Monday, 23 November 2015

Getting the Shin Kicked Out of You - The Noble Art of Shin Kicking

It is said that the British are an eccentric bunch. That when it comes to eccentricity we lead the world. This is of course drivel. We are no more eccentric than any other nation. I'd go so far as to say no one nation has the monopoly on that trait. We have our fair share of individuals whose habits and mannerisms are somewhat individual, idiosyncratic but individuality is not a precursor to eccentricity and idiosyncrasy is just another word for the same thing. That said we do have a number of  traditional games that would help make a wonderful lexicon of eccentric sports.

Shin Kicking, so I am told, is a form of martial arts. Kicking someone in the shins is a form of self defence so I'd accept that definition even if I doubt a hard kick in the shins would totally disarm an opponent leaving him or her incapacitated or unable to get up from the blow.

It's an old game but then again we are an old island nation.


Competitors will be assigned bouts at random, with winners of all rounds gaining entry to a final bout. Usually, there will be a maximum of 12 contestants.
  1. Equipment - Competitors must wear long trousers or tracksuits and may cushion their shins by using straw (provided). They will be provided with white coats, representing the traditional shepherd’s smock. Footwear may be trainers, shoes, or soft-toed (i.e. un-reinforced) boots. Any form of metal-reinforced toe on footwear is expressly forbidden. This will now be checked both before and after your bouts! Failure to comply will result in instant exclusion, and barring from future events!
  2. Stance. A competitor begins by holding his or her opponent by the shoulders (or lapels) with arms straight.
  3. The contest will be started, finished (if necessary) and judged, by an arbiter, known as a Stickler. The Stickler decides the fairness of a contest.
  4. A contest is decided on the best of three throws - i.e. two successful throws results in a win.
I am glad to see in point one that steel toe capped boots are prohibited. Imagine not only the pain a kick from such footwear would inflict but also the damage.  

Further Guidance: - viz.
How to Shin-kick Successfully.

  • The aim is to weaken an opponent by kicking his or her shins. Once the legs have been weakened, a competitor may throw an opponent to the ground off-balance over a leg, provided that the grasp of the shoulders is kept.
  • A successful throw involves unbalancing the opponent, in the course of a kick. It does NOT involve kicking the opponent to the ground, NOR pushing the opponent to the ground.
  • Shins must be kicked before a throw can be achieved. Contact must be made.
  • A throw is not valid unless the thrower is in the process of kicking and has one foot off the ground.
  • If the stickler deems that the kicker has made an intentional trip, the throw goes to the opponent.
  • If a kick is above the knee, the throw goes to the opponent.
  • The first person to hit the ground loses the throw.
  • The Stickler’s decision is final!
With grateful thanks to the Robert Dover (deceased circa 1652) named website, splendid and informative as it is, found here -

The noble art of shin kicking has a lengthy history. It dates back to the early sixteen hundreds. One of the first recorded events where this sport was played was the Cotswold Olimpick Games. The games commenced abut 1612 and were instigated by the gentleman above, Robert Dover, a local lawyer who first sought permission from King James. Other games featured too such as horse racing, running, sledgehammer throwing, coursing, jumping, fencing, wrestling cudgelling and many other man made sports where men get to show other men how macho they are whilst the ladies look on in mock awe thinking in reality what daft arses men really are.
If women folk did in fact think these thoughts they never voiced them unlike the Puritan's who found them to be very un-Christian and God-like condemning them as being of Pagan origin. Well, after feeding Christians to the lions a damper was put on all spectator sports. Anyway, pagan games and festivals have always been more fun.
As with conkers, another fine old English sport, those monitors of Health and Safety have done their very best to spoil what was a childhood game insisting players wear googles. The daftest thing I ever heard. So with Shin Kicking, a game still played annually, have those H&E people been out dispensing rules and regulations. Shins now need vastly improved padding. Bits of old straw shoved up a chaps leg seen as insufficient protection so that now something like a Cricketers pads adorn the combatants legs.
You have to be very agile when playing this game but also resistant to pain. When the hurt becomes too much one of the two individuals has to cy out, in a manner best befitting the tough male of the species, 'sufficient' (a mouthful methinks) so that the stickler (referee) may mark you down accordingly.
It has been suggested that is past times, when training for the event, athletes (I use this term rather than lunatics) would whack their own shins with hammers the better to increase their pain threshold.
Now then, perhaps eccentric was an inappropriate description. Maybe simply bonkers would suffice. 
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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