Takraw is Amazing

If you haven't done so already (perhaps even if you have) you must come check out the Takraw folks: Jeremy Nathan Mirken, John Thao, Mai Jim Moua Thao, Ker Cha.  These gentlemen are amazing athletes.  Their flexibility, their style, the raw height they get when they jump, their speed and agility - nothing but amazing.

In between their shooting the ball over the net while hanging in mid air upside down, I had a chance to chat with them.  To get to their level took them anywhere between 9-12 years.  Many of them started out playing soccer and as part of that took up juggling.  They emphasized how similar takraw is to soccer when it comes to hand-foot coordination.  

I mentioned that how impossible it seemed to get to their level but they demonstrated that you start out with just jumping, rotating, and landing on the same foot you jumped off from.  As they pointed out, it isn't that you start out jumping nine feet in the air, flipping upside down, connecting with a ball the size of a grapefruit, aiming it over the net to where no player is expecting, and then landing back on your feet only to wait for the return.  Rather, you start with a basic jump and rotate - not even a ball.  Rather, the skills are broken down into their constituent parts - like in gymnastics - and only put together when the individual parts are mastered.  Even when you start jumping higher and upside down, you are likely going to be hitting stationary objects like leaves on trees (yes, literally).

I confess that until Barefoot3v3 I hadn't even heard of the sport.  However, after seeing it I am baffled (as are these athletes) by our TV sports selection in the US.  Why on earth is is possible to see poker and darts on ESPN but not be able to see the seemingly miraculous simultaneous gymnastics, speed, and eye-foot coordination that takraw brings.

This is an amazing sport that we can't wait to see catch on in the US.