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.
According to Deuce of Davenport, Botaoshi was invented around 1954-55. At first the attacking team only had to lower the wooden pole at a 45 degree angle, but in 1973 the rules were modified to force teams to lower the pole to 30 degrees. Attacking players only have around two and a half minutes to bring down the pole, or the defending team wins. It’s quite a spectacle to watch these guys pulling and kicking at each other, and even though it looks really chaotic, I guess nothing trains young cadets to stay focused under pressure than being pushed and kicked from all directions…
If you’re into this kind of wacky sporting events then you might want to check out Japanese Neon Lamp Fighting, I bet you’ll find it interesting, at least.