Calcio Fiorentino – The Ultimate Manly Sport

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Imagine a sport that’s a mix between soccer and rugby, with absolutely no rules whatsoever. Man, that’s got to be brutal! And that’s exactly what Calcio Fiorentino is. It’s the ultimate sport to prove your strength, power and courage.

The game originated in Italy during the 16th century in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence. The words Calcio Fiorentino can be loosely translated as the Florence Kick. True to its name, the game was devised by four of Florence’s most prominent noble families. Their intention was simple, to be able to show off their physical prowess to their enemies. In those days, spectators of the game were limited only to the ruling class.

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Blind Tennis – Yet Another Amazing Sport from Japan

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The Japanese really do seem to invent a lot of sports, especially for the disabled. Not long ago, we told you about Doglegs, a wrestling sport for the handicapped. Now, we’re going to introduce you to Blind Tennis, which is of course, tennis played by the blind.

The creation of the sport is largely credited to Miyoshi Takei, who in spite of his blindness, started to play tennis as a kid with the encouragement of his high school teacher. His only aim at the time was to hit a ball that was flying through the air as hard as he could, even though he couldn’t see it. After several trials, he finally invented a special kind of tennis ball that is spongy and light in weight. The ball rattles, so that blind players can track its movement with their ears. Miyoshi’s endeavors met with success and the first national blind tennis championships were held in Japan in the year 1990. Today, hundreds of Japanese players take part every year and a few from other countries too, such as China, Korea, Taiwan, Britain and the United States.

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Bamboo Drift Racing – A Combination of Speed and Balance

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I couldn’t stand still on a cane of bamboo even if it was on land. To think that there are people who can balance themselves on a bamboo pole floating in water! It’s probably the world’s thinnest boat.

Bamboo Drift Racing is actually a sport in Southwest China’s Guizhou province. Competitors stand on a bamboo pole and paddle using a thin stick of bamboo. Considered an exotic minority sport in China, the rules have changed over the years. In fact, although the tradition is to use bamboo, competitors now use a similar-looking strip made from green fiberglass. This offers better buoyancy and makes the boat more durable . The fiberglass sticks also help increase speed, and can be taken apart with ease later on. Still wondering how in the world it’s possible to row while standing on a stick? The trick, apparently, lies in the waist. All the balancing is done by controlling the bamboo using your waistline.

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Ferret Legging – A Truly Bizarre Animal Sport

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Most people couldn’t stand something as small as a cockroach up their trousers. And then there are the brave ferret leggers who endure not one, but two fully grown adult ferrets trapped in their pants. The weird sport, called Ferret Legging, is a test of endurance or just the ability to “have your tool bitten and not care”.

Also known as ferret-down-trousers and put ‘em down, the rules of the sport are pretty tight. Competitors have two ferrets placed inside their trousers, which are tied firmly at the ankles and belted up at the waist, thereby eliminating any point of escape for the furry creatures. The competitor then stands before judges, enduring the misery of the razor-sharp claws and teeth of the ferrets. Other rules state that competitors cannot be drunk and the ferrets must not be sedated. Also, the ferrets must have a full set of teeth that have not been blunted or filed. The man who stands the longest, wins.

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Groin Ball – Fun to Watch, Painful to Play

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Groin Ball is a crazy game that supposedly originated in Japan, is played by men, and obviously involves the hitting of testicles.

Curious to know how the game is played? Well, we’ll tell you. Two teams involved in a game of Groin Ball each consist of two players – a ball thrower and a target player. The target players of each team face each other, holding on to the other’s shoulders. Their feet need to be shoulder-width apart, all through the game. A supply of tennis balls is provided to each of the throwers, who have to hurl them between the legs of the target players, aiming of course, at the groin. The balls hit the ground and then bounce up to smash into the groin of the opposing target player.

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Doglegs – Japanese Pro-Wrestling for the Disabled

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Physical disabilities have never stopped the resilient from pursuing their passion for sports. And wrestlers are not to be left behind. The Doglegs wrestling group founded in Japan gives the disabled an opportunity to fight, although it has been called a ‘freak show’ by some critics.

