Imphal, Oct 20 : Indigenous games and martial art forms are an integral part of Manipur's culture that is well known through out the northeastern region. Some of the oldest art forms are still popular. Among them is Cheibi, an ancient martial art.
Recently, the All Manipur Cheibi Association of Manipur organized the 9th State Level Cheibi Championship 2008 at the Khuman Lampak Main indoor stadium of Imphal.
The championship, which was organized to further popularize and promote the martial art, had about 180 participants from 21 clubs of Manipur.
Cheiba is one of Manipur's ancient martial art forms. Earlier, it used to be practiced with a sword and a shield, which has now been replaced by a stick encased in soft leather and a shield made of leather. The contestants duel and the one who scores the maximum points is declared the winner.
"Cheibi is a game that we look up to in Manipur. There is a lot of discipline involved in the game. It has now been organized at the national level and I believe that once it reaches the international level, Cheibi will take Manipur forward," said Kamalkumar Singh, a Cheibi player of Manipur. Daina Devi, another Cheibi player, said, "Cheibi is an indigenous game that was played by our forefathers. We play it as we like it and playing the game that our forefathers played motivates us. So we are participating in the Cheibi competition."
The popularity of Cheibi got a boost when the All Manipur Cheibi Association was founded in 1998. The association will now be organizing the first national level Cheibi competition in December. The event will witness the participation of contestants from all over the country. Manipuris believe that promoting Cheibi will not only give a boost to the martial art but also help in keeping the legacy of their forefathers alive. By L.C.K.Singh