A Little Burmese Game…Why Don’t We Play Chinlone Too?!

You know what I think should be played everywhere in the world, a game I first saw on the streets and sidewalks of Yangon called chinlone/cane ball! Everywhere in Burma we saw groups of boys and men playing this game and it looked like fun every time.

Cane ball is where there are about five people kicking and using their heads to toss a hard, woven ball around to each other. The ball is usually about 6 inches in diameter and the main point of the game is to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the ground. In some rural areas of Burma, I guess the guys are just more open because they would always have their longyi’s up their butt cracks because longyis are long cloths, like skirts, and so if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to kick the ball or move around. It was hilarious the first time I saw it, because I would have never guessed full-grown men would do that, not even in rural Burma.

I think that in America, the closest thing we have to chinlone is volleyball, except you use your hands to play volleyball and you want to hit the ball and make sure it hits the ground on the other side of the net. In some cases, that’s what chinlone is like. Sometimes, there is a net and you have to get it over the other side of the net and make it hit the ground on the other team. Except, it seems so impossible because you can’t use your hands, just your head and your feet.

chinlon ball burma

This is my rattan chinlone ball, it was just 80 cents and I'm going to play it with my family!

I was so fascinated by this game that before going back to Thailand, I got myself a cane ball so that I could try to play it and it is SO HARD. I can’t even hit the ball. The only thing I can really do is hit it once with my foot or head and then it goes out of my area to where I can’t catch it again. I think I’ll keep practicing because it will be so fun to play this game with my friends back home this summer, and play it at the park. I want to bring this game to the United States, if only I can actually learn do it! :)

Would you want to play this game if you had the chance?!

About Ana

I've got heart and soul, and stories waiting to be told. In 2011, I first left the US and was homeschooled from Southeast Asia by my aunt for 6+ months. Now, I travel with her in the summers and share my stories here. I've visited 7+ countries and counting! "Wherever you go, go with all your heart" — Confuscious

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8 Responses to A Little Burmese Game…Why Don’t We Play Chinlone Too?!

  1. Erik March 19, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    That looks really hard! I am sure I do not have the coordination for that.

    • Ana March 19, 2012 at 4:25 am #

      Maybe, a lot of the time boys can be better at some sports than girls. I sure wasn’t coordinated enough! :)

      • mwarbeck August 13, 2017 at 5:14 am #

        This is not true in Chinlone. You can see how girls play gracefully from the below link. By the way, the guys in your video are playing Sepak Takraw, which is a competitive version of Chinlone while Chinlone is non-competitive and more of an art form.

        https://youtu.be/ZWfcATXnBLs

  2. Joanne Ruscella March 19, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    I am sure that you will do just fine – and no pressure, but we will expect you to teach all of us! LOL! Love you! Joanne

    • Ana March 19, 2012 at 4:29 am #

      It’s true, I am better than I was in the beginning. I’ll teach, it might not be the right way, but it will still be fun!
      Love Ana

  3. James Schipper March 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    That game is even crazier when the pros play it. They are super-acrobatic with their kicks!

    • Ana March 21, 2012 at 3:00 am #

      I’ve never seen the pros play it, have you? And it is amazing how talented they are with their legs!

  4. Craig March 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Ana, you can also buy the balls when you get home at a Burmese Asian market.

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