Tug of war

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Tug of war
Irish 600kg euro chap 2009.JPG
Ireland 600 kg team in the European Championships 2009
Highest governing bodyTug of War International Federation
Nickname(s)TOW
First played

Early 16 th century (early forms)


20th century (first documented)
Characteristics
ContactNon-contact
Team membersEight
Mixed genderSeparate competitions
CategorizationTeam sport, outdoor/indoor
EquipmentRope
OlympicPart of the Summer Olympic programme from 1900 to 1920
Recognized as an Olympic sport
 
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Tug of war
Irish 600kg euro chap 2009.JPG
Ireland 600 kg team in the European Championships 2009
Highest governing bodyTug of War International Federation
Nickname(s)TOW
First played

Early 16 th century (early forms)


20th century (first documented)
Characteristics
ContactNon-contact
Team membersEight
Mixed genderSeparate competitions
CategorizationTeam sport, outdoor/indoor
EquipmentRope
OlympicPart of the Summer Olympic programme from 1900 to 1920
Recognized as an Olympic sport

Tug of war, also known as tug o' war, tug war, rope war, rope pulling, or tugging war, is a sport that directly pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.

Origins[edit]

A game of tug of war

The origins of tug of war are uncertain, but it is beyond dispute that this once royal sport was practiced in ancient Egypt and China, where it was held in legend that the Sun and Moon played Tug of War over the light and darkness. It is also widely believed the sport was made popular in Great Britain by Lord Elliott Simpson, in the 16th Century. Simpson was a keen tugger.[1]

According to a Tang dynasty book, The Notes of Feng, tug of war, under the name "hook pulling"(牵钩), was used by the military commander of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn Period (8th century BC to 5th century BC) to train warriors. During the Tang dynasty, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang promoted large-scale tug of war games, using ropes of up to 167 meters or (547.9 feet) with shorter ropes attached and more than 500 people on each end of the rope. Each side also had its own team of drummers to encourage the participants.[2]

Archeological evidence shows that tug of war was also popular in India in 12th century AD:

There is no specific time and place in history to define the origin of the game of Tug of War. The contest of pulling on the rope originates from ancient ceremonies and rituals. Evidence is found in countries like Egypt, India, Myanmar, New Guinea... The origin of the game in India has strong archaeological roots going back at least to the 12th century AD in the area what is today the State of Orissa on the east coast. The famous Sun Temple of Konark has a stone relief on the west wing of the structure clearly showing the game of Tug of War in progress.[3]

Tug of war, at annual Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan
The bas-relief of the Churning of the Sea of Milk shows Vishnu in the centre, his turtle Avatar Kurma below, asuras and devas to left and right, and apsaras and Indra above. This is a tug of war between the asuras and demons. (Angkor Wat, Cambodia)

Tug of war stories about heroic champions from Scandinavia and Germany circulate Western Europe where Viking warriors pull animal skins over open pits of fire in tests of strength and endurance in preparation for battle and plunder.

1500 and 1600 – tug of war is popularised during tournaments in French châteaux gardens and later in Great Britain

1800 – tug of war begins a new tradition among seafaring men who were required to tug on lines to adjust sails while ships were under way and even in battle.[4]

The Mohave Indians occasionally used tug-of-war matches as means of settling disputes.[5]

The Oxford English Dictionary says that the phrase "tug of war" originally meant "the decisive contest; the real struggle or tussle; a severe contest for supremacy". Only in the 19th century was it used as a term for an athletic contest between two teams who haul at the opposite ends of a rope.[6]

Formal rules[edit]

The Dutch team at the 2006 World Championships

Two teams of eight, whose total mass must not exceed a maximum weight as determined for the class, align themselves at the end of a rope approximately 11 centimetres in circumference. The rope is marked with a "centre line" and two markings four metres either side of the centre line. The teams start with the rope's centre line directly above a line marked on the ground, and once the contest (the "pull") has commenced, attempt to pull the other team such that the marking on the rope closest to their opponent crosses the centre line, or the opponents commit a foul (such as a team member sitting or falling down).

Lowering ones elbow below the knee during a 'pull' - known as 'Locking' - is a foul, as is touching the ground for extended periods of time. The rope must go under the arms; actions such as pulling the rope over the shoulders may be considered a foul. These rules apply in highly organized competitions such as the World Championships. However, in small or informal entertainment competitions, the rules are often arbitrarily interpreted and followed.

A contest may feature a moat in a neutral zone, usually of mud or softened ground, which eliminates players who cross the zone or fall into it.

As a sport[edit]

Tug of war competition in 1904 Summer Olympics

There are tug of war clubs in many countries, and both men and women participate.

