditional huts to modern buildings. One of the reasons is, paradoxically, the costs - the roof of coconut leaves must be renewed each year, and the professionals are very few.
Before going down to the kalari, you should take off your shoes. At the entrance, a ritual follows. The student enters the kalari with his right foot, kneels and successively with his right hand touches the earth, then the head, and the heart. It has a symbolic meaning - what you learn in a building is understood by the brain and then - by the heart.
When we are in the kalari, the training begins. It is divided into three parts. The first one is preparation - the participants dress in langutti, it is loincloth covering the genitals and buttocks. This skimpy outfit is associated with the Indian climate, in which practicing sports in many layers of clothing is impractical. Next, the participants apply oil on the whole body. Oil helps the body to cool down when it is heated up due to ardent practise or protect the body from cold during the monsoon season but what is most important, oil increases flexibility of the body. Then comes the time for religious rituals. Hindus pray for their gods while Muslims look towards Mecca. After that, there are rituals of thanksgiving addressed to the gods, to the weapons, to the teacher, and many others. Finally, the exercises begin.
Warm up and repetition of the fight forms and kicks (more on that later) are followed by four sections of fighting - unarmed, fighting with sticks, fighting with white weapons and unarmed fights with special emphasis on marmas (by Tamil Medicine key points of the body used in Kalaripayattu during massage and fighting). When the first section ends, less advanced students have to leave the kalari. This elimination process is repeated after subsequent sections. Weaker and less advanced students can not look at the next stages of fighting so that they do not get bad habits out of them.
The section that exercises unarmed combat begins with mudras. These are Hindu and Buddhist symbolic gestures that strengthen the body (also used in yoga). Then, adavu exercises are performed (shifting from one fighting position to another, push-ups, squats and jumps). Mudras are repeated 6 times and adavu 18.
All the excercises are followed by armed training. In that section students practice using sticks, white weapons and emphasis on marmas. Both white weapons and ordinary sticks are highly respected. Grabbing a weapon, the warrior must apply it to his head, and then to the heart - a gesture analogous to that which he performs while entering to the kalari.
Some of the techniques:
• Six basic kicks:
-Nerkal – the kick is delivered above the head, with a straight knee and the toes extended.
-Vitukal – circling kick, from outside to inside; the stretched leg is circled in front of the body, with the foot reaching above the head.
-Akamkal – circling kick, from inside to outside; the stretched leg is circled in front of the body, with the foot reaching above the head.
-Konkal – similar to nerkal, but the right kick now goes towards the left shoulder, and left leg to the right shoulder.
-Tiriccukal – three straight kicks thrown by the same leg, while pivoting two Times 180 degrees on the other leg.
-Iruttikal – after having thrown a straight kick, the kicking leg sweeps back a bit behind the body. At that moment the practitioner shifts body weight to the hind leg, and squats down on that leg, while the inactive leg is kept forward.
• Vadivu, or the body positions during the fight (together with the cuvadu, that is feet positions during the fight form adavu):
-Gaja vadivu – pose of the elephant – feet parallel at shoulder width while crouching in a way that the knees are bent at 90 degrees.
-Simha vadivu – pose of the lion– similar to the position of the elephant but feet are put perpendicular and a bit than shoulder width apart.
-Asha vadivu – horse stance – one leg straight put behind, the other with the knee bent at 90 degrees put in front
-Kukkuda vadivu – stance of the cock – right leg raised with the big toe pointing up.
-Sarpa vadivu – stance of the serpent – similar to the position of the horse but upper body is more upright. In that way it is easier to turn 180 degrees.
-Marjava vadivu – pose of the cat – a crouching pose.

-Kettukari – long stick – should be slightly longer than the user's height.
-Ceruvadi – short stick
-The Otta – curved stick
-Kathi – a traditional Keralian dagger with a handle made of deer antlers
-Vettukathi – Tamil machete
-Valum and Curika – swords
-Valum Parichayum – sword and shield, the most traditional weapon, symbol of Kalaripayattu
-Kuntham – Spear
-Maru – axe
-Urumi – a flexible sword - used in many Indian martial arts; also the last weapon to learn becouse an inexperienced user could have cut his head off. Its users wrap the sword around the waist.

Kalaripayattu weapons

Current status:

Kalaripayattu is still practised. Most schools can be found in Kerala, the birthplace of this sport (Calikut, Ernakulam, Wayanad). In addition, we can find sport centers in many large Indian cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Cennai). The Indian Kalaripayattu Federation has been operating since 1995 but this sport also gains in popularity in the west (Great Britain, Germany, France, etc.). In Poland, we find one such a center in Wroclaw.

Importance (for practitioners, communities etc.):

Kalaripayattu has been influencing the culture of southern India for centuries. Another thing worth paying attention to is the Keral theater form called katakali. It binds traditional Indian theatrical motifs (dance, song, music) and elements of choreography borrowed from Kalaripayattu.


Indian Kalaripayattu Federation:
Bhodhi Dharma Institute of Martial Arts, Poonthura P.O,
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, PIN-695026
Mob: 9447866944
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

logo indian kalaripayattu federation

Parashurama Vallabhatta Kalari Academy:

Parashurama Vallabhatta Kalari Academy logo
Alleppey Kalaripayattu:

alleppey kalaripayattu logo
Australian School of Kalaripayattu:

australian school of kalaripayattu logo


Calicut Kalaripayattu school:
Ernakulam Kalaripayattu school:
Wayanad Kalaripayattu school:
Delhi Kalaripayattu school:
Bangalore Kalaripayattu school:
British Kalaripayattu school:
French Kalaripayattu school:
German Kalaripayattu school:

Sources of information :

Patrick Denaud, Kalaripayat: The Martial Arts Tradition of India, Destiny Books, 2009
Chirakkal T. Sreedharan Nair, Kalarippayattu: The Complete Guide to Kerala's Ancient, Westland Books Pvt Ltd, 2015
Phillip B. Zarrilli, When the Body Becomes All Eyes: Paradigms, Discourses and Practices of Power in Kalarippayattu, a South Indian Martial Art., Oxford University Press, 2001
Dick Luijendijk, Kalarippayat, 2008 -
P. Balakrishnan, KALARIPPAYATTU: History and methods of practicing the martial art of Kerala, Poorna Publications, 2003
Ranjan Mullaratt, Kalari Margam - Ancient secrets for modern living, 2014
John Shaji, Kalaripayattu, The martial and healing art of Kerala -

An example kettukari fight -








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