Japanese Botaoshi – Arguably the Craziest Sport Ever

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Botaoshi is a wacky Japanese sport played by cadets at Japan’s Military Defense Academy, where opposing teams literally fight each other over a wooden pole.

Now I’ve seen my share of bizarre sports and games since I started Oddity Central, but Botaoshi (poll-pull-down) definitely takes the cake, and guess what, it’s Japanese. The game, which involves two teams of 75 members each and a wooden pole, is pretty straight forward. Members of a team gather around and on the wooden poll and try to defend it against the attacking team, which tries to take it down by any means necessary. And I do mean ANY means…Players push, punch, kick and grab their opponents as they try to fulfill their mission.

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The Mysterious Magus of Java and His Amazing Power of Chi

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John Chang, also known as the Magus of Java or the Electric Eel man is a mysterious Indonesian healer who reportely possesses an incredible power called nei kung.

Mr. Chang was first presented to the world in an award-winning documentary called The Ring of Fire, by brothers Lawrence and Lorne Blair. He requested his identity be protected and he was referred to as Dynamo Jack, in relation to the amazing current of energy he was able to produce with his body. In this documentary he showed the world how he uses Chi to heal his patients, sending electric impulses through their bodies and even treating Lorne for his eye infection. All he needed to do was touch certain areas of a person’s body and electricity just passed through them causing uncontrollable twitches. His power was so strong he needed an assistant to hold the patient’s body and ground them.

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Forcadas – The Brave Bullfighting Women of Mexico and Portugal

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It takes a lot of guts to get in the ring with an enraged bull, even when carrying a sharp sword, but the forcadas (women bullfighters) are brave enough to take the bull head-on without any kind of protection or weaponry.

During the early days of bullfighting, the bullring had a staircase leading to the royal cabin, and a group of men called forcados was employed to make sure the bull didn’t go up the stairs. They used a long pole with a steel half-moon at the top, called a “forcado” (fork) to fight the bull, and that’s how they got their name. But nowadays they only use a symbolic forcado during opening ceremonies and historical demonstrations, as their main role in modern bullfighting is the “pega de caras” (face catch). The pega essentially involves challenging the bull with their bare hands and trying to win by immobilizing it.

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Savika – Wrestling Angry Bulls in Madagascar

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Savika is a rodeo-like sport practiced by men of the Betsileo ethnic group in Madagascar. It’s considered a rite of passage, and any man who dares dance with the angry zebus is considered a hero of the community.

No one remembers exactly when savika was invented, but everyone agrees it has been practiced by Betsileo men for centuries. The traditional sport is enjoyed by all members of the community, be they men or women, young or old, rich or poor, and is considered a unifying factor that brings everyone together. Savika is also a rite of passage for young boys who want to prove their manhood, and one of the best forms of courtship for single men. Apparently nothing impresses Betsileo women more than seeing their men dance with a zebu – a kind of domesticated cattle with long horns and a distinctive hump.

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Latvia’s Wacky Milk Carton Boat Race

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Every year, at the end of August, Latvians celebrate Milk, Bread and Honey Festival with a special race between boats made from thousands of empty milk cartons.

The milk carton boat regatta has become a very popular tradition since it first took place nine years ago. The wacky event always take place on the Lielupe River, in the Latvian town of Jelgava, and means to offer local audience a good time and popularize a healthy lifestyle through the consumption of organic dairy foods made in Latvia. Teams of locals eager of a good time, as well as some representing dairy processors and food producers enter the competition every year and fight for various titles, including the fastest boat, funniest crew and most original boat.

This year a record number of participants registered milk carton boat race – 36 teams showed up on the Lielupe River, on August 27, to prove their seafaring skills. There were only a few rules teams had to obey for this event: boats had to be made excursively of empty milk cartons and had to be guided to the finish line by human power alone. The size of the boat and number of rowers was not limited, provided the carton vessel remained afloat. The course was only 50 meters long, the shortest so far, but teams struggled to finish as they had to paddle against a strong wind. Some team members even jumped into the river to push their boats across the finish.

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Snapperfest – Yet Another Another Animal Cruelty Fest

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Snapperfest is an obscure Indiana festival where participants have to yank a snapping turtle’s head out of its shell until they can wrap their hands around its neck.

