Do you like American Football but wish kicking was allowed in the game? Are you a martial arts student who wishes classes weren’t so darn boring? If this is you, comBATON will be your favorite sport.
ComBATON was invented back in 1998, by Steve Blanton, but the first practice game didn’t take place until November 2004. You see, although Blanton had a vision, he needed someone to develop the game into a playable version, and that person was David Turnbull, president of the Florida A.A.U. Tae Kwon Do Association. He had more than a few black belt students more than willing to play in a game of comBATON, and when he saw how naturally they acted as a team, on the field, he knew he had struck gold.
The word comBATON is derived from combat and baton, and“the object of the game is for the offense to move the baton down field and score on their opponent’s goal pole. The defense must stop the offense and end the attack by kicking the baton carrier.” The goals are more like poles from which the opponent’s baton hangs, and a member of the attacking team carrying their baton has to kick the opponent’s baton to score. Sounds a little confusing with all these batons lying around, but martial arts enthusiasts seem to love it.
Teams are made up of three players wearing Tae Kwon Do style equipment underneath a football jersey, and a football helmet. They play on a football field a little larger than an Arena Football League field, and each has three attacks to score points. Speaking of scoring, the system is: 3 points for a standing kick, 4 points for a jumping kick and 5 points for a 360 degree spinning kick. Both the offensive and defensive teams may use kicking to help them score or defend the goal, but there are a few rules:
- Kicking is allowed above the hip, but not to the spine or back of the head
- Punching is allowed to anywhere on the torso, but not the head
- No grappling
- You can push as long as you followup with a kick
- No elbow strikes, but no rules on knee strikes
There’s certainly a lot of kicking, and it gets worse if the two teams posses the baton at the same time. Two players, one from each team, go into a circle and have a “fight off” for the baton. I guess Tae Kwon Do rules apply here.
It all sounds pretty athletic and fun for martial arts and football fan, but I wonder what would happen if three skilled MMA fighters decided to form their own comBATON team? I bet that would spice things up even more.