Directions Kibasen

Use a game students already know to reinforce their understanding and familiarity with directions.

This lesson is a result of discussion at Job Training 2012. Special thanks to Matt MullinsChris ShirleyMalaya ViloriaDavid Howard, and Rory Harnden.


Kibasen (騎馬戦), is a game popular on sports days at Japanese schools. The game generally has one students sitting atop the shoulders of another three, whilst the first students tries to take hats from the heads of the opposing team. This version doesn’t involve any shoulder-climbing, but adapts the game to a pair activity in which students practice their English.


  • Split into boys and girls groups. Each group is further split into red and white teams.
  • Students are arranged in pairs, one of whom wears a hat for their team.
  • Teams face each other, surrounded by a group of the opposite gender.
  • ALT says ‘Go!’, guides use learned vocabulary, as well as ‘attack!’ and ‘back!’ to navigate blindfolded students, trying to get hats off students from the opposing team.
  • After two minutes, count how many hats were collected by each team.
  • Swap to other gender, and repeat, adding points to the previous group’s.
  • Repeat once more with each group, swapping navigators for navigatees.

This can be a violent game, especially is students are blindfolded but determined to win. Keep this in mind, and feel free to introduce rules to counter any potential injuries.

You may wish to introduce rules such as 'No Japanese', and disqualify students if they don't stick to English.

Lesson Topics
Junior High
A spacious area (oOutside/gym/activity room), red and white hats/head bands, blindfolds (optional but recommended), stopwatch, whistle