It has been taking place in Ohio County, Indiana, for over a decade, despite PETA’s numerous attempts to shut it down, and sadly, it was organized this year as well, on August 20th. As always a big crowd gathered at Campshore Campgrounds to see the “brave” competitors tormenting a bunch of frightened snapping turtles. Now that right there sounds like a great way to spend your weekend.

Every Snapperfest contestant has to run up to a tank full of snapping turtles, grab one by its tail, slam it onto a piece of tarp and yank its head out of the shell. Apparently, each participant has his own techniques to get the wild-caught turtles to reveal their heads, but most popular are the repeated slamming against the ground, and pounding on the shell. While the crowd cheers them on, they grab the snapper turtle’s head and yank it out enough to wrap their hands around its neck. The one who manages to yank the turtle’s head fastest, wins.

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Brazilian Doctor Uses HIV-Infected Needles to Keep Burglars Out

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Some people use guard dogs, other opt for an alarm or surveillance system to keep burglars away, but a certain Brazilian doctor went for something a lot more extreme – needles infected with HIV.

The female orthopedist from the city of Sobradinho was fed up with burglars jumping over her fence and stealing her belongings. They had already stolen her lawnmower, hair dryer and photo camera when she decided to put an end to the trespassing by taping dozens of HIV-infected syringes atop her metal fence and hanging a sign saying “ Wall with HIV positive blood. No trespassing.”

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Bridesmaid Attends Wedding via iPad

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Although she “called dibs on being a bridesmaid” at her friends wedding, Renee Armstrong couldn’t actually be there in person to fulfill her promise, but thanks to modern technology she did it via iPad.

Jonathan Alberico and Jamie Wilborn looked beautiful on their wedding day, but something else attracted the attention of the guests throughout the whole ceremony. One of the groomsmen walked down the aisle and stood by the altar carrying an iPad with Renee’s face on the screen. Because she couldn’t physically attend her friend’s wedding, 1,600 miles away, she attended the ceremony, chatted with guests and posed for photos via Apple’s popular tablet.

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Shinji Saito Wins 2011 World Yo-Yo Championship

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Shinji Saito, the most competitive yo-yo player in the history of yo-yo competition put on quite a performance at the 2011 World Yo-Yo Championship, winning his 11th title.

At just 24 Shinji Saito is the most acclaimed yo-yo master in history, winning most of the contests he’s ever entered. He was a 2A yo-yo champion by the age of 13 and since 2002, he only came in second place once, in 2008, but reclaimed the top spot the following year, and hasn’t lost it since. At this year’s World Yo-Yo Championship, Shinji Saito showed everyone why he’s the best at what he does, putting on a memorable performance that make tricks like “walk the dog” look like child’s play.

For his 11th World Yo-Yo Champion title, Shinji won a $300 cash prize and the priceless reputation that comes with the territory.

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Artist Draws Portrait with His Own Hair

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Human hair used as a medium has become rather common in the art world, and we’ve featured a few worthy examples on Oddity Central, but this man’s ability to manipulate his curls into a cool portrait is something I’ve never seen before.

Some artists use hair to make unique jewelry, others use it for clothes, but the artist you’re about to see cuts his own curls and uses them to draw a pretty good portrait of a woman. He starts out by giving himself a sloppy haircut with some scissors, than takes the hair and carefully shapes it into a portrait using only his hands and what appears to be a pencil, for the fine details. His work is somewhat similar to that of sand manipulating artists like Ksenyia Simonova so I’ve posted a video of one of her amazing performances, as well.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out who the hair drawing artist yet, let me know if you know anything about hm or his hairy art.

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Tennessee Musician Creates 27-String Guitar

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Keith Medley has been a master guitar builder for most of his adult life, and while he has created custom instruments for many famous musicians, his most impressive guitar is the one he made for himself.

If you’re missing a guitarist or two for your band, stop worrying, because the 27-string guitar Keith Medley invented has the power to make them obsolete. The only trick is learning how to play it. That’s in fact the biggest problem, White House-based Medley had to overcome, as well. “Building this guitar turned out to be the easy part,” Keith explains on his site. “The hard part has been learning to play it. Through two years of bittersweet struggle between myself and these 27 strings, I determined it would not defeat me but would play the music I heard in my heart.”

But why would anyone need a 27-string guitar, when most guitarist seem to do very well with just 12, or even 6? Keith says the music he hears in his head is more than can be played on six strings, so after many sketches and nights of contemplation, he came up with this unique 27-string instrument. He claims it’s like playing three instruments at the same time, but that apparently isn’t good enough since he’s now working on a guitar with 34 strings.

