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Mesoamerican ballgame


Reviving a 3,000-year-old Ancient Ballgame

Long before basketball and soccer, ancient Mayans were hitting the park to play rounds of Mesoamerican ballgame. Dating back to 3000 B.C., the game was played with a solid rubber ball that could only be hit by a player’s hip. Today, in Hidalgo, Mexico, a group of athletes are determined to bring back the ancient ballgame and honor the traditions of their ancestors.


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Mayan Ball Game

The Mayan Ball Game at XCaret, Mexico

Mayan Ball Game pt. 1

Game of Life . Mayan Ball Game "Pok ta Pok"

Audiovisual of the first ¨Pok Ta Pok¨ World Cup Mayan ball game in Pisté, Yucatan, Mexico in September 2015. Five teams from Belize, Guatemala and Mexico gathered to play this sacred and ceremonial sport.

Mayan ball player José Manrique, who organised this first World Cup of its kind, says he wants to recuperate the spirit of his ancestors and motivate young Mayans to recognise the greatness of their culture.

The sport is more than just a game. Before the match, players evoke the Lords of the four cardinal points: Bacab of the East for protection and health; Bacab of the West for protection; Bacab of the North for enlightenment and strength; Bacab of the South for abundant harvest, female fertility and good health for children and the elderly. Then they invoke the God Hunahpu, the most important Mayan deity, and the 13 supreme Gods for protection and abundance. They ask the Lord of Death, who reins over Xibalba, the underworld, to respect their game and not to intervene on any player´s behalf.

Pok ta Pok is one of the most important rituals from Mesoamerican culture. The sacred ¨Popol Vuh,¨ or ¨Book of the Community¨ written around 1550 by the Mayan Quiche people in today´s Guatemala, describes the game as a representation of Divine Mayan Twins defeating the ¨Ajawab,¨ God of the underworld.

The Mayan ball game was popular across Mesoamerica and is played with one´s hips or arms. Different regions play by different rules. The goal is to shoot the ball through a ring on the wall, which ends the game.

The ball, made from a rubber tree, represents the movements of the sun and other stars, and can weigh
anywhere between half a kilogram and four kilograms.

Pok ta Pok is one of several varieties of the Mesoamerican ballgame, a ceremonial game played since 1,400 B.C. by the pre-Columbian natives from this ancient civilisation. At least 1,500 ball courts have been found in the Mesoamerica, which is today´s southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador y Belice, western Honduras, Nicaragua y Costa Rica.

“Ek Balam”, Yo Creek, Belize
San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Dirección General de Educación Física, Guatemala
“Pucxical Keej”, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México
Chapab de las Flores, Yucatán, México

José de Jesús Manrique Esquivel

José Guadalupe Tecam

Mayan Songs and Prayers
Lorenzo Moisés Díaz Alcocer

Song: Ru q´ojom ya´(Water Music song)
Played by: Ajpop Tijax & Josué Cristal
From Chimaltenango, Guatemala

Prehispanic band, Chapab, Yucatán, México

Yaxchilán, Chiapas, México
Toniná, Chiapas, México
Cobá, Quintana Roo, México
Chapab, Yucatán, México
Ek Balam, Yucatán, México
Chichén Itzá, Pisté, Tinum, Yucatán, México
Grutas Balankanché, Tinum, Yucatán México
Tepetlixpa Seed Bank, México State, México
Museo Nacional de Antropología de México

For more Mayan stories visit this playlist:

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Mayan Ball Game pt. 2

Mayan Ball Game real


Prehispanic game of Mexico. Played by diferents cultures an in diferents times of mexican history. Some historians called this game : the game of dead.

How far can this Aztec football team go?

The Aztecs are favored in all their remaining games this season.

Aztec ball game.wmv

this is a shortened version of the longer one


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Ancient Mayan Game

This is a game Mayans use to play. Not sure if it as a special name or not but you can not use your hands and the objective is to get the ball through the tiny hoop on either side !

Aztec Ball Game

Aztec Ball Game
Spanish 3
ACE Project
Dylan Sanchez

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Traditional Mayan ball game played with balls of fire .

Mexico 2005

Mesoamerikanisches Ballspiel: Kick it mit der Hüfte

Der Ball durfte nicht zu Boden gehen, Handspiel war verboten und die Verlierer wurden hingerichtet: Der legendäre Lieblingssport der Maya und der Azteken wird auch heute noch gespielt - in veränderten Form und ohne den Kampf um Leben und Tod.

Playing the ballgame for class

Attempting to play Ullamaliztli. The Mexica ballgame.

The Mayan Ball Game

Multimedia presentation about the Pok ta Pok, the ancient Mayan Ball Game.

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Part of a series that aired on ESPN



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