Unlike other sports for the disabled, Doglegs seems more oriented towards the entertainment value provided to audiences, rather than an actual skill or sportsmanship. Co-founder Yukinori Kitajima says that anyone can become a wrestler, provided they interest the spectators. For this, a special individuality is required out of each of them. ET, for instance, one of the popular wrestlers of the group, makes a scary face, which is his special attack. He suffers from cerebral palsy. The names adopted by the members of Doglegs are just as entertaining as their antics. Hard Rock, No Sympathy and Welfare Power are just a few of the wrestler’s names. No Sympathy, perhaps being the most apt of them all, since the fights are brutally real. It’s quite common that the wrestlers suffer injuries, spilling blood, splitting their eye, and more.

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Bossaball – Volleyball Meets Football on a Trampoline

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There is no dearth of bizarre sports in this world, new ones are probably being invented everyday. One of the latest additions to the series is Bossaball. Sounds like baseball? Well, it’s nothing like that. Bossaball is in fact, a cross between volleyball, football and Brazilian capoeira, and it’s played on a trampoline.

Bossaball is a sport fast gaining popularity on the beaches of Andalusia. The concept of the game was first developed between 2002 and 2004, by Filip Eyckmans, a Belgian living in Andalusia. It was first introduced in Belgium and then Netherlands, before it was brought to Spain. Bossaball consists of two teams of three to five people, who toss the ball across a net, similar to volleyball. However, the players are all on trampolines. This lets them jump at least 12 ft into the air, allowing them better access to spike the ball. The ball can be touched with any part of the body. You can even double-touch a ball with your hands or your head. Only one player of a team is allowed on the trampoline at once. The others play on the ground.

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Hockern – Germany Reinvents Sitting as an Extreme Sport

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Hockern is a game from Germany that can be classified under bizarre sports. Bizarre, because it involves a lot of things at once – sitting, dancing, spinning, and it’s hard to tell what it is exactly.

A typical Hockern player would do something like this: sit on a specially designed stool called the Sporthocker, twirl it in the air, do a handstand, and then swiftly sit on it once again. The game was introduced three years ago by a couple of young German entrepreneurs who head the company Salzig Sporthocker. Of course, there are rules to this seemingly haphazard sport. No move is actually considered a move, unless it ends with the player sitting down on the stool. So basically, its a lot of gymnastics at the end of which the gymnast sits down. Some of the common moves from players include spinning the stool on the floor and then balancing on it, tossing it in the air and quickly sitting on it where ever it lands, or simply having a friend slide the stool over to you across the floor and sitting on it as soon as it reaches you.

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Yukigassen – Competitive Snowball Fighting from Japan

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If you grew up in a place where it snowed, you probably would have mastered the art of throwing snowballs. Bet no one thought much of your talent back then. Too bad you never heard of Yukigassen, a snowball fighting competition that is held in Japan every year, and now in other parts of the world as well.

Yukigassen, literally meaning “snow battle”, originated around 20 years ago as a marketing scheme. The Mount Showa-Shinzan resort wanted to attract more tourists in the winter, so they devised this game, which certainly sounds like it could be a lot of fun. It is being described as a combination of chess, paintball and backyard brawling. The objective of the game is pretty simple. Players of the opposing team need to be knocked out with snowballs. But of course, there are more technicalities involved. For instance, the field on which Yukigassen is played is a 44 X 12 yard rectangle divided by red and blue lines, similar to the layout of a hockey rink. Three periods, three minutes in duration each, constitute the match. The team that wins two out of three is ultimately the winner of the match. A period could either be won by having more standing players than the team at the opposite end, or by capturing the other team’s flag without getting hit by their snowballs.

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No Snow? No Problem, We’ll Just Ski on Rocks

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Although it’s December and the skiing season is officially open, there is no sign of snow in the Tyrol region of Austria. But that’s no reason not to ski, at least not for those brave enough to practice the winter sport on a rock-covered slope.

45 kilometers west of Innsbruck, near the picturesque village of Haiming, skiers have found the perfect place to test out their skiing equipment, even though there’s not one white patch of snow in sight. The brave daredevils climb a rock-covered slope on foot and descend on their skis, leaving a cloud of dust behind them. The rocks aren’t as smooth as snow, and they obviously do a lot of damage to their equipment, but the avid skiers don’t seem to mind, as long as they get to practice their favorite sport. Falling of your skies during a descent on the rocky slope of Haiming isn’t what you’d call a pleasurable experience, that’s why only experienced skiers are advised to try their luck here.