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Indonesia’s Laughing Cock Craze Is No Laughing Matter

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Roosters being sold for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars might sound like a joke to you, but in many parts of Indonesia it’s very serious business.

They look like ordinary cocks, but it’s only when they start crowing that people realize just how special they really are. Instead of the normal “cock-a-doodle-do”, these birds make a sound similar to human laughter, which earned them the name “laughing cocks“. Trained and raised to make this special sounds, laughing cocks are source of pride for their owners, who feed them only the best foods, and pamper them with large, ornate cages. This breed of chicken originated in South Sulawesi, where it was known as ayam raja (king chicken), because only Burgis kings were allowed to breed them.

Nowadays, anyone who can afford is allowed to breed laughing cocks, and while they are very valuable, they’re also extremely sensitive. They have to be fed properly and their big cages have to be cleaned twice a day, because these birds tend to become ill very easily. But the high maintenance cost is easily covered by the profit of selling laughing cocks or winning regional laughing contests. A day old chick sells for Rp 100,000 ($12), while a 3-month old bird goes for Rp 300,000 ($36) to Rp 500,000 ($59). But it’s the mature laughing roosters that bring the most profit, as the price of a 9-month bird ranges between Rp 3 million ($354) and Rp 5 million ($590).

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Iowa Welder Hopes to Break Record for World’s Largest Bicycle

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Lewis, a small town in Iowa, US, may soon be acknowledged as home to the world’s largest bicycle. A local welder took the task of building a giant bike after hearing the annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa was passing through his town.

Duane Weirich is either one of the biggest cycling fans on the planet or a simply a welder with too much free time on his hands. After learning the Great Bike Ride across Iowa was going to pass through his home town, he decided to honor the even by making a giant bicycle. Although he’s not exactly sure if it qualifies for a new world record, his 32-feet-long, 18-feet-high bike has so far attracted the attention of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Even though the verdict on whether this is the world’s largest bicycle isn’t out yet, cyclists engaged in the cross state bike race haven’t missed the opportunity to have their picture taken with Weirich’s creation. Pleased with the public’s reaction to his efforts, the welder said he plans to complete the bike by actually making it rideable. You’re going to need some longer legs, though.

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Sepak Takraw – A Combination of Football, Volleyball and Kung-Fu

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Invented around 500 years ago, in Malaysia, Sepak Takraw remains one of the most spectacular sports in the world. It combines elements from football, volleyball and martial arts, and is real fun to watch.

It is believed Sepak Trakaw is based on the Chinese game of “Cuju” (kick-ball), after it was introduced to Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, by early traders. By the early 1400s, the game had already become very popular and was played mainly by men and boys standing in a circle and kicking the ball back and forth. Earliest historical mentions date back to the 15th century, when, according to an important historical document, it was very popular at the court of the Malacca Sultanate. In Bangkok, murals at the Wat Phra Kaeo show Hanuman, the monkey king, playing Sepak Trakaw with a group of monkeys.

Sepak Takraw is played on a court similar to that of badminton, between two teams made up of three players, each. The ball used is bigger than a tennis ball, but smaller than a volleyball, and weighs between 170 and 180 grams. The goal of the game is to send the ball into the opponents’ half so that it touches the floor, while using only your legs and head. It’s kind of like volleyball, only no hands are allowed. A game of Sepak Takraw consists of two sets, each played until one team reaches 21 points (unless the other team has 20 points, in which case a two-point difference is required, to win). If each team wins a set, a tie-break round is played, until one team has 14 points.

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The Video Coat – A Wearable LED TV

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Inventor David Forbes is the proud owner of the world’s first video coat, a gadget/clothing item that allows him to display videos right on his body. Although it’s not exactly a technological breakthrough, the Video Coat scores points for geekiness and originality.

Created for the Burning Man, this wearable LED display is powered by a 12V battery and works by being plugged into an iPod or DVD player. With a resolution of 160×120, it doesn’t offer the clarity of a high definition television, but then again, you can’t really wear an HD TV either, so that makes them even. The coat was built on flex boards and expands on the back and sleeves offering a total body video experience.

The Video Coat is driven by circuit boards located on the wearer’s shoulders and hips and even comes with switches that allow you to tweak the colors. In the presentation video he made, David chose to play The Simpson on his wearable TV, because he thinks “its is the pinnacle of modern television entertainment”.

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