Myanma Chinlone


Chinlone – A Traditional Sport that Identifies Myanmar

Have you ever wondered how an ancient, non-competitive sport actually happens? Well, in Myanmar, a traditional sport that is more on sole teamwork rather than competition actually exists – that is what Chinlone is.

As you explore the villages in Myanmar, a group of six men tossing around a basket-like ball is a common sight. At a single glance, this game would definitely capture your attention due to its unique setup. You may wonder what that small ball is as it creates a distinct sound while it’s being tossed around. This ball is made from handwoven rattan, and it locally known as Chinlone. It’s a type of sport that’s non-competitive; in a way that all the players work towards one goal – to not let the rattan ball hit the ground. And the fun part? It’s a very fluid game wherein you can use your hands, head, shoulders, legs and knees to creatively pass and toss the ball without touching the ground. With the harmony that comes along the game, it can also be described as a form of art!

Chinlone is a traditional Burmese sport that is estimated to be 1,500 years old. One of the findings of silver-woven Chinlone near Hmawza village, Pyay town that dates back in 7 AD supports this research. It’s a sport that requires distinctive skills, which explains why Chinlone is a game presented to the Burmese royals in the ancient times.

Chinlone is played by a group of six players that are non-opposing. There are two rims of circles to play the game and the central player will skilfully touch and pass the ball to other players in the outer rim by turns. It is manoeuvred by Six Masterful touches: Foot Sole, Instep, Knee, Side Sole, Side Heel & Side outside. There are several methods to give a score to a competing team. The most common methods are:

  • Every player uses all six touches
  • Every player uses only one touch and
  • Central player uses all six touches.

There are three main type of Chin Lone based on each of their difficulty levels and each type has 10 masterful skills. These three types are:

  • Chin Gyi which is the oldest and most difficult skills
  • Chin Latt which is the medium range and everyone can play and
  • Khit San or Modern Chin Lone which is simple and as easy as we can see todays.

As this sport is unique to the Burmese culture and is quite authentic to the core, The National Chinlone Federation was established with the goal of inviting amateurs to learn the game and share it to the rest of the world. Chinlone was also officially played in the 2013 SEA Games hosted in Myanmar! True enough, it’s a sport that identifies the Burmese culture; and being a country that significantly pays respect to its roots, Chinlone is still played until our modern times. Whether you’d like to watch the game or even experience playing it yourself, Destination Myanmar will definitely assist you with an itinerary that will allow you to do so!