The sport was part of the Olympic Games from 1900 until 1920, but has not been included since. The sport is contested in the World Games. The Tug of War International Federation (TWIF), organises World Championships for nation teams biannually, for both indoor and outdoor contests, and a similar competition for club teams.

In England the sport is catered for by the Tug of War Association (formed in 1958), and the Tug of War Federation of Great Britain (formed in 1984). In Scotland, the Scottish Tug of War Association was formed in 1980. The sport also features in Highland Games there.

Between 1976 and 1988 Tug of War was a regular event during the television series Battle of The Networks Stars. Teams of celebrities representing each major network competed in different sporting events culminating into the final event, the Tug of War. Lou Ferrigno's epic tug-o'-war performance in May 1979 is considered the greatest feat in 'Battle' history.

National organizations[edit]

Harvard Tug of War team, 1888

The sport is played almost in every country in the world. However, a small selection of countries have set up a national body to govern the sport. Most of these national bodies are associated then with the International governing body call TWIF which stands for The Tug of War International Federation. As of 2008 there are 53 countries associated with TWIF, among which are Scotland, Ireland, England, India, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States.

Risk of Injury[edit]

In addition to injuries from falling and back strains, (some of which may be serious), catastrophic injuries may result in the form of finger, hand or even arm amputations. Amputations or avulsions may result from two causes: looping or wrapping the rope around a hand or wrist, and from the elastic recoil of the broken rope if the rope breaks. Amateur organizers of tugs of war may underestimate the forces generated, or overestimate the breaking strength of common ropes, and may thus be unaware of the possible consequences if a rope parts in peoples' hands under tons of tension.

The broken ends of an elastic polymer such as common nylon reach high speeds and can easily sever fingers. For example, ordinary half-inch (13 mm) nylon rope, one of the heaviest that hardware stores sell, has a safe working load rating of between 500 and 600 pounds (2.2 and 2.7 kN),[citation needed] and a grown man can probably exert a pull of 100 pounds (445 N), which means that it is only safe to use this rope with a limit of five to six men per side.[original research?] For this reason, specially engineered tug of war ropes exist that can withstand the forces generated. Some notable tug of war accidents include:[7]

1997 arm severing incident[edit]

On October 25, 1997, Yang Chiung-ming and Chen Ming-kuo each had their left arms severed below the shoulder during a tug-of-war event in Taipei, Taiwan. The event, held at a park along the Keelung River in Taipei in celebration of Retrocession Day (the 52nd anniversary of the end of the Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan), involved over 1,600 participants whose combined strength exerted over 80,000 kilograms (180,000 lb) of force on a 5-centimetre (2.0 in) nylon rope that could only withstand a maximum of 26,000 kilograms (57,000 lb). The rope snapped, and the sheer rebounding force of the broken rope tore off the men's arms. Both men were taken to a nearby hospital where their arms were successfully reattached following several hours of microsurgery.[8][9][10][11][12]

Bibliography[edit]

Henning Eichberg: Pull and tug: Towards a philosophy of the playing ‘You’. In: Bodily Democracy. Towards a Philosophy of Sport for All. London: Routledge 2010, 180-199.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.tugofwar.co.uk/3078/index.html
  2. ^ Tang dynasty Feng Yan: Notes of Feng, volume 6
  3. ^ Tug of War Federation of India: History
  4. ^ Equity Gaming: History of Tug of War
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  6. ^ Teens recovering after losing fingers during tug-of-war match, Associated Press (reprinted in National Post, February 5, 2013.
  7. ^ Two Men Lose Arms in tug-of-war, The Nation, October 27, 1997 (available at Google.news).
  8. ^ Tug-of-war: accident leaves arms hanging and mayor apologetic(powerpull tug of war ropes are now used in schools and summer camps because of there safe built-in us patented safety features that eliminate all the problems that the rope has been involved with tug of war is the greatest teamwork and cooperation game it is the rope that is the problem all sports have improved there equipment baseball,football,basketball,soccer,golf and now tug of war has a safe rope powerpull tug of war rope) (China Times Tue, Oct 28, 1997 edition (available at Chinainformed.com).
  9. ^ Taiwanese doctors reattach arms ripped off in tug-of-war, Boca Raton News, October 27, 1997, Page 7A, (available as new
  10. ^ Two men lose arms in tug-of-war, The Straits Times, October 26, 1997, Page 20, AFP.
  11. ^ Disarmed - Disarmanent at Snopes.com.
  12. ^ http://pointreyesweekend.com/bolinas-stinson-fourth-of-july-tug-of-war
  13. ^ /http://www.marinij.com/marin/ci_4013474
  14. ^ Mary Hirt, Irene Ramos (2008), "Rope Jousting", Maximum Middle School Physical Education, p. 144, ISBN 978-0-7360-5779-0 

External links[edit]