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How To Play (Survive?) Bo-Taoshi



Want to take a stab at the most intense (some might say the most ridiculous)  sport in the world? Here’s what you’ll need to know about bo-taoshi before you and 299 of your closest friend try to own your pole.

What you’ll need: 

- 300 people. (Yep, three hundo. Plan on busting out a seriously witty Facebook invite)

- Two large wooden poles approximately 12 feet in height and 8 inches in diameter with spikes at either end.

- An outdoor space in which you can insert two very large wooden poles in the ground and/or severely vandalize  two existing poles that happen to be place equi-distant in an open field.

- Matching uniforms so you can tell who the hell is on your team.

- Protective head gear. (please watch the video above if you’re confused as to why)

The Rules:

- Two teams of 150 fierce competitors vie for “control” of their respective wooden pole that is perpendicular to the ground.

- Two wooden poles are set up at opposite ends of the field.

- Each team is split into two groups of 75 attackers and 75 defenders.

- The two attacking teams start on opposite ends of the field and rush the defenders dutifully protecting their respective poles.

- No shoes, gentlemen.

- Whichever team manages to pull their pole down to at least a 30 degree angle first gets to shout victory.

How to Play:

The defenders start the game amassed around the pole awaiting the onslaught of their competitors while select team members climb the pole in order to defend their territory. One lucky guy camps out near the top of the pole, while several others form a cheerleader-like pyramid around the base.

The attackers assume whatever strategic formation they deem most effective after presumably watching hours of game tape and then at the signal commence their blitzkrieg. Attackers: don’t forget the battle cries.

After a shoeless sprint, the attackers launch themselves on top of the defending team by literally jumping right on top of them in attempt to reach their ultimate prize. This may include but is not limited to: standing on heads, kicking faces, crowd surfing and pulling off uniforms in attempt to climb on top of said enemies.  Some non-soldiers (who somehow know 300 people willing to play) have removed the shirts from the game entirely to avoid the hassle of having their uniforms ripped.

Defensive uniforms, at least in the National Defense of Japan cadet world, where the game originated, frequently include belts in their kits. The faithful warriors will grasp each others belts with a firm grip to create a human wall in attempt to stall the 75 man rush about to pummel them.

The winning team is whichever team is able to lower the pole to a thirty degree angle first. But don’t think you can take your sweet ass time. Pole-bending must be done in 3 minutes or less.


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