The state of Nagaland in the North Eastern part of the country has been away from the national spotlight for far too long. Despite what people might think of it, there is a thriving sporting culture in the state which has been ever-present for ages.
One of the sports which has been practiced by the indigenous tribe for ages has been Akikiti. From far away, it would seem like the sport has hugely taken its inspiration from various different forms of Combat Sports and Mixed Martial Arts.
But going further into details, the sport is quite different from MMA and has been practiced in the Nagaland area for ages.
Exclusively talking to Sportswallah, Ghokhiye Chishi, who is the General Secretary of the Akikiti Sports Association in Nagaland, gives a fair idea on what the sport is all about and the difference between it and MMA.
He explains, “While there are basically no rules in MMA, Akikiti is strictly restricted to kicking and has quite a strict set of rules.” One example he gives us on the rules is that side-kicking in the sport is strictly a no-go like it is in Kung-Fu karate.
The basic rule of Akikiti is that using of the hands leads to a foul. The sport is played between two players and is divided into three rounds with each round generally lasting between 3-4 minutes. When in full flow, it is quite an exhilarating sport to witness with kicks flying around at a lightning speed, which will surely set your pulses racing. The last person standing after surviving a barrage of kicks is declared as the eventual winner after a show of great strength and agility.
Giving us further details on the sport of Akikiti, Chishi adds that it has been a sport which has originated from their forefathers. He gives further details that the primary purpose of the sport is to build up the fitness among local lads and is also used to settle some disputes. “It has been practiced for ages among the boys of the local Sumi indigenous tribes, especially for the Sumi Games.”
Despite being a big part of the Nagaland sporting culture for ages, the exact origin of the sport is still unknown to the masses. With the advent of many modern sports and international games gaining coverage in the area, the sport was on the verge of being lost forever to the masses.
But for more than four years, Chishi and the Akikiti Sports Association have been trying to re-introduce the sport among the masses of Nagaland. Chishi concludes on his and the association’s efforts to bring the sport into the limelight again. “We have been trying to introduce various Akikiti tournaments in different age groups, which are held throughout the state. Hopefully, with our efforts, the sport will not only be embraced by the state again but soon gain national recognition.“