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In Indonesia Football Is Played with a Ball of Fire

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Sepak Bola Api, or The Fireball Game, is a unique game Indonesians play to welcome the month of Ramadan. It’s a lot like football only they have to kick a flaming fireball.

It seems regular football is pretty boring. At least that’s the feeling I get after discovering similar games like Footdoubleball, Cycle Ball or Burton-on-the-Water. The latest addition to the list of games that makes football look easy is an Indonesian tradition that had people kick a flaming football in celebration of Ramadan. It’s called Sepak Bola Api and is usually celebrated in the Yogyakarta, Bogor, Tasikmalaya, and Papua regions of the Southeastern Asia archipelago. Just like in the regular game of football, two teams of 11 eleven players kick a ball and try to shoot it in the opposing goal. But that’s easier said than done when playing barefoot and kicking a flaming ball.

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You Think Football Is Too Easy? Try Footdoubleball

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Invented by a group of Ukrainian students who apparently thought regular football wasn’t exciting enough, footdoubleball is a wacky sport played with two balls of different color, at the same time.

Footdoubleball isn’t exactly new, since it was first played in 2007, but it’s definitely new to many people in western European countries, and especially North America, where regular football (soccer) isn’t as popular as in other parts of the world. Most of the rules that apply in a game of football are also obeyed in footdoubleball, but there are certain alterations and additions supposed to make the game “more dynamic and dramatic”. The most notable difference between the two sports is that footdoubleball is played with two balls (of different color) at the same time. At the start of the match each team is awarded one of the balls, and goalkeepers have to kick off the game from the corners of the keeper’s area. That’s when it starts getting really confusing. Each team tries to attack with one ball and defend its goal from the other team at the same time. If one team manages to steal the ball from the other team it can attack with both, and goalkeepers often find themselves in situations where they have to parry two strikes at the same time.

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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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Chessboxing – The Thinking Person’s Contact Sport

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Chessboxing is a very unique sport that consists of alternating rounds of boxing and chess, allowing players to win either by knockout or check mate.

You probably think it’s a joke, but those who actually practice chessboxing take it very seriously. In order to be a world class chess-boxer, one must have extensive boxing experience and be at least a Class A strength chess player. The basic idea in chessboxing is to combine the top combat sport with the number one thinking sport into a hybrid that requires competitors to give it their best both physically and mentally.

The history of chessboxing can be traced back to 1992, when French cartoonist Enki Bilal created The Nikopol Trilogy, a comic book that depicted a futuristic world where men boxed on a chessboard floor. The concept inspired Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh to create chessboxing and organize the first world championship, in 2003. Since then, the sport he been constantly gaining popularity and new members from all walks of life join every year.

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New York Hosts First Pillow Fight World Cup

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Most people think of pillow fighting as a fun childhood game or some scantly clad women putting on a show, but for the women participating in the Pillow Fight World Cup it’s a real sporting competition.

Eight women armed with fluffy pillows and dressed like athletes could be seen stepping into the ring during this first edition of the Pillow Fight World Cup, which took place on May 17, at The Warsaw Polish National Home, in Brooklyn, NY. Competitors were all girls and came from countries like Austria, Japan, Sweden and of course, the USA. “It’s less brutal than boxing, but you still need technique,” said Maylin Kretzschmar, 26, one of the three Austrians engaged in the tournament. “It’s a fun sport. I don’t want to punch someone in the face, but you can still get rid of your aggression.” The Austrians were the most experienced competitors seeing they have a pillow fighting league back home, and train constantly.

The man behind the Pillow Fight World Cup is Andrew Thompson, creator of Punk Rock Pillow Fight, a sporadic event where pillow-fighting men and women wack each other senseless with pillows. He was approached by the Austrians about a serious all-girl World Cup tournament, and he was happy to organize it. Everyone involved sees this event as an opportunity to raise the profile of a so-called sport most people probably haven’t played since childhood.

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