Ninh tries to explain the Rules of Bo Taoshi
The object of the game is to lower the pole of the opposing team before they can lower
yours. Bo Taoshi is …. Oh god it’s Japanese,
it’s going to be weird. A game of Japanese origin, and the phrase
‘Bo Taoshi’ literally means ‘pole fight’. Bo Taoshi is played between two teams of 150
players each. Wait 150?! Yeah, I read it right. Teams consist of 75 attackers, wearing a bright
colour. And 75 defenders, wearing white. To start the game, the defenders of each team
will set up their poles in their respective circles. The poles are 4 metres high and they
must set them up in the middle of a circle that is 27m in diameter. Defenders will then
assume a pre-set formation to try and defend the pole. This includes crouching at the pole,
forming walls and having someone guard the top of the pole.
Once both teams defenders are in place, the attackers of both teams are unleashed.
You are allowed to tackle, wrestle, climb over defenders and form walls so that your
teammates can use you as a springboard in order to try and reach the top of the pole
to pull it down. The defenders, will do virtually anything to stop this, and this results in
a game that is … well, it kinda looks like this.
The pole is officially classed as down, when it reaches 30 degrees from horizontal.
The team that pulls the pole down before their opponent … wins.
That’s basically it, but there’s a few other things that you’ll need to know before
watching Bo Taoshi. For example.
Fouls. Players are only allowed to make contact with
players within the 27m circle. And officially they cannot punch or kick their opponent.
Breaking these rules will result in a foul. If a team accrues three fouls, their team
loses the game automatically. Ummm … err …. Are you sure?
Saru. The saru is the player perched atop of his
team’s pole. Saru is Japanese for ‘monkey’ and it’s
the monkey’s job to issue instructions to his team, defend the top of the pole from
attackers, and counteract the lean of the pole by pulling in the opposite direction.
As an attacker, you want to remove the saru as quickly as possible, as this makes pulling
down the pole a lot easier. Well, in theory. So what did you do today Ninh, I got kicked
in the face by a monkey. Great! I think this game is awesome, I want to play.
Well, you can’t. This sport is only played by the National Defense Academy of Japan and
is a military training exercise between its 4 battalions – Battalion 1, Battalion 2,
Battalion 3 and the rather predictably named, Millwall FC. Whom I suspect would actually
be quite good at this. Your prize for winning this Bo Taoshi tournament
is this rather fetching 2 x 4 plank of wood. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, would be proud.
I suppose you could play this if you have 299 spare friends that aren’t doing anything
one afternoon and you feel like getting kicked in the face. It’s possible.
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in the face. Ninh Ly – www.ninh.co.uk, @NinhLyUK