1. Chess Boxing – Denmark
Most people look at athletes has not being overly intellectual, but the Chess Boxing Competition hopes to put an end to the brutal binary that has plagued the world of sports thus far and enter us into a new era of context for competition. Chess Boxing is a measure of both muscle and grey matter strength where contestants attempt to do two things in sequence: engage in a game of chess, and then engage in a boxing match.
This sport is particularly hardcore because if you get beat in both arenas, then you really have nothing to fall back on. There are no excuses, be it from the crowd or from yourself. Only those with a balance of self with thrive in this Ubermench arena.
2. Kabaddi – Pakistan
Kabaddi translated to “catching hands,” and is kind of like a game that you might play on the schoolyard playground, only taken to frenzied professional levels.
Kabaddi is played on a 10×13 meter field, and the rules are simple: cross over into the other team’s half, attempt to tackle one of the players, all while holding your breath. If you breath, step out of bounds, or a part of the raider’s body steps out of bounds, you must leave the field. Remember that one game in gym class where everyone would play a game of tag within the confined of the volleyball court? It’s kind of like that…but with sponsors.
Take a look at this clip to see the game in action. It’s really something you need to see to understand. Fancy yourself a raider? Put yourself to the test: see if you can finish reading this article holding your breath.
England is home to some rather odd traditions. There is no way that toe wrestling isn’t going to be on that list. It’s nothing other than exactly what the name sounds like: wrestling with your toes. Is there an arena? Yes, there is definitely an arena. Is is common courtesy to remove your opponents socks and shoes? Of course it is. Interested yet? Of course you are.
The objective: pin your opponents feet for three seconds while they attempt to do the same to you. In other words, it’s like a thumb war, but with your feet.
Now, you might not think so at first glance, but toe wrestling is actually a sport with some personality, somewhat reminiscent of professional wrestling. Top players include Tom “100m” Martin, Paul “Toeminator” Beech and Alan “Nasty” Nash, who is the current world champion. Did his championship title come as the result of having particularly nasty feet? That is a question that doesn’t need to be asked. Let’s move on.
4. Wife Carrying Competition – Finland
In Finland, the marriage bond between a man and a woman is so tight it’s used in sport. If you think your wife has a tight grip around your personal freedoms, try carrying her upside down through an obstacle course with her legs wrapped around your neck and then report back, solider. The Wife Carrying Competition is, literally, a labor of love.
Here is a sampling of the (much more extensive) rules:
- The track has two dry obstacles and a water obstacle, about one meter deep
- The wife to be carried may be your own, the neighbor’s, or you may have found her further afield; she must, however, be over 17 years of age
- Also the most entertaining couple, the best costume, and the strongest carrier will be awarded a special prize
- All participants must enjoy themselves
The prize? Oh, that depends on your wife’s weight in beer. But really—what else would you expect?
5. Bossaball – Spain
Bossaball is another combination of two great sports into one super sport. If I went ahead and told you that this one involved volleyball, soccer, inflatable bouncy castles, and trampolines, I’m going to get angry if you don’t find that exciting. Never before have so many amazing elements come together in one complete package, and since it’s birth in Spain is has spread to several other “Bossa-friendly” nations, like Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Kuwait, Ecuador, and Saudia Arabia.
Beyond the combination of multiple sports and trampolines, is the essence of the game. “Bossa” is sometimes translated as style, flair, or attitude in Portuguese, and is commonly associated with Bossa Nova, a type of samba influenced by Brazilian music. So, music is an integral part of the show. So much so, that the referee is more than just the arbiter of the rules; he or she is a full-fledged DJ, complete with a mix table and microphone (skills).
In short, with Bossaball, it’s like someone sat down in an attempt to design the most exciting game possible, and succeeded. If you’re not sold, let me just mention again this is a sport with a trampoline in the middle of the playing field, and the referee is a DJ.
Simon is a writer and content specialist who is addicted to being on the front page of anything. A graduate of Dalhousie University, he specializes in using the em dash too often. Currently, Simon rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada. Check out his recent thoughts on gaming and other musings.