To residents of the Western world, it seems almost standard for us to use the adjectives “weird” or “crazy” to describe most things coming out of Japan, and yet despite these cliches, I simply can’t find another word more appropriate to describe the game of bo-taoshi to you all. This is a seriously hardcore version of capture the flag that features a shitload of violence to satisfy your offseason need for bloodlust.
In terms of some of the other games I’ve described on here so far (and have yet to describe as well) this one is pretty straight-forward. Bo-taoshi is played as part of regular sports days at schools across Japan, most notably at the National Defence Academy. The rules are as follows:
- There are 2 teams of 150 people – 75 attackers, 75 defenders.
- Defenders are responsible for erecting the pole (heh), which is about 10-16 feet high, and subsequently defending it while attackers are attempting to lower the opposing team’s pole.
- Each team starts in their own half, with attackers and defenders separated; on the signal, attackers rush into the opposing team’s pole.
- The first team to lower the other team’s pole to 30 degrees or below wins the game.
- To stop the other team from lowering the pole, you can employ pretty much any means necessary. Seems like a lot of players rely especially on kicking other players in the face.
There are few specialized positions on offence and defence:
- Pole support: these guys keep the pole upright.
- Barrier: the largest part of the defence that protects the pole.
- Interference: disrupt attackers who get within the barrier.
- Scrum disabler: disrupt attackers who are attempting to “scrum”, ie. use themselves as human support to try and climb the pole.
- Ninja: the one guy who sits on top the pole; he can lean side to side to correct weight distribution and keep the pole upright, and also can kick attackers in the face with ease.
- Springboard/scrum: the players who are human stepping stones for teammates to climb on.
- Pole-climbers: actively trying to get as high as they can to bring the pole down.
- General support: just going around and making defence’s lives miserable, really.
So all in all, not hard to understand. But holy shit is it ever fast and violent. Thank you, Japan, for this wonderful blessing you have bestowed upon us.
Just take a look at this shit.
You have 75 dudes running full-bore at you, ready to climb all over you and just rip you to shreds.
It is utter mayhem.
Anyways, be sure nobody tells the Ginger Hammer about this, because I’m sure he’d try to find a way to get of rid it somehow during the next round of CBA negotiations, and honestly, that would just be a goddamn global shame. Enjoy!