Well, this week in Weird-Ass Sports we have a real gem for you. Throughout history, many forms of combat have transitioned into sports. The Greeks began scoring wrestling which is still continued in the Olympics today (except without the whole naked thing). Thanks to the Japanese holding karate tournaments, now every little kid comes home from Karate camp and can’t wait to demonstrate their ball-punch to their father. Brazil = jujitsu = UFC. America jumps into the mix with their contribution of arm wrestling thanks in part to Sylvester Stallone’s masterful portrayal of Lincoln Hawk in 1987′s Over The Top. However, what about the Brits? Since bar fighting and football club brawls are not officially scored, and Boxing was originally introduced by the Roman Empire, it looks like England’s official combat sport is Purring, also known as Shin-kicking. Pause and let that sink in. Yes, shin-kicking is an actual sport played in England and it even has rules, a championship, and a reigning champion: Kieron Lee.
A brief history: According to Wikipedia, otherwise known as God of the Internet, it originated in England in the early 17th century and was one of the most popular events at the Cotsworld Olimpick Games. When the Games ended at the turn of the century, the only people that kept this sport alive were Cornish miners who played it as a pastime. Nothing says entertainment like a lunch break in the mine with a front row seat to your co-workers in a shin-kicking contest. Thanks to these men and their commitment to rectifying boredom, in the 1950′s the Cotsworld Olimpick Games were revived and shin-kicking is once again a fan favorite.
How its played: This is a one-on-one match up to the best of 3 rounds. The two contestants clench onto each other’s shoulders and then try to kick each others shins until someone falls to the ground. Their hands must remain on each other’s shoulders at all times, all kicks must be below the knee, and at least one kick must be landed before a contestant falls to the ground for any points to be awarded. They wear what appear to be white lab coats, long pants, and socks stuffed full of straw to cushion the impact. However, the Cornish miners didn’t mess around with any of that pansy straw stuff. No, they played wearing steel toed boots and beat their shins with hammers to build up their pain tolerance. I would venture to say that the life expectancy for a Cornish miner in the 1800s was not very long.
Heading up the current movement is the SKAB (Shin Kicking Association of Britain) who is actively petitioning for shin-kicking to be accepted into the Olympics. Now, I really have seen it all. One of their arguments, that I actually tend to agree with, is “It beats competitive walking, synchronized swimming, ‘DanceSport’ and any number of namby-pamby pastimes already recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).” They also make another valid point with “The sport has never been tarnished by bribery scandals (though bung-hungry IOC officials could probably wrangle a free drink at a local pub).” You know, at the end of the day I think I could actually get into this “sport.” In fact, I think I would become sort of a shin-kicking hooligan. After watching this video you might just find yourself at your next family gathering immersed in a shin-kicking match with your in-laws.
Got the boots. Now I just need to find my hammer,