Kama játék – Pouch Ball of Miskolc

Kama – The Pouch Ball of Miskolc


What is Kama?

A team sport. A ball game. Recreation. A slice of the local cultural heritage. An exciting topic for historical research.

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There is a game in Hungary unknown to anyone else in the world. If Kama ever becomes known across the globe, everyone will be aware that its local and cultural origins are in Miskolc.

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They mostly call it Kama while others remember their special childhood ball throwing game as Koma.

Kama used to be popular among local kids from the 1950s to the ’90s in schoolyards and community game fields.

The game, which was played by two teams of five to ten people with small balls and two handball goals, originates from the Vasgyár district of Miskolc. It is believed to have been invented in School 17 for Boys, this is probably where it was developed by the adaptation and transformation of various traditional rural games. Whether it was a spontaneous product of the children’s creative instinct and developed similar to folk songs or there was an agile PE teacher who actually designed the game, is still a question for the local historians as their research has not revealed the answer to this.

Although not many people play it anymore, Kama is not a forgotten piece of memory. Its revival is happening in our present days as the ones who still play it are working on making it an officially registered sport and a widely popular game again. They organise championships in elementary and secondary schools, popularize it in festivals, flash-mobs and sport shows mainly among the teens. Kama was included in the Culture Heritage Database of Miskolc in 2016.

Game rules:

The game is played with a Kama ball on a field as big as a handball or a basketball court where the two teams of five to ten players defend their own goal and try to get the ball in the opponent’s goal. A special moment of the game is the kama or the kama-catch when a player manages to catch the ball in the air before it touches the ground and wins the right to own the ball.

The teams take turn in pitching the ball. Every team member gets a chance to throw the ball. When the defending team reaches a kama it is their turn to attack. The team who managed to catch the ball in the air will hide the ball: one of the players hides the ball under his/her jersey while the rest of the team members pretend the same, so the other team does not know who actually has the ball.

The attack starts by the team starting towards the opponent’s goal. An attacking player can be stopped by tagging, when the player has to freeze upon being caught. Tagged players can continue playing while maintaining their position: they can accept passes and can attempt to score a goal. The ball stays in game until it touches the ground so some rounds of passes are possible. A goal is when the ball gets behind the goal line. If the defending team manages to catch the ball it counts a kama-point. If there is no goal scored and no kama-point reached the game continues with the team taking turns in throwing the ball at the other’s goal.

If there are a number of teams playing a championship it is worth tracking the results in a way that the kama-points are separately recorded and the kama-point rate is also taken into consideration. The points are calculated in the following way: the team who scored more goals gets 3 points while the other gets 0. In case of draw both teams receive 1 point each. The extra points from the kama-point rate are then added to this result.

If the defending team manages to perform a kama-catch during an attack the game does not stop and they can immediately run up for an attack or can try to score a goal.


Special terms:

Kama ball: relatively small ball of 8-9 Cm in diameter made of leather, synthetic fabric or felt. It is also referred to as a pouch ball.

Kama /kama-catch: If a player catches the ball coming from an opponent player in the air before it touches the ground on their half.

Kama-point rate: The sum of Kama-points reached by the teams. The losing team gets an extra point if they reached more Kama-points and in case of draw the team who reached more Kama-points gets an extra game point.

Starting pitch: Teams always take turns in performing a starting pitch regardless of Kama-catches.

Round turns: Every team member must get the chance for a pitch.

Freezing a player: Attacking players can be stopped by defenders by tagging. When tagged, the player must stop but can continue playing from that very spot. “Frozen” players can accept passes and can attempt to score a goal. If a “frozen” player gets the ball he/she can pass it to another team member or throw it at the goal.

Service area: The area of the game filed occupied by the attacking team.

Receiving area: The area in front of and behind the goal occupied by the players of the defending team, where kama-catches can happen.