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Kin-ball roots
Dear kin-ball friends, it has been exactly one year since I got to know kin-ball. It was in France, just before the start of the European Championship. I did not have time, however, to watch the games, so I organized my schedule in a way to be able to go to France this year and watch top-level kin-ball on the occasion of the World Cup in France.

Though I have worked in the sports industry for 12 years, for me there has never been a sport more
attractive, complete, comprehensive and charming then Kin-ball. 
In December 2010, together with my friends, we established the Czech Kin-ball Federation and
launched a program called "Pilot kin-ball schools". We travel the country and make Kin-ball presentations at schools. We started in March 2011 and now we have enrolled more then 130 schools.
Together there are about 10 000 people playing kin-ball regularly, while in March there was virtually
no one in Czechia playing kin-ball. And the number of schools coming into the program has been
growing bigger each day. Students are invariably thrilled by the game and when that happens, and a
school refuses to buy the ball, students organize collections to raise money.
Why is it that kin-ball has such a strong appeal to youth? There is one reason. Kin-ball is different
from all of the other collective sports. Here in Czechia we use slogan, "The first collective sport of the 21st Century"

The differences, or rather the advantages, are:
The game is open and accessible to anyone. You may be small or tall, you may be a boy or a girl, you
may have a great athletic talent and you may not, you may be sitting on a wheel chair, and still you
can play the same kin-ball, without any changes in the rules. No one can be strategically ruled out by his team mates (as it may happen in volleyball, floor ball, football etc., where you may not be easily allowed to touch the ball) And, what may be even more important, this game does not involve physical contact, so it is not aggressive.

Today's society badly needs such a game. The poor state of the health of our youth, always sitting in
front of computers, not willing to move, is not only an economical threat (How long will we be able to
sustain the health care system?) but it is a problem of values. When I visit the schools and talk to teachers of physical education I hear their complaints about the poor state of the health of their school's youth. As a manager of a sport company I also often talk to presidents of sport federations, players, coaches and managers of various sports. Recently, I was told by a manager of our national junior handball team, that to become a successful handball player today, you have to be at least 190 cm tall and you must weigh some 100 kilograms.

And this trend is apparent in most collective sports. How many types of people then can play handball, basketball or ice hockey? What is the percentage of people willing and capable of playing such highly specialized games? You need both, special physical and psychological constitution, because in most sport games you must virtually fight your opponent. If you see the sport as substitution for war, then it makes sense. However if you see the sport as a cultivation of your body and your mind, then you cannot accept most of today's collective sports.

Today I see kin-ball as the only chance for most people in sports. A chance for people who dislike
collective sports, a chance for women and men to play together, a chance for parents to play with their children. That also means a chance for a large majority of the population, which now stays out of
collective sports. We need to eliminate separation, organize mixed tournaments with teams of boys and girls playing together and bring this game to handicapped people to integrate them into standard school physical education.

I understand that as a young sport, we want to play as soon as possible in the European Cups and
World Cups and that we want to become one of the Olympic sports. That is natural and important,
however, what is more important at the moment is to introduce kin-ball to more people. Nevertheless, there is always a danger that aggressive rules will make its way to any sport, originally quite harmless. Many people are quite ready to explain that modern sports have to be aggressive and dynamic.
That, I suppose is the reason why so called "close defence" was allowed into kin-ball. By letting close defence into the game, kin-ball allowed purposely hitting the other team players with the ball, decreasing the amount of running, and it started the trend of advantage given by physical constitution. Any player of this year's World Champion (team of Canada) would easily be accepted to
our Czech handball team, based on qualification mentioned above.

I went to the World Cup in Nantes last month, and the first game I saw was the men semi-final among
Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada. I had to admire the machine-like performance of the Canadian
team. It was top-level kin-ball, the best I have ever seen. Nevertheless, I did not like the play. It was played in such a way, with a stress on physical strength and direct contact during the serve, that kin-ball looked like one standard sport among many other older and already widespread sports.
There is no doubt that in such kin-ball, women cannot play together with men. Instead of combining
various talents, we started specialization, and separation resulted. Then I saw the final match, and that was a totally different play. Here I must admire the Japanese team. They withstood the temptation of using new kin-ball techniques, the worst being close defence. Even though it was clear to them that by doing this, they play with a handicap and their chance of becoming World Champions really substantially decreased. They were deliberately giving the odds to the same level opponents for the sake of playing pure kin-ball, and their play was a combination of sports and arts. Sometimes they looked like athletes, sometimes like ballet dancers. They were playing a different game and they lost to Canada. It is beyond my understanding that by playing in accordance with the old rules they lost at the last minute and by a single point. In any case, I have to express my deep admiration for Japan's performance: I am a fan of Japan's team and their play.

I heard that "close defence" was allowed into Kin-ball because the serve gave a big advantage to the
offensive team. That may be true, but in that case you may use different tools to balance offence and
defence. If we want, we can make the ball to fly a longer distance, we can make the area smaller.
I am not a teacher of physical education and there may by other ways as well. Kin-ball is rich by
enthusiasts as well as by experts. The Canadian Federation supplies us with all the necessary teaching
materials. There is a great kin-ball teacher Pierre Julien Hamel, who has done wonderful work,
providing us with various educational resources. With everyone's help we can do a lot of things to
make the change, while still following the game's main idea. 

I believe there are certain basic principles you cannot remove, because if you do, kin-ball will not be
distinguishable from other sports. That means there would be no reason for a new collective sport.
Today it is not too late to get back on the right track. The future of kin-ball depends on us. I believe
that the kin-ball has the potential to become the number one sport at schools. Then other steps, like
regular competitions, increasing kin-ball awareness in society, and even participating in Olympic
games will follow naturally.

Let us stick to values kept by Japan's teams, values planted into this game by its originator Mr. Mario
Demers. I have discussed this statement with him and our views are in full harmony.
Let us start to work on a common strategy of how to promote kin-ball all around the word, but before
that, let us return to the kin-ball roots.
I am ready to work on these ideas together with other kin-ball enthusiasts and I am really looking
forward to our future cooperation.

With kind regards,
Martin Paur
President of the Czech Kin-ball Federation

Hradec Králové 19. November 2011

PS
That is what I wrote after the World Cup in France. Later on I discussed this issue with Pierre Julien
Hamel. Following this consultation I propose this:
Let us start (or restart) mixed competiton. So far in Czechia we have played only mixed competitions
and tournaments, and I would like to expand exactly this kind of kin-ball. The possibility to play
mixed competitions has given us great advantage over any other collective sport, let us stick to this
and we can do wonders.

I understand that there are two classes of kin-ball, one for women and one for men. However we have
to remember the third category. For me the most important kind of kin-ball is mixed - COED category. It goes without saying that this category cannot go astray, we can not give advantage to 190 cm and 90 kg boys. For that reason close defence is not allowed and all er possible amendments, which would
lead us towards specialization will be banned as well.

Czech Kin-ball Federation, Vážní 400, Hradec Králové 503 41, Czechia
www.kin-ball.cz / tel: +420 495 2115 115 / fax +420 495 220 618 / e-mail: info@kin-ball.cz

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