Sipa is a native Filipino game that predates the 15th-century Spanish rule in the country. It is a relatively challenging game as the sport requires speed, agility, stamina, and a high level of ball control. These are similar skills needed for the other popular Asian game, known as Sepak Takraw.
Like soccer, Sipa is both an indoor and outdoor game. It usually involves one or two players juggling a metal washer, ball, or a cluster of rubber bands with their feet. The term Sipa in English means kick. It is also the name of the ball used during the game.
History Of The Sipa Game
The earliest record of the Sipa game was in the fifteenth century before Spain colonized the Philippines. Sipa originated in the country and was considered the Filipino national sport.
In 2009, the former president Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo made Arnis the national sport. The popularity of Sipa waned, but it is still a frequent leisure activity among the Filipinos.
There are two popular varieties of Sipa; the first uses a lead washer, while the second uses a woven rattan ball. People often mistake Sipa for a children’s game because children prefer the washer in Sipa.
How To Play Sipa
The objectives of Sipa are simple; toss the Sipa in the air and kick it with the side, top, or heel of your shoe as many times as possible. The Sipa game mechanics are similar to several games such as Footvolley, Bossaball, Jianzi, and hacky sack.
You earn a point each time you kick the Sipa. If you are playing against other people, the person who kicks the Sipa the most times wins which is similar to Hacky Sack.
Overview of Various Sipa Variants
The Sipa game mechanics make at least six variations of the game possible. Here are some brief descriptions of the variants.
This version is often played by children using a washer made of lead. The game does not have as many rules as the others. Therefore, children can play it anywhere. The objective is to kick the washer in Sipa consecutively without letting it fall to the ground.
Girls and boys can play this game, but girls play it differently. They use the outer part of their shoes to kick the washer while boys use the inner part. The opposing team earns a point when you drop the Sipa ball.
Rattan Ball Version
People usually prefer the rattan ball version in formal games. Before starting, players decide who goes first through manuhán. This word means the procedure followed in the competition, and it varies from one game to the next.
The game usually begins with a coin toss. The team that gets tails plays first. Team leaders can also play rock-paper-scissors to decide who goes first.
To play the rattan ball version of Sipa, you kick the ball continuously back and forth. You can only use your foot or any part of the leg below the knee. The objective is to kick the Sipa ball, so the opponent cannot return it without committing errors.
The simple version of Sipa involves two teams with equal players on either side. Players decide the penalty rules to follow during the game. For instance, a team could get a penalty point if the ball bounces twice on the ground.
Each time a team commits an error, they get a penalty point. The opposing team wins when a team reaches a predetermined number of penalty points (usually 11, 15, or 21).
In a different simplified Sipa game, players use a rectangular pitch with a grid on it. The grid marks where players stand, and teams get penalty points depending on where the ball lands on the court.
Bilangan Sipa Game
It is a point-based game with a rectangular court measuring nine by 15 meters and divided into parts. Players use a rattan ball. However, the scoring is different.
A team earns a point after getting two consecutive “good balls.” A good ball is when a team receives a Sipa ball and successfully returns it to the opposing team.
The ordinary rattan ball game has teams comprising between one and four people. However, Bilangan has four male players on each side. It also has a referee to enforce the rules, a scorer to keep scores, and two linesmen.
The Sipa game mechanics in Lambatan is similar to Bilangan. However, it is not mandatory to divide the court. Also, it has a net stretched across the middle.
The captain stands seven meters from the net while his teammates distribute themselves on their side of the court. Players kick the Sipa ball as hard as possible to pass it over the net.
Mudansa is an exhibition game rather than a competition. Highly skilled Sipa players show off fancy tricks when kicking the ball.
A mudansa game usually follows a competitive version of the game. The best players entertain the crowd with their impressive kicking styles.
Sipa Game Equipment
The ball in Sipa comes in two primary forms. Traditionally, children used a ball made of tingga or a washer. It is a round piece of flat metal with a hole at the center. The most commonly used washers are the ones used to secure roofing nails.
To finish the ball, players tie several strands of colored thread or packaging straw to make the washer always fall with its flat side down. The strands also help the ball to fly like a badminton ball while in the air.
People primarily use the washer ball in Sipa for street games with relaxed rules.
The second type of ball in Sipa uses woven rattan strips. The ball has 2-3mm-thick strips woven into a round ball, also known as a pató. The ball has symmetrical holes all around. It has a diameter of about four inches and weighs 200 grams.
The ball bounces lightly like a tennis ball. You mostly find a rattan ball in formal competitions.
Rules and Regulations In Sipa Game
The universal rule of the Sipa game is for players to kick the ball consecutively without letting it fall to the ground. Players decide the rules to follow before starting each game.
Two main categories of the Sipa game exist. The first type is played with street rules, while the second type is more formal.
The washer version and simplified play have relaxed rules which players can change before starting the game. Mudansa has no rules since it is not a competition.
On the other hand, the rattan ball, Bilangan, and Lambatan games have mandatory rules. Most competitions use the rattan ball variant.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!