Tug-of-War in Asia
Cooperative projects for safeguarding common living heritage

Living Heritage Series

Tugging Rituals and Games

A Common Element, Diverse Approaches

Chapter 7

Chak-Ka-Yer: Traditional Tugof-War of Thailand

Chuchchai Gomaratut
Associate Professor, Faculty of Sports Science, Chulalongkorn University
National Committee of Promoting and Safeguarding
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Thailand
Somporn Gomaratut
Assistant Professor Dr., Faculty of Arts, Dhurakit Pundit University

Chak-ka-yer is a Thai word similar in meaning to tug-of-war in western countries. It is one of the oldest folk team games in Thailand. Thai people across the country know chak-ka-yer, and many may have had some direct and indirect experience with this game, either as participants or observers. Chak-ka-yer benefits Thai society in several ways. People use chak-ka-yer for fun, pleasure, recreation, and relaxation from their routine work. Chak-ka-yer is played between teams, groups, or communities to test their physical strength. The game does not focus on competition, team preparation, contest regulations, and championship, but rather on unity, friendship, morale, and incentive of communities. Chak-ka-yer as a game is related to thoughts, beliefs, customs, traditions, rituals, and values of the people in different areas. Chak-ka-yer is a high-level game of development and doesn’t focus on systematic contests; it has specific agency to respond to and has the team seriously trained and practiced to win the championship. Chak-ka-yer as a sport is left unmentioned in this article since it has become an international sport.

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